The Book of Mormon

Orlandooooooooooooooo! Ah yes, that glorious city that all Mormon boys hope to flock to in order to perform missionary work. Nothing more appealing than heaps of Brazilians traveling throughout Disney World that one can convert to the prophetic words of Joseph Smith and that racist Brigham Young. I saw this musical originally in Orlando and I can safely say that I forgot it played such a prevalent role in the show when I saw this play again on Broadway. It was my first time standing for an entire show but hey, if you can get a ticket for less than 30$ and still be in the orchestra section then I’ll stand any day. Plus, of the three people I went with, one of them had seen the show 4 times on Broadway and stood every time? The standing part is very irrelevant for that anecdote, I was just more surprised that a person would see the same show four times. It’s like, you do realize that you can get the soundtrack on Spotify and listen to that. Who am I to judge though? I’m just happy they’re heading back to France so they can’t try to overtake me as head theatre critic (potentially) of the NYTimes because they sure did see a lot more shows than I have so far. Some say that she went back to France on her own merit, others say I deported her out of the country because I hate competition because it’s hard enough to compete versus my own self, let alone anyone in the world. Blah, blah, blah, I don’t have a lot of thoughts about the atmosphere of the show. Yes, sometimes the person sitting in front of me head would run into my arm draped over the railing and I’d have to pretend that it wasn’t my fault. Uh…I didn’t really fall asleep during this show because it’s harder to do that standing up and I think that’s about it. Onto the in-depth-scandalous-scathing-suppository review!

For coming from the creators of South Park, the Book of Mormon is actually fairly tame. Yes, it does have a character constantly mention how he has maggots crawling in his scrotum and the whole song about Fuck God and someone does get a literal Book of Mormon shoved up his butt hole. However, compare it to South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut, the South Park movie that involved Satan and Saddam Hussein having sex together as a musical number in hell. Though to be fair, that’s not a way you win a Tony Award. Maybe I should actually give more credit to Trey and Matt than criticism for this feat. They already have their animated show where they can say whatever they want, as profanely as they want. It’s actually quite impressive how they’re able to put such earnest into songs and with less profanity than usual, it provides much more shock when it does arise. Even compared to their own episode about the Mormon faith where it was extremely ridiculed, this play treats the religion with almost something resembling respect. It does make fun of the outrageous, ridiculous tenets of the Mormon faith, but it also shows the humanity and goodness that at least the Mormon missionaries seem to have. There is a comedian, Brian Regan, who does his whole act clean. He doesn’t do it because he never uses profanity or whatever in his everyday life, he just wants to make people of all ages laugh. He mentioned something about how much harder it is to write a joke and get a big laugh without using any bad words. Since in our puritan society, just a punch line of “I f’ed so and so in the so and so” can garner laughs for its audacity. To craft something without the shock value of vulgarness is a complex task. To reference the song “Turn It Off” from the play, they comment on homosexuality that you have to tamper down in order to be accepted by the church, the trauma that one may face within their personal life that one has to shut down to provide a smile and the word of God, and I don’t know where I’m going with this. My point is, using the Mormon construct, the songs are all done in an innocent, pure manner to represent their attitudes while they do hit the mature subjects and make jokes out of them without throwing in a constant stream of F-bombs. The more I ramble about this, the more I’m impressed and I wonder if using the Mormon template was a way to challenge themselves to rein it in while also writing biting social commentaries. Because that’s what reviews are all about right? Me figuring out my opinion when I’m 75% done with writing the thing anyway.

What is my final review? It doesn’t matter because I don’t give a score. All I know is that I enjoyed the show and I’m glad I saw it again. I didn’t plan on seeing it because I’d already seen the musical before, but it’s hard to decline a 29$ ticket. And it was great! Again. Plus, I have the Book of Mormon that I was given by a girl who desperately wanted it out of her possession just as desperately as she wanted out from under the control of her strict Mormon parents. This is for you, Natalie! I guess I could’ve said seeing it the first time was for you and this subsequent time really had nothing to do with you at all. That’s much more true and now I regret that shout out. I reference everyone else in vague allusions to them and now you get your own name spoken? I specifically mentioned deporting a French girl as to not have another person claiming the throne of NYTimes Culture Editor and I don’t even give her a name? Obviously that was because I don’t want the authorities on my tail because I know I’m so close to being offered the position. As of this writing, I am still yet to have anyone reach out from any publication but I know my chance is coming. Was I talking about the Book of Mormon? Oh right, yeah. Solid show, solid songs, and ORLANDDOOOO. So it goes.

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