Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tomorrow is a latter day...

I'm not sure how many times I tried to win lottery tickets for The Book of Mormon, but I wouldn't be shocked if it was at least a dozen times. But the waiting came to an end this past weekend as I won the lottery and finally saw the Tony-winning musical. And let me tell you, it was a fucking riot.

Now the only things I knew about the musical were that it was put together by a team consisting of the creators of South Park and the composer for Avenue Q, it had something to do with the Mormon faith, and that it won a crapload of Tony Awards a few months back (9 in total). So I had a few expectations about the tone (funny, crude, endearing) and quality (very high) and my expectations were met and then some.

Tony nominees Andrew Rannells and Josh Gad play the two leads as Mormon missionaries Elder Price and Elder Cunningham respectively paired up to spread the word in Uganda. Their odd couple relationship is played for laughs as well as their fish out of water experience in AIDS-riddled warlord-terrorized Africa. The rest of the ensemble contains the other Mormon missionaries led by the effervescent and Tony nominee Rory O'Malley as well as the native villagers which includes Tony winner Nikki James who takes an interest in the "white boys."

The songs and choreography are as wonderful and memorable as they are varied. The show really tried to mix and match various styles and elements--big ballads, tap numbers, a play within a play, chorus lines, a song that will now be a regular part of my Halloween playlist, etc., but it never felt overwhelming or chaotic. Because underneath the crudeness is real heart which grounded the show from the first "Hello!" It's hard to pick a favorite performer, scene, or song. But I'll say O'Malley's performance in "Turn It Off" is the one I kept coming back to. Let's just say I related to it a lot. Also, how adorable is he? I mean seriously. Rannells' performance of "I Believe" is also quite the showstopper and he duly performed it magnificently at the Tony Awards.

With the numbers it's been doing, this show is going to be around for awhile. Sure the cast will inevitably change, but the words and songs will remain and I hope everyone gets to experience them at least once. Hasa Diga Eebowai!

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