Q & A with “The Book of Mormon” Star and KC native, Teddy Trice
The Book of Mormon | Kansas City Music Hall | Dec. 26 -Dec. 30
“The Book of Mormon” is a satirical Broadway musical that follows sheltered Mormon missionaries who travel to a Ugandan village and are surprised by the problems that plague the community. With Trey Parker and Matt Stone, creators of “South Park,” and Robert Lopez, the songwriter of “Frozen,” as the genius collaborators of the production, it’s no wonder this musical is known for its blend of humor and catchy tunes.
This December, “The Book of Mormon” comes to the Kansas City Music Hall with a run from December 26 to December 30 when Kansas City welcomes to the stage native son, Teddy Trice, who performs as one of the talented cast members in the Broadway classic. Trice plays one of the Ugandan villagers in the traveling ensemble and took time from his busy schedule to share his experience as a Broadway actor from Kansas City.
435: Did you always want to be a performer? How did you get your start?
Trice: Yes, I learned pretty soon I wanted to be an actor. Trailridge Middle School was my very first time on stage. It was a performance of “Into the Woods,” as a 7th grader. When I finished, I knew that I gotta keep doing this. In high school, Shawnee Mission Northwest, I really got involved and I continued my studies into college.
435: What have been big influences on your life as a performer?
Trice: All professionals in the field, starting with my instructors. My professors really brought theater into a life perspective, more than just a theater perspective; which allowed me to connect the dots with life and art. That influence gives you a better sense of what it means to be an artist and an actor.
435: What has your support system been like as a performer?
Trice: My parents have been an amazing support system. They have seen every show I’ve been in. I also have so many friends in the theater community, especially the Kansas City theater community. They have really propelled me to where I am today.
435: What is the most important lesson your father taught you?
Trice: My parents have been together for 30+ years. My dad has always been trying to find his niche. He’s a jack of all trades. He has had different careers throughout his life. When I found my passion, he told me if you want to do this you have to put 100 percent of yourself into it. You can’t go half in.
435: How did you end up getting cast in “The Book of Mormon?”
Trice: Crazy. I had been performing in a different play in Kansas City, and I happened to have that Monday off. I went online and it said the auditions were in Kansas City, so I thought I would go for it. It seemed like everything just fell into place. After the first audition, they called me back the next day for a taped audition. Three weeks later, I got a call that they wanted to have me for a callback in New York. This was my first Broadway audition. I flew out, and auditioned. Later they called and asked if I wanted to perform with their Australian company, which is where I spent the last two years doing the show.
435: How would you describe your role in “The Book of Mormon?”
Trice: I play one of the Ugandan villagers. My character is considered to be a bit of an outsider in the village. A lot of different things affect the village and he has some interesting ways he deals with those things. It’s a lot of fun to go in and out of that personality.
435: Thoughts on how it talks about religion?
Trice: I feel it’s actually pro-faith. The missionaries that we follow throughout the play, their faith gets tested, but they keep going back to what got them there in the first place. There is a lot of heart and passion in the play. It makes you think about when things don’t go as planned, how do we overcome those obstacles and who do we rely on to restore that faith? Of course, it’s a satire and it’s high comedy, but if you peel back the layers you can see there’s more to offer.
435: What do you hope the audience takes away from “The Book of Mormon?”
Trice: I hope the takeaway is that friendship is something that is beyond what our expectations are. That we are more alike than different. I think when you watch it, it challenges your own beliefs. It could be as obvious as religion, or something else. The goal of theater in general is to challenge the audience to look at themselves and society.