American Culture

Mini-review: Book of Mormon

Last night I saw the musical Book of Mormon in Chicago. I confess, I didn’t really want to go. While I recognize the insane cleverness of South Park, I never really liked the show, and the idea of a musical by the same two writers didn’t excite me. But we had relatives in town from the country and wanted to show them the town, so we went to a play.

I struggle to find words to describe it. It is insanely, hysterically funny. I literally wept from laughter. It is brilliantly, wickedly incisive, satire at such a high level it becomes truth. It is shocking, coarse in a way that will make most of us squirm lower in our seats and not meet the eyes of other people in the audience.

But what really surprised me is that it’s a great play. The story is compelling. You care about the characters. The stakes are high, and you lean forward in your seat anxiously, hoping they will get out of this OK. The music and the dance is splendid, and even though that too is a parody (it’s a musical making fun of being a musical), it’s catchy enough you’ll find yourself humming as you leave the theater. And somehow, I have no idea how, they manage to make fun of Mormons and Africans without being patronizing.

It’s a phenomenal piece of creativity and wonderful, wonderful entertainment.

If you get a chance, you gotta see this.

5 replies »

  1. I strongly recommend that you track down Orgazmo and Cannibal – The Musical as well. Both are insanely funny sendups of porn (Mormon missionary goes into the porn business) and the cannibal Alfred Packer, respectively.

  2. “And somehow, I have no idea how, they manage to make fun of Mormons and Africans without being patronizing.” You only feel this way because you’re neither Mormon nor African. Trust me, bigotry is still bigotry even if it’s clever and funny.