Warning: This post may change your life!
This is hands down the funniest musical I’ve ever seen! The only tears I cried during this performance were because I was laughing so hard. This musical is a little vulgar, a little inappropriate, a little Jesus-y, and a whole lot of fun. This show was originally created by the creators of South Park and is a satirical mocking of the Mormon religion. This musical tells the story of two Mormon missionaries, Elder Price (Gabe Gibbs) and Elder Cunningham (Conner Pierson), and how they spread the word of “God” in Uganda.
The music in this show is so fun, it’s such a bop. It’s light, fun, and bouncy. What makes it great is the fact that the music is in real contrast to the lyrics in the songs. The lyrics are at least a little bit inappropriate or a little bit heavy but the music kind of glosses over that and makes it even funnier. There are some lyrics that are just kind of shocking that a plunked in the middle of songs like “Don’t feel those feelings, hold them in instead” and “I’m going to go rape a baby.” Those really poignant lyrics were just quickly sung and then not really acknowledged (at least not right away), which really made them stand out. The orchestrations of this show was also really good. It’s only a nine-member orchestra but so many different instruments are used from percussion and trumpets, to create the sounds of Africa, to electric guitars and bass, to add a bit of a rock and roll vibe.
The production design of this show was also amazing. Unlike most musicals, which generally only use one main set, The Book of Mormon has two or three main sets that fly in and out throughout the show. There was the beginning set, the Uganda set, and the Spooky Mormon Hell Dream set. The set for the Spooky Mormon Hell Dream scene was especially elaborate. The costumes were also amazing. Because there was a large ensemble, each ensemble member must have had at least four or five costumes and most of them were pretty elaborate and some of those costume changes were really quick! And I’ve had experience with quick changes (like 2-3 minutes). In the Turn it Off number, there’s a great tap part and they do 2 short blackouts. On the second one, I’m going to guess it’s 10-12 seconds and when the lights come back on, they all have sparkly pink vests on! I don’t know how they did it but I want to find out! Also, shout out to Casey Nicholaw for really really entertaining choreography.
This was also kind of an interesting cultural experience. I appreciate the diversity of this show. Black actors were featured and I think that’s really cool and they were super talented. There were also things that were touched on in the show like the prevalence of AIDS and crazy warlords and abuse that occur in Africa that the Mormon missionaries have never experienced. This is part of the reason the missionaries have had such a hard time getting people to join the church. But in the end, the two different worlds (the Mormons and the Africans) come together and realize that religion isn’t necessarily meant to be taken “seriously” but it’s okay to believe things metaphorically and they make a really nice community (even if it is some for ridiculous reason). Sometimes the world needs more stories of different groups of people coming together and everything works out in the end.
After 6 years on Broadway and two national tours, this show continues to entertain audiences around the world (yes I mean around the world, there was a production in Australia and a non-English production in Sweden). If you’re looking for a fun afternoon or evening, and you don’t get offended too easily, this is a great show.
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