San Diego

From Starbucks to the Stage: San Diego Resident Lives Out Dream Role in ‘Book of Mormon'

San Diego resident Luke Monday had been performing across San Diego for years when he auditioned for "The Book of Mormon."

San Diego resident Luke Monday was working at Starbucks in North County when he got the call to join "The Book of Mormon." 

He had been waiting and waiting for weeks. 

"I'm sure they had to cross their Ts and dot their Is, but I was checking my email every day," Monday told NBC 7 in a phone interview. 

The actor has performed with San Diego Musical Theatre, Lamb's Players Theatre and Welk Resort Theater. He was working a survival job last winter when he drove up to Los Angeles to audition for "The Book of Mormon" - a dream job for him. 

"I've wanted to do the show ever since I knew it existed," Monday said.

The audition process started last winter, but it wasn't Monday's first rodeo. The San Diego-based actor had auditioned for the show when they were casting in Salt Lake City and Los Angeles. At the time, they turned him down. 

But Monday kept coming back because he knew he was right for the show. 

"Every once and a while, a show comes around that you just see yourself in," Monday said. "This was definitely one that I identified with." 

Even if it didn't work out this time around, Monday would have kept auditioning. 

"I was never going to stop, even if this time didn't work out," Monday said, chuckling. "You know, it's a show I know I'm right for, and I love it and I'm going to keep going back until they tell me not to."

Monday was cast as the standby for Elder Price. Unlike an understudy, a standby will literally standby off-stage and cover a principal role. Monday, for example, is the standby for Elder Price. 

As the standby, Monday fills in whenever actor Liam Tobin ("Beautiful" tour) is sick, injured or even tired. Tobin, the lead in the tour, started as a standby too. 

Since starting with the tour in February, Monday has only performed the role of Elder Price in front of an audience twice: the first time in Connecticut, and then in Philadelphia. 

The first time Monday performed in front of an audience, he was nervous. But all the nerves he had prior to walking on stage vanished when the curtain opened. When Monday first performed, he said, he had never experienced the audience's energy in that way. 

"All the things I was worried about or scared about just went away, because with a show that is this funny, and the amount of laughs you get, it's so reassuring," Monday said. "It's like a pat on the back from the audience, like 'you're doing a good job' kind of thing." 

Monday is scheduled to perform the role a third time in Las Vegas in two weeks, where his family and friends will come and see him. 

Even still, getting to come home and perform in San Diego has been a dream, Monday said. 

"It's like a full circle moment," Monday said. "Now I'm back in San Diego, but in a totally different capacity, doing this dream show. It's definitely humbling."

To be a part of a show that makes people laugh, Monday said, has been an amazing feeling. 

"I'm so lucky that I have my job that lifts me up and lifts other people up too," Monday said. 

"Laughter is healing," he added. 

"The Book of Mormon" runs from July 23 to July 28 at the San Diego Civic Theatre. For tickets, click here

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