'The Book of Mormon' remains fresh and funny

‘The Book of Mormon' When: Feb. 21-26Admisison: $40-$155Where: Benedum Center, PittsburghDetails: 412-456-4800 or trustarts.org Sign up for one of our email newsletters.Updated 17 minutes ago Probably nobody in the world knows more about “The Book...

'The Book of Mormon' remains fresh and funny

‘The Book of Mormon'

When: Feb. 21-26

Admisison: $40-$155

Where: Benedum Center, Pittsburgh

Details: 412-456-4800 or trustarts.org

Sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Updated 17 minutes ago

Probably nobody in the world knows more about “The Book of Mormon” than Jake Emmerling — except maybe its creators, Trey Parker, Matt Stone and Robert Lopez.

As part of the ensemble, Emmerling has been touring with the record-breaking musical comedy since it opened in 2012 in Chicago, visiting more than 80 cities across the country.

It makes a stop here from Feb. 21 to 26 as a PNC Broadway in Pittsburgh season special at the Benedum Center.

His parents are pretty familiar with the show, too, says Emmerling, who was born in Monroeville and grew up in Derry.

They've seen “Book of Mormon” more than 20 times at almost as many cities.

“Of course, they're coming to see it in Pittsburgh twice — only twice,” he says with a laugh. “They always joke that if someone is out, they can go onstage.”

When “The Book of Mormon” opened on Broadway in 2011, it won nine Tony Awards. The story is about a pair of young Mormon missionaries who are sent to Africa where life is hard and the opportunity to convert the native villagers is even tougher.

The ridiculously funny show scandalized some audiences, while charming others with its warm-hearted story. With the tour returning to cities a second, third and even a fourth time, many fans have seen it multiple times. This is its third visit to Pittsburgh.

Knowing the songs and punchlines in advance can enhance enjoyment of the show, Emmerling says. And with live theater, there's always something new for repeat customers.

“The beauty of that is there is a big cast turnover. I am the rare cast member who has been here for so long,” he says. “As a cast member, it's fun to see that happen. The audience laughs at different lines or different jokes to a degree because of how the actors are presenting the characters. … When you have a new actor come in and they portray the show in a different way, it makes it funny in a different realm.

“It brings a new heat to the show. I think that's why people love to still come and see it because it is always fresh and new.”

For cautious first-timers, Emmerling has some advice: “Just come into the theater and enjoy the show from beginning to end,” he says. “The whole story does a beautiful job of coming back to the beginning at the end. No matter what you believe, as long as you have faith and trust in something that's morally strong and guides you, then that's great.”

Sally Quinn is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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