In the beginning, there was “South Park” on television and “Avenue Q” on stage and the people laughed and begged for more. So, the creators searched their souls and Salt Lake City for inspiration and gave the world a tome of divine.
Broadway in Chicago presents the Tony Award-winning THE BOOK OF MORMON. Elder Price has just finished missionary training and he’s going to Disney World. At least, he hopes he is getting the Orlando gig. He wants to save souls in the magical kingdom. His prayers go unanswered. He gets assigned to Uganda. And to test his resolve even more, Price is paired with the class buffoon, Elder Cunningham. When the twosome arrive in Africa, they get an early come-to-Jesus meeting. The villagers are plagued with AIDS. The women are regularly raped and circumcised. The war lords tyrannize the country. And there is not a doorbell for miles. What the hell? These Elders aren’t in Salt Lake City anymore. THE BOOK OF MORMON is a latter-day musical that is unforgettable for its religious fervor, political commentary and non-stop comedy. BOM is *The Bomb*!
“South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone teamed up with Robert Lopez of “Avenue Q” fame to preach the good -and unconscionable- news. It’s like a comedy-documentary with catchy tunes. We learn about the Mormons and the Ugandans. We see what people are capable of when armed with self-conviction. The Parker-Stone-Lopez machine balances the horrifying with the riotous. In the fantastic “Spooky Mormon Hell Dream” showcase, Price is stunned because ‘Jesus just called me a dick.‘ It’s that kind of irreverent, yet accurate, lyric that sums up my takeaway message behind this show: religion should empower people to be kinder not crueler. Simple, profound and f#cking hilarious.
The entire large cast kicks it up tribal and altar boy style. Choreographer Casey Nicholaw orchestrates some eclectic dance mixes. Nicholaw and Parker double as co-directors. The pacing of this show is upbeat and high energy. The 2 1/2 hours whiz by. The entire ensemble have may converted from “Hello!” Yet, Ben Platt (Cunningham) makes me a true believer. Platt’s performance is so organic, it feels like he wandered onto the stage and assumed the role. His timing is comedy perfection. As revelations occur, Platt has me convinced that we are sharing a mutual epiphany. He is superb! This show will most likely continue to extend but get your tickets sooner than later to enjoy the King Platt version.
THE BOOK OF MORMON has a cult-like following. And no wonder!? This show sticks it where the sun don’t shine and makes us laugh at the pain of it all. And don’t worry about being offensive to the Mormon religion. They are obviously invested in the show’s success. They are advertising prominently in the Playbill... three pages worth!
Running Time: Two hours and thirty minutes includes an intermission
At Bank of America Theatre, 22 W. Monroe
Book, music and lyrics by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone
Directed by Casey Nicholaw and Trey Parker
Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays at 7:30pm
Wednesdays at 2pm and 7:30pm
Saturdays at 2pm and 8pm
Sundays at 2pm
Thru September 2013
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