Society & Culture

The Book of Mormon Redefines Broadway

What have we come to expect from Broadway? Adaptations of books. Adaptations of movies. Rehashed plays. Records turned plays. Yep, Broadway is notorious for playing it safe. However, with The Book of Mormon, we now have proof that the tried and true conservative Broadway formula isn't the only path to take.

Money can be made on edgy, satirical, and even shocking performances.

South Park for the Stage? Not Exactly

I know I wasn't the only one wondering. The creators of South Park making a play? It had disaster written all over it. If you haven't seen South Park, it's an animated show built on pissing on everything we know. No one and nothing is too sacred to be torn apart in a humorous fashion by the show.

Yet, offending people never kept creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone from pushing every button possible. They did what Seth McFarlane has done with Family Guy before it was considered acceptable.

So the question is, how would that irreverence transfer to the stage? It seemed like the perfect recipe for a complete debacle. Boy were we wrong.

Yeah, it's irreverent. Sure if you're a Mormon, or even a Christian, you will likely be offended.

But on the other hand, it's truly a beautifully written production. Why?

  • It's hilarious
  • The dancing is phenomenal
  • The songs really stick with you
  • There's some legitimate insight into faith and the human condition here

What the Play is About

Is it simply a play poking fun at religion? Well, not exactly. Let's take a quick look at the plot. It begins with two young Mormons preparing to act as missionaries in Uganda. Armed with their Book of Mormon, they set out to an AIDS and poverty stricken country, ready to harvest souls. However, what they find is a nation of hurting people who are more interested in surviving their horrible conditions than serving a new God.

Of course, I make it sound like a serious journey. And while there are certainly some serious undertones, the fact is that this is a comedy looking to make people laugh at how ridiculous and how unaware of the world around us we Americans can be.

Just How Crass Is IT?

Good question. It's pretty crass for a Broadway production, that's for certain. Here are a few examples:

  1. Men singing about maggots in their manly parts.
  2. Jokes centering on rape
  3. F-bombs and C-bombs pointed towards the Maker

Yeah, it's not for those easily insulted or offended. That's for certain. However, while the jokes go a bit for shock value, again it is clear that the purpose is to laugh at ourselves and maybe even make us reconsider how we look at those outside of our bubble.

Is This Right for Your Date Night?

Great question. First and foremost, make sure you have a good idea of what your date is like spiritually. If they have deep religious convictions, this likely isn't going to score you any points. In fact, it might get them to never call you back!

However, if your date has a good sense of humor and can laugh at themselves (or at others, as the case may be), then this could be the best date you've ever been on. You're both going to be rolling in the aisles cracking up.

Let's take a look at some couples we know who have taken a date night for the performance:

  • Kane and Kim
  • Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel
  • Prince Harry and Cressida Bonas

These aren't B-list celebrities. Surely they're on to something!

Critical Acclaim

So what are the critics saying about the play? Here's a quick rundown:

  • Rolling Stone says that the play makes history. They go as far as to say that it's the "new gold standard" for Broadway.
  • Entertainment Weekly calls it the perfect musical. They seem to think this is the direction that Broadway should take to officially get into the 21st century.
  • New York times says that this is the best musical of the century.

The jury is in. The critics simply love The Book of Mormon.

See It For Yourself

Think this sounds like a production you might enjoy? See what all the hype is about and experience a different sort of Broadway than ever before. Get your Book of Mormon Tickets now!

Alice Miller, the author of this article, loves the theater. Ever since she was a little girl, she was fascinated by the song and dance. Unfortunately, she can't carry a tune and has two left feet. No matter—it doesn't keep her from writing about her passion and enjoying being a member in the audience!

Do you have any questions? Please ask.