Actor/singer Luke Monday has performed as standby for Elder Price in The Book of Mormon which just canceled at the Ahmanson Theatre. He is now preparing to perform his concert/cabaret at Rockwell Table & 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 perform for this show yet? Do you cover other roles?
LM: Yes, I have been performing as a standby for Price! I went on for him on Tuesday March 3rd. 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 loved it!
What do you think is the message of The Book of Mormon and do you think the message is 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 change he 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? If not, what is your favorite role and why?
LM: The Book of Mormon is definitely one of my top favorites! Maybe top 3? I love the music in this show. I remember watching the Tony’s one 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.
You were in Mamma Mia. What part did you perform in that show and did you enjoy being in that production?
LM: Mamma Mia was a blast! One of the best experiences I’ve ever had. It was my first time touring, and the people in that show 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 and just have fun.
Your cabaret show Callback Queen premiered last summer in San Diego. You tell anecdotes about your career and sing Broadway show tunes. Can you give us a little sneak peek without creating a spoiler alert?
LM: 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 or composer or performer?
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! But 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 auditioned for the King in Hamilton role yet? It's a funny, funny role.
LM: Obviously I’d love to play that part but I haven't auditioned yet! I think it’s pretty spectacular that a character can be onstage for such a short time and yet be so memorable. So it's definitely on my list of auditions to do. Thankfully Hamilton will be around for MANY years, so there’s time!
Tell our readers anything that I did not mention, like the camaraderie with your Mormon cast or how LA audiences are different from those in other cities across the country.
LM: Well, I love my cast. This is the longest I’ve been with any company and I can honestly say I love each one of them. We lift each other up, and I know they’ll be at Callback Queen 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.
Catch Luke Monday on March 16 at Rockwell Table & Stage at 1714 N. Vermont Ave. in Hollywood in "Callback Queen." Call 323-669-1550 for table reservations.
Both shows cancelled. Check back after the Corona Virus to see if Callback Queen will be rescheduled.