Musical Review: The Book of Mormon

Details: Won the Tony Award for Best Musical in 2011. The official site is http://bookofmormonbroadway.com/tickets. The playbill for the original Broadway cast can be found at http://www.playbill.com/production/the-book-of-mormon-eugene-oneill-theatre-vault-0000013715

Before Hamilton, the hottest show on Broadway was the Book of Mormon. Ticket prices were through the roof and you likely had to win a lottery, buy a ticket months in advance, or spend an exorbitant amount of money in order to get your hands on a ticket. And it was worth it. Book of Mormon is an entertaining show on the very sensitive subject of religion, which it handles hilariously.

The Book of Mormon tells the story of two young, devout Mormons who have come of age and are being sent on their mission. A mission, in this context, is where Mormons are sent somewhere far away with the goal of converting others to the Mormon religion. These two young Mormons are sent to one of the worst places on earth and now have to reconcile their religious beliefs with this new reality of pain and suffering.

It’s a lot funnier than it sounds. The show was written by Matt and Trey Parker, the creators of South Park. The songwriter is the same song writer from Avenue Q. If you’ve ever seen South Park or Avenue Q, then you’ll have a good idea of the kind of humor they use here.

The music is just as hilarious as the plot, which is also hilarious. If you are a devoutly religious person with no sense of humor when it comes to the subject of religion, then this isn’t the show for you. As with a lot of Matt and Trey Parker’s humor, it tends to take a social issue and applies a critique to it, eventually reaching a message that they want to say about the subject. There is certainly that here and it can be interpreted a number of ways. I won’t ruin the ending, but if you were expecting a story that completely decries organized religion (specifically, evangelical Christianity) or completely supports organized religion, you won’t get exactly that here.

The music is even funnier than what was found in Avenue Q or South Park, Bigger, Longer, and Uncut. I think it’s because the subject matter of the show is based on something real and actually goes into Mormonism to a knowledgeable degree. The writers of the show were former Mormons after all so it seems clear that they would know something about the subject matter. If you know nothing about Mormons, this show will educate you on the more ridiculous sounding aspects of the belief, like how the Garden of Eden is in Jackson County, Missouri or how ancient Jews built boats and sailed to America.

The cast was great with the leads of Josh Gad and Andrew Rannells standing out. Rannells has an amazing voice and gets the opportunity to show it off here. Gad does what Gad always does and provides the comic relief. Together, they really make the show.

Overall, The Book of Mormon is an amazing show that deserves every award that it won. It may be hard to watch for those who are religious and cannot stand discussion of disagreement or doubt in their religious beliefs. I vaguely remember some of my Christian and Jewish friends watching the show and I think they were okay with it as a piece of entertainment that wasn’t specifically about their religions but Mormons specifically. Personally, I felt that it was trying to make a statement about the ridiculous of all Judeo-Christian faiths and organized religions as a whole, but that’s just me. Either way, if you can take hearing an entire show’s worth of jokes pointed at religious subject matter, you should go see this show as soon as possible. Even without Gad and Rannells as the leads, the material and music are amazing on their own and can stand without those two as the leads.

Score: 8.5/10

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