The Book of Mormon is consistently sold out at the Eugene O’Neill Theater in New York City, and for good reason. Packing witty satire, great tunes, and the sharp (and filthy) writing from South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, this musical has been able to fill seats better than any of its competitors in New York’s theater district. But is it worth the hype? Is it deserving of becoming part of the cultural zeitgeist? Is it worth the absurd ticket prices?
Jon Stewart put it best. It’s a musical that’s so good, it’ll make you angry. As a college student, I was not inclined to dish out $200 for tickets to the Broadway production, but I did see it on tour when it came to the Landmark Theater in Syracuse (which I highly recommend if you’re on a budget). The touring cast was incredible, with amazing vocal talent and unparalleled comedic timing.
The play centers around a group of happy-go-lucky Mormons who are each sent to various locations to recruit more members to the Church of Latter Day Saints. Elder Price, an ambitious missionary, is disappointed at first when God sends him to a desolate village in Uganda rather than his ideal destination of Orlando, Florida. Joining Price is Elder Cunningham, a dimwitted companion who is easily the star of the production, with plenty of pop culture references and sharp satirical dialogue.
When they arrive in Uganda, they realize that the village is in danger after a military general has threatened to, well, we’ll spare you the details. Just keep in mind this is coming from the minds of South Park writers, so the play does get raunchier as it goes on. The soundtrack is incredible, straying away from the typical Broadway sounds and entering the realms of traditional African music, barbershop quartet, a cappella, and even heavy metal. It’ll keep your shoes tapping and your gut roaring to the amazing writing.
Overall, we could not recommend Book of Mormon more. Beneath its crass and filth, it has a charming story with a good lesson, however be warned that Trey Parker and Matt Stone do not hold anything back, and in doing so, allow for the musical to be an absolute triumph. We would say go see it while it lasts, but Mormon will not be leaving the stage anytime soon.