12:01am

Mon June 13, 2011
Theater

'Book of Mormon' Draws Hopefuls Into Ticket Lottery

Originally published on Mon June 13, 2011 7:11 am

The Book of Mormon danced off with nine Tony awards Sunday night, including Best Musical.

But tickets to the show by the creators of the animated TV show South Park have been almost impossible to get since the show was in previews. Every afternoon, hundreds of people stand outside the theater to participate in the lottery. The prize: tickets — some in the first row — for $32 each.

One a recent afternoon, more than 350 people are standing in the heat outside the Eugene O'Neill Theatre to enter the Book of Mormon lottery. Ross Jackson and Frank Bobick are among them.

"This is only my third day in New York," Jackson says. "I came here from Arkansas, so the closest thing I have ever done to this was like general rush in Little Rock at the Robinson Center Music Hall."

Bobick, who is from Minneapolis, says knowing that the creators of South Park wrote the play makes it worth the wait for him.

Christopher Catalano is an aspiring actor who works for the theater. Every 10 minutes or so, he takes out a bull horn and tells the growing crowd that the drawing will be at 5 p.m., and that 22 tickets will be available. He makes it as fun as possible.

"You also must have a photo ID; does everyone know what a photo ID is? It's an ID with a photo on it," he quips.

A few come often. Mark Etheridge works nearby. It's his 29th attempt to get tickets, but he says he hasn't had any luck.

Jeff LaDuke, a fan of South Park, travels in from Queens after work.

"This is my 33rd try, and I have never seen it," he says."

Finally, Catalano picks up the bullhorn.

"Hasa diga, everyone. How you doing?" he says, borrowing a term from a key song in the show.

Then, the names are picked. Several names down the list, Catalano calls out "Jeff LaDuke."

"I thought it was a trick at first," LaDuke says. "It worked, finally!"

As for Mark Etheridge, he plans to return the next day for attempt No. 30.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

(Soundbite of song, "Hello!")

Unidentified Man (Actor): (As Elder Young) Hello. My name is Elder Young. Hello. Did you know that Jesus lived here in the USA?

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

The "Book of Mormon," not the actual book, but the runaway musical send up now playing on Broadway, won nine Tony awards last night. You just heard one of the few bits of the score we can play on the air. "The Book of Mormon" is the creation of Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the wits behind the often vulgar cartoon "South Park."

They took that same sensibility, teamed up with veteran Robert Lopez, and came up with the parity about na�ve missionaries who go to Uganda. It's been almost impossible to get tickets to "The Book of Mormon" since the show was in previews. So every afternoon, hundreds of people stand outside the theater to take their chance in a lottery. The prize is tickets, some in the first row for just $32 each. NPR's Margot Adler reports.

MARGOT ADLER: More than 350 people are standing in the heat outside the Eugene O'Neill theatre - to enter "The Book of Mormon" Lottery, Ross Jackson, Marnia Davis, and Frank Bobick are among them.

Mr. ROSS JACKSON: This is only my third day in New York. I came here from Arkansas, so the closest thing I have ever done to this was like a general rush in Little Rock at the Robinson Center Music Hall.

Ms. MARNIA DAVIS: Actually this is my first time, it's really a lot of fun. I am from Oklahoma, my one and only shot.

Mr. FRANK BOBICK: I am from Minneapolis, and what's got me going is that knowing who wrote this, it has got to be hilarious, and it's worth waiting in line to see if you can get a ticket.

ADLER: Every ten minutes or so, Christopher Catalano, an aspiring actor who works for the theatre, takes out a bull horn and tells the growing crowd that the drawing will be at 5:00 PM, and that 22 tickets will be available. He makes it as fun as possible.

Mr. CHRISTOPHER CATALANO (Aspiring Actor): You also must have a photo ID. Does everyone know what a photo ID is? It's an ID with a photo on it.

ADLER: A few come often. Mark Etheridge works nearby.

Mr. MARK ETHERIDGE: Today is my 29th try.

ADLER: And you've no luck so far?

Mr. ETHERIDGE: None whatsoever.

ADLER: Jeff LaDuke, a huge "South Park" fan, traveled in from Queens after work.

Mr. JEFF LADUKE: This is my 33rd try, and I've never won.

ADLER: And you've never seen it?

Mr. LADUKE: I have never seen it.

ADLER: It's 5 o'clock. Chris Catalano picks up that bullhorn.

Mr. CATALANO: Hasa Diga everybody, how you doing?

(Soundbite of screams and applause)

ADLER: And then the names are picked.

Mr. CATALANO: The first winner is Steven Web.

ADLER: And several names down the list comes this name.

Mr. CATALANO: Jeff LaDuke or Ladmaka...

ADLER: Jeff LaDuke, on his 33rd try.

Mr. LADUKE: I thought it was a trick at first. It was like, are you so joking? Oh my gosh, it worked, finally.

ADLER: As for Mark Etheridge, he planned on coming the next day for attempt number 30.

Margot Adler, NPR News, New York.

(Soundbite of music)

INSKEEP: This is NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.