Samantha Marie Ware, sixth from left, in light-colored dress, in "The Book of Mormon."
“The Book of Mormon,” the blockbuster Broadway musical that is up in Minneapolis for one more week, had an unexpected show-stopper over this weekend.
Near the end of the first act of Saturday’s evening performance at the Orpheum Theatre, the curtain suddenly came down on the action. An announcement was made that there would be a 10-minute delay. When the curtains went up again, 22 minutes later, Samantha Marie Ware (below), who plays the female lead and was to deliver a solo, was no longer onstage.
Her understudy, Carole Denise Jones, had quickly taken over the role of Nabulungi.
Officials from the production issued a brief statement Monday: “The evening performance of ‘The Book of Mormon’ on Saturday, February 9 was held for 22 minutes due to a medical emergency involving a cast member. The cast member has returned to the production and is doing fine.”
“Mormon,” which won nine Tony Awards, is practically sold out. The profanely funny musical, by the team behind “South Park,” is about Mormon missionaries seeking converts in AIDS-wracked, warlord-dominated village in Uganda. Nabulungi is the pivotal innocent who serves as a bridge between the villagers and the polite white men who have come to minister to their souls.
Patrons at the show expressed concern about Ware’s condition.
She posted on her Facebook page on Sunday that she is “alive & well, back to work tonight with my amazing, talented cast!” She thanked “everyone for the positive energy/prayers.”
The medical emergency gave understudy Jones a chance to shine.
Carole Denise Jones.
“The young lady who came on to take over the role…had to immediately sing a solo the moment she stepped on to the stage and she nailed it,” said patron James Fisher, who enjoyed the show, despite the odd interruption. She gave a “very wonderful performance for someone stepping in to that situation.”
Ware’s medical interruption is the second in as many weeks in the Twin Cities. Peter Michael Goetz, one of the stars of the Guthrie Theater’s production of “Long Day’s Journey into Night,” left the run more than a week ago.
He was replaced by Raye Birk.