American Idol alum Syesha Mercado apparently replacing Stephanie Umoh in Chicago cast of Book of Mormon

In a sidebar to last week's cover story on the new Chicago production of the megahit musical The Book of Mormon, I introduced you to the five leading actors in the Chicago cast. Yet almost as soon as that story went live last week, I started hearing rumblings that some casting changes may have already been made.

The show's producers didn't respond to multiple inquiries over the last week. Yet while the Chicago Tribune and both continued to describe Stephanie Umoh as a member of the cast in new items today, Umoh's public Twitter feed seemed to indicate that she wasn't in Chicago. Multiple attendees of last night's invited final dress rehearsal told me that the actor playing the featured role of Nabulungi wasn't Umoh, though with no programs handed out they couldn't say who it was.

Tonight's first public preview provides some answers. The above photo from tonight's Playbill, passed along by a paying ticketholder at tonight's show, lists Syesha Mercado, the former American Idol contestant who went on to perform in a national touring production of Dreamgirls, as Nabulungi. Though Book of Mormon's producers have remained mum on the cast switch, Mercado hasn't:


The photo of tonight's program also lists Pierce Cassedy in the place of the previously announced Chicago actor Jackson Evans, in the supporting role of Elder McKinley. The Book of Mormon opens for the press in Chicago next Wednesday, December 19.

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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)