Theater News Online
free issue
London Theatre Reviews
NY Theater Reviews
LTN Recommendations
NYTN Recommendations
Book Reviews
Movie Reviews
London Theatre Archives
NY Theater Archives
Latest New York News
Latest London News
NY News Archives
London News Archives
Peter Filichia's Monday Quiz
Dining and Travel
London Theatre Listings
NY Broadway Listings
Off-Broadway Listings
London Tickets
Advertise with us

Subscribe
Renew
Give a Gift


Logo

Adagio Teas
   Features  >  NY Theater Reviews

 
THE BOOK OF MORMON
at the Eugene O’Neill

RELIGION MEETS MUSICALS MEETS COMEDY
By MATT WINDMAN

  Nikki M. James, Andrew Rannells, Josh Gad and cast/ Ph: Joan Marcus

Don’t expect to find any members of the Mormon faith protesting outside The Book of Mormon, a tuneful, unabashedly silly and absolutely uproarious new musical by the powerhouse team of South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker, Avenue Q composer Robert Lopez and Drowsy Chaperone director Casey Nicholaw. Even while parodying Mormonism, particularly its controversial origin story and the doorbell-ringing practices of its dedicated followers, The Book of Mormon also celebrates the power of religion – any religion – to give people hope in the face of despair.

It begins with Elder Price and Elder Cunningham – two male Mormon teens from Salt Lake City – finishing their missionary training and being shipped off to Uganda to try and baptize the inhabitants of a small village. But once there, they learn that Africa is nothing like The Lion King. They are confronted with warlords, death, AIDS and famine. In a brilliant production number, the Ugandans explain their philosophy of "Hasa Diga Eebowai," the translation of which probably shouldn’t be published on this website.

Price, the cockiest student of his class, is disheartened by his inability to make a difference. After all, how can the teachings of Joseph Smith help the villager who complains of having maggots in his scrotum? Cunningham, an outcast who has yet to actually read the Book of Mormon, impulsively starts to preach his own religious teachings that derive from Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. His stories, designed to speak directly to his new audience, are surprisingly effective.

While the plot is somewhat thin and occasionally feels like an overextended sketch, especially during a so-called “Spooky Mormon Hell Dream,” the musical ultimately comes across as fresh, smart and heartfelt. As you’d probably expect, the show’s potty-mouth creators do not refrain from using explicit language. But in spite of the curse words, The Book of Mormon is an upbeat, even sentimental musical that combines Rodgers & Hammerstein, Les Miz powerhouse ballads and tap dancing.

The cast, led by Josh Grad, Andrew Rannells and Nikki M. James, is uniformly excellent and marked by unending energy and enthusiasm.

 


SUBSCRIBE TO New York Theater News
SUBSCRIBE TO London Theater News

SCHEDULE UPDATES -
Yes, Prime Minister contracts its run, while A Chorus Line expands its own.
POWERHOUSE OF THEATRE - After 11 years as the Almeida Theatre's artistic director, Michael Attenborough is stepping down to focus on directing. 

SONGS FROM THE HEART - Once the Tony-Award winning musical is set to hit London in January.


Wine, Fruit, and Gourmet Gift Baskets.
Privacy Notice   |   Front Page
Copyright © TheaterNewsOnline.com. All Rights Reserved.