Entertainment » Theatre

’Mormon’s’ Grey Henson Having Time of his Life

by Joe Siegel
Contributor
Monday Apr 28, 2014
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Grey Henson
Grey Henson  

Grey Henson stars in the Tony-award winning "The Book Of Mormon" opens Tuesday. April 29, at the Providence Performing Arts Center (PPAC) and runs through May 11.

"The Book Of Mormon" features book, music and lyrics by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone. Parker and Stone are the four-time Emmy Award-winning creators of the landmark animated series, "South Park." Tony Award-winner Lopez is co-creator of the long-running hit musical comedy, "Avenue Q." The musical is choreographed by Tony Award-winner Casey Nicholaw ("Monty Python’s Spamalot," "The Drowsy Chaperone") and is directed by Nicholaw and Parker.

The story is about two young Mormon missionaries sent to a desolate village in northern Uganda, where a brutal warlord is threatening the local population. The two cheerful missionaries try to share the Book of Mormon with the natives, who have more pressing matters on their mind.

"The Book Of Mormon" is the winner of nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Score (Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, Matt Stone), Best Book (Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, Matt Stone), and Best Direction (Casey Nicholaw, Trey Parker).

Henson, who grew up in Macon, Georgia, has impressed audiences on the show’s national tour. Henson spoke with EDGE about his career and the impact "The Book of Mormon" has been having on audiences.

"It’s surprisingly powerful," said Henson, who plays Elder McKinley. "In a way it’s a lampoon (of religion) but nothing we say about the Mormon religion isn’t true. There’s also a really sweet and powerful message of friendship and acceptance and togetherness."


Grey Henson  

As a young child, Henson had aspirations of being a dancer.

"I started in ballet class when I was four years old," Henson recalled. "That’s kind of what I did for the majority of my childhood. It was ’my sport’. My mom was very theatrical and she was always having my brother and I audition for plays and musicals."

In 2012, Henson graduated from Carnegie Mellon University, where he majored in acting and musical theater. "The Book Of Mormon" is his first major role and it’s been a rewarding one.

"The thing that is wonderful about this show is that it never gets old," Henson said. "We’ve sold out every performance. I’ve been with the tour since the beginning and it’s the twentieth month. We’ve done 700 performances. We go to these cities where people have never seen the show before so they’re excited to hear about it. There’s such an amazing buzz about the show."

Henson enjoys seeing the different reactions from audiences in different parts of the country.

"We can be in a random city and then go on stage and you’re sharing something so intimate and so personal with three thousand people every night -- brand new people," Henson noted. "It’s a relationship with the audience. It’s a dialogue. (The audience) is the final character in our show."

Henson said he is having the time of his life as a performer. He doesn’t imagine doing anything else.

"It’s all I’ve ever done," Henson said, adding: "To have that as my career now, as an adult, is wonderful."

"The Book Of Mormon" runs from April 29 through May 11 and is part of PPAC’s Taco/The White Family Foundation Broadway Series. Group orders of 20 or more may be placed by calling (401) 574-3162.
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Joe Siegel has written for a number of other GLBT publications, including In newsweekly and Options.

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