Monday, March 9, 2020

Interview with Luke Monday

Actor/singer Luke Monday is performing as standby for Elder Price 
in The Book of Mormon at the Ahmanson. He is also preparing to 
perform his concert/cabaret at Rockwell Table and Stage on Monday
March 16 entitled Callback Queen. In our interview Monday talks 
about both shows and how he really likes performing in Los Angeles.

I understand you are standby for Elder Price in The Book of Mormon. 
Have you gotten the chance to go on? What other role(s) do you cover?

LM: I have! I went on for Price on last Tuesday March 3rd, and I’ll be on again

March 17. I only cover Elder Price in the show. When it’s a role as demanding
as this, often times companies will hire a standby just to cover that part. I’m 
the only Price standby in this company.

This is without a doubt the funniest musical comedy, especially for gay

people. Are audiences still jumping out of their seats?

LM: They really are! I wasn’t sure what to expect since the show has played 

here a few times, but we’ve been selling really well and the crowds have been
fantastic. I went on on a Tuesday night, and it honestly felt like a Friday night 
crowd. Totally electric. I love it!

What do you think is the message of the play, and why is that vitally 

important in today's mixed up world?

LM: My takeaway from the show is that it’s ok to follow your own path, even

if it’s not what you expected. Particularly in Elder Price’s case, he’s had this 
very specific idea of how everything in his life (and afterlife) will play out. 
Obviously once he gets paired with Cunningham and sent to Uganda, that all 
gets derailed. But by the end of the show he learns to manage the change, and
in that finds a new strength. I think that’s something anyone watching can learn 
from. Life always throws curve balls, but it’s all about how you handle the struggles
and find a way to move forward!

Is this the favorite role you have played? Why? If not, what is your choice 

and why?

LM: It’s definitely up there! Maybe top 3? I love the music in this show. I remember
watching the Tonys that year, hearing “I Believe” for the very first time and thinking,
“I can do that!” Almost 9 years and 3 auditions later and here I am! My other favorites
would have to be Gabe in Next to Normal and George in She Loves Me.

What part did you perform in Mamma Mia? Was that enjoyable for you?

LM: Mamma Mia was a blast! One of the best experiences I’ve ever had. 

It was my first time touring, and and those people became my family. I was
in the ensemble and I covered Sky, the fiancée. I loved Mamma Mia because
no matter what negativity was going on in the world at the time, we could take
the audience away for 2 hours and escape all of that to just have fun.

Your cabaret show Callback Queen premiered last summer in San Diego. 

You tell anecdotes about your career thus far and sing Broadway show 
tunes. Can you give us a little sneak peek without creating a spoiler alert?

LM: That’s right! So, the show sort of opens with my very first rejection, not 

getting the part I wanted in my 4th grade school play, and then we continue
all the way to the present. I noticed a trend with concerts and cabarets that a
lot of them are just greatest hits of roles people played or originated i.e. their
success stories. And while that is perfectly great, I thought it would be interesting
to flip that idea on its head and share stories of rejection. Every actor has them! 
Without giving away too much, there are going to be appearances from my talented
friends from The Book of Mormon, awesome medleys and mashups, a costume 
reveal, glow sticks, and a choose-your-own finale. It should be a blast!

Do you have a favorite musical? Composer? Performer?

Why these choices?

LM: I think it’s a tie between West Side Story and Ragtime for favorite musical. 

Two of the most glorious scores ever written, and sadly still so relevant now. 
I don’t think I’ve got a favorite composer. I appreciate so many of them for 
different reasons! I have a few favorite performers. I’m a huge Gavin Creel 
fan. His voice was and is one of the best in the business. I want to play 
everything he’s ever played. I guess I’m on my way, seeing that he was an
Elder Price! Another fav is Laura Osnes. She’s a true triple threat and just 
has a positive presence that I think is so important in a cut throat industry 
like this.

Have you thought about auditioning for the King in Hamilton or did you? 

It's a funny, funny role.

LM: I mean obviously I’d love to play that part! I think it’s pretty spectacular 

that a character can be onstage for such a short time and yet be so memorable. 
That’s one I definitely will go in for at some point. Thankfully Hamilton will be
around for MANY years, so there’s time!

Tell our readers anything that I did not mention, like the comaraderie 

with your Mormon cast or how LA audiences are different from those
in other cities across the country.

LM: I love my cast. This is the longest I’ve been with any company and I can 

honestly say I love each of them. We lift each other up, and I know they’ll be
there on the 16th cheering me on. I think the audiences in LA are used to 
seeing great theater, so they are really smart! They pic up on the details and
the nuances that often go unnoticed in other cities. Being here is a reminder 
of how truly funny and well written this show is. It feels new again in a way. 
I can’t wait to go on again on the 17th and experience that rush again!

Catch Luke Monday on March 16 at Rockwell Table & Stage at
1714 N. Vertmont Ave. in Hollywood. Call 323-669-1550  for table 
reservations. And remember you can see him perform Elder Price 
in The Book of Mormon downtown at the Ahmanson Tuesday March 17.

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