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July 29, 2014

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Who wants ‘The Book of Mormon’? Myron Martin had to raise his hand

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Steve Marcus

Myron Martin, president and CEO of the Smith Center for the Performing Arts, announces the Broadway shows for Season 2 during a donors reception at the Smith Center on Monday, Feb. 4, 2013.

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The Book of Mormon

Myron Martin has been on a mission on behalf of the Smith Center for the Performing Arts. But instead of the Book of Mormon, he’s packing his Tony Award voter’s card.

And he played it expertly to land “The Book of Mormon.”

“As a Tony voter, you see every show. You get to know every producer and all of the agents who represent shows,” Martin says. “With a show like this, you raise your hand as a person who does vote on the Tony Awards and say, ‘We want to be part of the national tour.’ ”

This is not to suggest that Martin is actually sliding his resume under the doors of top producers, but serving as a Tony voter is a variation of street cred, theater-style.

Martin and his team have swayed the team behind “The Book of Mormon” to include the Smith Center on its tour of the United States. The show opened tonight and runs through July 6.

He is not always one to trumpet the fact, but Martin does indeed cast votes for the annual Tony Awards, earning that distinction three years ago. Having Smith Center’s president on the Tony voting board doubtless helps lure top productions touring the country, and “The Book of Mormon” is among the most important shows to play Reynolds Hall.

“It is like the ‘Wicked’ phenomenon, and the public and critics are responding in an incredibly positive way,” Martin says. “It has done amazing numbers on Broadway, and we have been working hard to get it. This show is so popular, every performing arts center wants it, and there are 600-something around the country. But it can’t go everywhere.”

As expected, “The Book of Mormon” is among the hottest entertainment tickets in town since that “Wicked” phenomenon blew through the Smith Center in the fall of 2012. It’s not often a venue operator can say that every seat in a performance’s run will be sold out, but …

“Every seat in every performance will be sold,” Martin says.

As has been announced, a preshow lottery will be held each night for fans who want tickets but have been shut out because of availability or cost. Twenty tickets for seats in the front row of the orchestra section will be held at a cost of $25 apiece. Fans can show up starting 2 1/2 hours before the 7:30 p.m. performance, enter their names on a slip of paper dropped into a drum, and hope for the best. Those whose names are selected will take a certificate to the box office and be issued one or two tickets.

In performances across the country, as many as 800 fans have lined up for the lottery. But as Martin understands, not everyone can win with “The Book of Mormon,” and it’s better to leave nothing to chance.

Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at Twitter.com/JohnnyKats. Also, follow “Kats With the Dish” at Twitter.com/KatsWiththeDish.

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