The Book of Mormon
through July 22, 2018
When this show came to town 4 years ago it sold out most performances; and it is playing to very full houses this time around. The Book of Mormon opened 7 years ago on Broadway and has generated more heat and press than most shows could wish for. Mainly because of its no-holds-barred satirical attack on the proselytizing activities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Trey Parker and Matt Stone brought us South Park, which has become a standard TV offering. They were brought up in Colorado area, and had a lot of interaction with the LDS church. They hooked up with Robert Lopez and the three of them crafted this winner. It won nine Tony Awards the first year it played, and the album won a Grammy. The music and dance is terrific, as well as quite unique.
This is the one of the few shows in which the eye candy dance troupe is all male. They’re the 10 young men, “Elders”, who are sent out to Uganda to bring some of the natives into the faith. The time is set during the days of Idi Amin, albeit he is not included in the script. But, abuse, murders, and every other problem is present for the folks in the rural community.
Kevin Clay and Conner Peirson play the two Elders who are sent out from Salt Lake City to join forces with the others who are already there and getting nowhere in a hurry. It isn’t quite what they had dreamed of when they were in training. These two play off each other for much of the humor, and they sing and dance as well. The female lead is Kim Exum who plays the young Nabulungi, the girl whose name Elder Cunningham (Peirson) can never get right. The script is slightly updated to include reference to a well known politician.
This is a world-class production. Sets and costumes couldn’t be better and some of them remind one of Lion King. It moves with ease through many scenes and never lacks in ear and eye appeal. Having said all that, you need to know that this is not for Ms. Prim, or the Bible Thumpers. There are enough expletives to impress even a teenager, and plenty of single entendres. If you are one who is easily offended then this might rub you the wrong way.
The upside is that while G-d may not be initially respected by the natives, that the essence of the satire is not the religious beliefs, but the sales promotion thereof. Oops. . . . just heard my door bell ring, and there’s two guys there with white shirts and neckties . . . .