The Book of Mormon Saves Broadway

Blog: 04.06.11

Wednesday, April 06, 2011 - 06:00 AM

Given that going to a Broadway musical is easily the most expensive form of entertainment — a ticket to Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark costs as much as a dozen movie tickets or a year's subscription to Netflix or five hardcover novels — it's depressing that most Broadway shows are not really very good, let alone great. So much money and skill squandered on so many dull, sloppily made mediocrities (and worse). So when an unequivocally great show appears, it deserves all the praise we can give.

The Book of Mormon is straight-up brilliant, by far the best new musical of the 21st century. The authors had two genius perceptions: that the retro style of evangelical Christianity — ultra-earnest upbeat all-American emotional — shares a good deal of stylistic DNA with musical theater, and that the founding myth of Mormonism in particular (Jesus visiting America, secret scripture engraved on golden plates buried in New York) could be mistaken for an over-the-top musical comedy conceit. The show is savagely funny and smart, as you'd expect a show by the creators of South Park to be. But it's also got a solid story, good sets and costumes, great songs, great performances and — this is the real miracle — serious ideas, moving moments and irresistible uplift.

A week after seeing it, it's still making me happy. We'll be talking more about The Book of Mormon on our show in weeks to come.


Slideshow: The Book of Mormon on Broadway

Joan Marcus

In the Broadway production of The Book of Mormon, young missionaries Elder Price (Andrew Rannells, left) and Elder Cunningham (Josh Gad, right) embark on a two-year mission to Uganda.

Joan Marcus

Elder Cunningham (Josh Gad) preaches to a skeptical group of locals.

Joan Marcus

The Book of Mormon weaves the dark humor of South Park with old-timey musical theater show-stoppers.

Mormon’s singing, dancing missionaries, lead by Rory O’Malley.
Joan Marcus

Mormon’s singing, dancing missionaries, lead by Rory O’Malley.

The tap dance break from the song “Turn it Off.”
Joan Marcus

The tap dance break from the song “Turn it Off.”

Joan Marcus

Andrew Rannells as Elder Price in the Broadway production of The Book of Mormon.

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Comments [5]

Sean

If you liked the musical, you should read the real <a href="http://mormon.org/book-of-mormon/">Book of Mormon</a>. As always, the book is better :D

Apr. 19 2012 04:00 PM
smartman

The book of mormon is breaking records all around the board. 9 Tony awards, record breaking attendance, and now record breaking album sales. They are gonna hold these records for a very long time... or until a Big Love broadway show comes out.

Nov. 28 2011 10:54 AM
Loki_One from Panama City, Fl.

All of the clips I've seen are hilarious, and I wish I lived closer so that I could go and see this show. I guess I will have to wait for a touring company or the big screen version.

This show is sold out for the foreseeable future, however tickets are still available at http://amazonticketsonline.com

I am glad to see that the church leadership handled this with class and dignity, and did not create such a big fuss about the show. I'm sure that it will cause people to do more research on the Mormon's belief and theology

Oct. 06 2011 12:51 PM
Patrick Batchelder from New York City

So...can someone make an equally funny show about the Koran, with it's mythical rocks at Mecca waiting to be worshiped? Why.....not?

Jun. 18 2011 05:04 PM
Aaron from Denver, Colorado

With the aid of BYU's sketch comedy troupe, Divine Comedy (http://www.youtube.com/user/BYUDivineComedy), I've come to realize that Mormons are both an earnest people and hilariously creative individuals.
I wish I were in New York to see the show!

Apr. 12 2011 06:02 PM

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