Home Features Miami Native Lamont J. Whitaker Talks ‘The Book of Mormon’ at Broward...

Miami Native Lamont J. Whitaker Talks ‘The Book of Mormon’ at Broward Center

THE BOOK OF MORMON North American Tour / Photo by Julieta Cervantes

Back by popular demand, The Book Of Mormon returns to Fort Lauderdale for a limited engagement this Tuesday, December 12 through Sunday, December 17, at The Broward Center for the Performing Arts.

The Book Of Mormon features book, music and lyrics by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone. The Broadway production is directed by Parker and Two-time Tony award winner Casey Nicholaw and choreographed by Nicholaw. The tour is directed and choreographed by Jennifer Werner based on the original Broadway direction and choreography. Set design is by three-time Tony Award winner Scott Pask, costume design is by Tony Award winner Ann Roth, lighting design is by five-time Tony Award winner Brian MacDevitt, sound design is by two-time Tony Award winner Brian Ronan, and hair design is by Josh Marquette. Orchestrations are by Tony Award winner Larry Hochman and two-time Tony Award winner Stephen Oremus. Music supervision and vocal arrangements are by Stephen Oremus. Casting is by Carrie Gardner.

Since opening on March 24, 2011, The Book Of Mormon has become one of the most successful shows in Broadway history, breaking the Eugene O’Neill Theatre house record more than 50 times. In addition to nine Tony Awards including Best Musical and the Grammy for Best Musical Theatre Album, The Book Of Mormon won five Drama Desk Awards including Best Musical, the NY Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, the Drama League Award for Best Musical and four Outer Critics Circle Awards including Best Musical.

The Book Of Mormon has been performed on three continents and has won over 30 international awards. The musical has smashed long-standing box office records in New York, London, Melbourne, Sydney and in cities across the U.S. and the world.

The Original Broadway Cast Recording for The Book Of Mormon, winner of the 2011 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album, is available on Ghostlight Records.

It was a pleasure to sit down with Lamont J. Whitaker, a Miami native, who plays Mafala Hatimbi in The Book Of Mormon for this exclusive Hotspots interview.

At what age did you begin performing?

I started performing very young in Miami, as my grandmother ran a few theaters. 

What was your first paid gig and how much did you get paid?

My first paid work was during college and it was for the show “Kiss Me Kate” in Los Angeles and I think I got paid 450 a week. 

When did you know performing would be your career?

When I was very young. I knew when I was 5 or 6 that I would do this for the rest of my life.

Other than this one, what has been your favorite role so far?

I would say Mister in the Color Purple. Just being able to step into a role that is so amazing and be one of the leads in a show where I loved the material was everything.

What’s your fantasy role (a role you haven’t played but want to)?

Sweeney Todd. That is definitely my ultimate role as I love being the vilain of a show and its also perfect for my voice type; it is the role for a baritone. 

Is it hard being on the road all the time?

Actually, I am a navy brat, and I was never in one place more than a year, so I am used to it. I love doing it, but the hardest part is to find your own personal space to stay creative.

How well do you and your castmates get along?

We get along very well; this has been my favorite group of people to work with. I love this cast. 

What do you do for fun?

I love to write music and musicals. 

How hard was it to learn the phrase “Hasa Diga Eebowai” (for those of you who haven’t seen The Book Of Mormon yet, you will get this question after you see it)?

I grew up in Miami around a lot of Africans so it was easy for me to learn. But I can see how hard it would be to learn for other people. 

What should our readers expect from this touring company of “The Book of Mormon”? 

The show is more than about religion, but rather it’s about the power that one person can have. It makes you think about everything in life and at the end of the show it shows everyone why we need each other. The music and the lyrics of the show are absolutely phenomenal!

Is there anything I didn’t ask you that you want to talk about?

Yes, I have Miami roots, so I am from Florida, and I am so happy to be back.

If you want to know more about Lamont follow him at: Instagram.com/foreverlamont

To purchase tickets for The Book Of Mormon, which starts at $50, got to: BrowardCenter.org, or by phone at 954.468.0222 or at the Broward Center’s AutoNation Box Office located at 201 SW Fifth Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL. 33312.

For more information on The Book Of Mormon, visit thebookofmormontour.com.

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