Gavin Creel and Jared Gertner, stars of new West End musical The Book of Mormon, have claimed the production is helping to bring new audiences into theatre.
Speaking to The Stage, Gertner said the show has helped in “expanding” theatre’s audiences, mainly because of the following its writers – South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone – have.
“We have had 16-year-old boys come in with South Park t-shirts on, or husbands pulling their wives into the show. Normally it’s the opposite, with the husbands sat there checking their phone for some game or something,” he said.
Gertner, who plays Elder Cunningham in the musical at the Prince of Wales Theatre, added: “Matt and Trey’s following has brought in a crowd who might never have seen a musical before. And that is the really exciting thing – it’s expanding an audience. I am not going to be one of those people who says theatre is dying or won’t be around forever, as I think it will be. But the best way to keep theatre hot is to introduce new people to it.”
Creel added that he hoped the musical demonstrates that audiences are “hungry for stuff they don’t know rather than the safety of what they do”.
He said: “It’s a risk for producers but I hope this show is a testament to risk being good. If you are willing to invest in new writers and new people, take a risk on it and it can return.”
For a full interview with Gertner and Creel see next week’s edition of The Stage.