Columbus Monthly caught up with the leading lady to get her take on her character, controversial content and more.
Alexandra Ncube made her first appearance in Broadway hit "The Book of Mormon" in February. The 23-year-old Arizona State University grad is one of the youngest cast members of the touring musical-theater production, which is showing at the Ohio Theatre from May 13 to 25. Columbus Monthly caught up with the leading lady to get her take on her character, controversial content and more.
Can you tell us about your character and how you portray her?
I play Nabulungi. She is a young woman from Uganda who is a driving force of optimism, and she just hopes for a better life for herself and her village. I try to bring truth and honesty to the role. She believes in everything she does with such passion.
Has this been a challenging role for you?
It's a challenge to keep that innocence and honesty. I really identified with how she lives, like a mispronounced last name. I have sort of an unusual last name, so that happens to me a lot. And I can really connect with her optimism and hope for her dreams to come true. This whole journey with me coming to the show gives me something to draw from and bring that optimism.
Do you have any fun behind-the-scenes stories?
We just finished the soundtrack, and while we were recording, one of my cast members looked at me and said, "Whatever happens during your song, just keep singing." And I started singing my solo song, and my Ugandan cast members started singing the harmony and dancing. That's something I love about the cast-they always find ways to have fun.
Do you have any Columbus connections?
My boyfriend has family there, and I have some family in Youngstown that are coming to the show.
"The Book of Mormon" is a notoriously controversial production. Do you have to explain that to your friends or family members before they come to see it?
Some are familiar with the show, and some of them aren't. So for the ones who aren't, I explain that the show is so fun and so well rounded, the scenes and the songs are just so entertaining and it's such a fun experience. So I really try to focus on that even though it is edgy.
Have you encountered people who were offended by the show?
Yes, I have actually. I was just trying to be open to their opinion. The show does start a conversation, which I think is important for any show. So I listen to their opinion and try to keep an open mind. I would just say that Matt (Stone) and Trey (Parker) and Bobby (Robert Lopez) have done so much research to make sure everything was accurate and precise in the show and well written.
What's your favorite aspect of the show?
I really enjoy the theme of community with the Ugandan nation and the Mormon community and the combination of them and how everyone gets to come together. And I find that so moving. I think it's something audiences can connect with.
What do you hope people take away from the show?
I hope they just laugh their pants off, for one. I also hope they can see past the comedy and see that these are real people with real struggles.
For a different take on "The Book of Mormon," be sure to pick up the May issue of Columbus Monthly, available on newsstands this weekend.