27 February 2015
The Book of Mormon
On January 28th, I went to see the Book of Mormon at the Straz Center in Tampa. I went on the recommendation of a friend who saw the show on Broadway in New York last spring. I did not know much about it except that it was written by the guys that created South Park (Trey Parker and Matt Stone) and that it has won many awards. Every time I hear a doorbell, I start to sing the song "Hello." I was hooked on the show from the opening song. The show is very informative and clever and raunchy and hilarious. The songs are catchy, and a month later I still find myself humming them. It is obvious that the writers respect the Mormon faith even as they satirize it. The show is about two young men, Elder Price and Elder Cunningham, missionaries of the Church of Latter Day Saints, that are on their first mission. They get sent, not to Orlando as Elder Price hopes, but to a village in Uganda. Converting the villagers is not as easy task, and the missionaries that arrived before these two Elders have all but given up. The show does allude to some very serious issues, such as AIDS and female genital mutilation, but is never serious about the issues. I enjoyed Elder Cunningham's "stories" told to the villagers. I laughed so hard at all of the nuanced jokes and references. The show really deserves the acclaim because it is smartly written and the songs are integral to furthering the story. I think the soundtrack will become a part of my rotation, which is a very high honor as I am somewhat of a music snob. If I have the opportunity to see the show again, I will. Like many shows, I am sure I will only appreciate it more (and understand more of the jokes) with repeated viewings.