After landing the role of Elder Kevin Price for the national tour of The Book of Mormon, Gabe Gibbs did what most actors do – went to a costume fitting. Having never seen the show though, he was in for a bit of a surprise when he got there.
“There’s some costumes that are joke elements that were the first things I tried on and I thought I was in the wrong fitting,” he laughed.
Soon after that fitting the Rochester High School alumni did get to actually see a live production of the show. That’s one way to see one of the most popular musicals of the last few decades.
For those who don’t know, The Book of Mormon follows two missionaries, Elder Price and Elder Cunningham, as they travel to Uganda in hopes of converting the citizens to the Mormon religion. Created by South Park’s Trey Parker and Matt Stone – with collaboration from EGOT winner Robert Lopez – the show won nine Tonys, including Best Musical. Saying that getting this role was huge for Gibbs would be an understatement.
“When I took over the role I was 23 or 24, and just so young and had so many things I got to learn at a pretty high level,” said Gibbs, who grew up as a pastor’s son. “And that show is so well received wherever we go.”
Like in Detroit, a special stop for Gibbs. Not only did he get to sing on the Fisher Theatre stage, a place he had seen performances growing up, but his family and friends in the audience were joined by teachers who had had a lasting influence on him.
Oh, and there’s the stint of performances he got to do on Broadway.
“It was unbelievable,” Gibbs said. “It’s the NFL for theater dorks.”
For Gibbs, football was once the dream, until he busted his collarbone his freshman year of high school. The next day, he went to audition for the school’s production of Little Shop of Horrors. The rest is history.
“I was like, maybe I’ll give up on the football dreams, and do this other thing,” Gibbs said. “I’m sure it started off as 14-year-old boy ego, but then I ended up really, actually, liking it.”
During his time in Rochester Community Schools, Gibbs said that he was able to be a part of a very high-level, kick-butt arts program.
Since that instrumental musical in high school Gibbs has grown a lot, especially during his three years with Book of Mormon. After auditioning in Los Angeles – where he moved after college and currently resides – he was cast as an understudy on the road, then moved to understudy on Broadway before going back to the national tour.
“It felt like progression every time,” said Gibbs. “Then at the end of those three years time came I wanted to be more serious with (then girlfriend, now fiancée) Lauren, and I wanted to not be staying in Hampton Inns every day of my life. I loved my time, but it was time for a new chapter.”
So he left the show last fall. While he’s currently working on some projects, walking his dog, and planning a wedding, that time with Book of Mormon was clearly special to him. There’s an awe in his voice when he talks about it.
“When you get an opportunity that’s a little too big for you, you end up learning a lot,” he said. “That was three years in the blink of an eye.”