The Fame Reporter interviewed Blake Bowden starring as the iconic Elder Price in the multi-award winning smash-hit musical, The Book of Mormon.
Blake has been with The Book of Mormon since the Australian company debuted in Melbourne in 2017 and in 2019 Blake was nominated for a Helpmann Award for Best Male Actor in a Musical for his work as Elder Price in The Book of Mormon. Blake’s recent roles include Perchik in Fiddler on the Roof (TML), Anthony Hope in Sweeney Todd (Victorian Opera), Edward Lyons in Blood Brothers (Enda Markey Presents), Anthony Pemberton in Beyond Desire (Neil Rutherford Productions) and Lt. Joseph Cable in South Pacific (Opera Australia/GFO).
Blake’s screen roles include Young Jack in the film The Dam, Brusco in Home and Away, Mr & Mrs Murder, The Chaser and as the Young Boy Pirate in The Wiggles Movie. In 2011 Blake was the winner of The Rob Guest Endowment Award and in 2013 Blake received the Gertrude Johnson Fellowship at The Opera Studio Melbourne.
We talked to Blake about what is it like being part of a smash Broadway hit, what enticed him to audition for The Book of Mormon, why audiences will enjoy the show and more.
See our interview below!
Welcome to The Fame Reporter Blake, what sparked your interest in performing initially?
My older sister – Sarah – I used to follow her around as a kid and went everywhere she went. I kept following her into dance class so the teacher said to my mum why don’t you just put him in too – she did and I loved it.
How did you react when you landed the beyond iconic modern musical theatre roles of Elder Cunningham and Elder Price?
Over the moon – very excited. I feel like I worked really hard through the audition process, so it was incredibly satisfying to land it.
I am also very chuffed that I am the first Australian to play a leading role in this show.
What’s the very best part about taking The Book of Mormon to theatregoers across the country?
Getting to put it in front of new audiences! One of the most exciting things about this show is the reaction from people who aren’t expecting to see what they see on stage.
What about your character drew you to audition and what is your ultimate favourite moment in the show?
In terms of roles for men in music theatre this is one of a handful of top roles I think and that is to do with the range of music – and that is also to do with the brilliant songs he gets to sing.
I was always drawn to this and wanted the challenge. It is an incredible experience to play this iconic role.
My favourite moment in the show is singing I Believe – such a wonderful song – it’s like the ultimate musical theatre sing moment but it is also incredibly funny at the same time. I will be singing these long soaring notes and can hear under, that people laughing.
When I am singing with such emotion – normally people will be listening, but this time they are laughing.
What has been the most rewarding and challenging parts about performing in this comedic story?
It is physically tough – demanding 2 hours of stage time – physically grueling in terms of the energy that is required and the vocal stamina that is required. The same things that makes it challenging are also the things that make it rewarding.
Doing it each night is so amazing and the response we get from the audience makes it worthwhile.
What 3 performers dead or alive would you love to have a dinner party with?
Judy Garland, Jennifer Aniston and Pavarotti.
Did you know much about the Mormon religion before seeing or being part of the show?
No not much at all – there was a great deal of research that went into it.
What do love about Cunningham and Price’s complicated friendship in the show?
I like the journey they go on together and I think that it is really beautiful and I hope that if I ever met someone who I didn’t understand that I would have the openness to eventually understand and come to love them in the way they do.
Do you have a role in musical theatre/straight theatre that you are dying to play?
There are lots of roles that I would love to play in both many classical musicals and also musicals that are currently playing on Broadway and I hope I have the opportunity to at tackle at least a few of them.
What is it like being part of a smash Broadway hit and what have you learned about comedy throughout this process?
Mormon is definitely the biggest show I have been part of, and it is very exciting to be part of the fandom surrounding the show. I have learnt that comedy is all about timing and clarity and if you are not clear with what you are saying and what you are trying to portray it is not funny and I have also learnt that if comedy does not come from a place of truth it is also not very funny.
What do you hope audiences take away from The Book of Mormon and what do you think makes the show so popular among audiences?
I hope that they have a great time and a really big laugh, but I also hope they are moved by the show and the show’s big heart and that is why I think it has been so successful.
Yes, it is incredibly funny but it also has a beautiful message about friendship and community which I think is surprising in the best possible way.
Fame Reporter Word Play
Spooky Mormon Hell
Silly devil costumes
Comedy or Drama
Go-to Karaoke song
I want to live forever by Queen
Any secret talents
If I told you I would have to kill you
Cats (winky face)
Dressing Room necessity
Best moment in The Book of Mormon ride so far
Final performance in Sydney with the audience cheering after I rang the first door bell for about 30 seconds.
Favourite song in the show and favourite to perform
Can’t live without
Place you want to travel to
TV Show Binge
Finally, favourite thing about performing
Making people feel things
Thank-you Blake for joining us at The Fame Reporter and we wish you all the best for your run of The Book of Mormon at QPAC!
Don’t miss out on the most hilarious show at QPAC playing until 13 February. Get your tickets below!
All photos – Supplied