How do you get me excited about a musical? Well, you can start by telling me that it’s called The Book of Mormon. That would pique my interest pretty quickly. You can also tell me that it’s won multiple Tony Awards to which I would respond, “Cool, sounds good. What are those?’ and you could continue by telling me that it was written by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of South Park. I’m in!
I attended my first legit musical last night, The Book of Mormon, and it was everything I thought it would be. And how could it not be great? I remember an episode of South Park on the same subject that aired sometime when I was in college and it was hilarious. Pair that with the musical numbers that they produce on South Park on a fairly regular basis and it’s sure to be right up my alley. I’ll be the first to admit that my South Park watching days are mostly behind me at this point because they do have a way of getting overly crass and carried away that seems to be growing as they run out of things to make episodes about. However, one thing they still nail (and always have) is their satirical style of social commentary and this musical was no different.
The story follows two young Mormon men entering adulthood and leaving on their two-year mission trip. One is the perfect model of Mormon faith and the other a bit of a misfit. I don’t want to give too much of the story away, but the contrast between these two characters alone is hysterical, not to mention the way they interact with other missionaries on their trip and the native people of Uganda where they are stationed. From the moment the show kicked off with a rousing introduction of characters in song I was laughing out loud. While Parker and Stone kept true to their form of delivering punch lines and sophomoric humor with vulgarity and crass in many instances, they also did a great job of pointing out the nonsensical behaviors of not just Mormons, but all people, that we’ve all been caught up in at one point or another. I don’t feel like they were blatantly making fun of anyone during the show necessarily either, rather they were basically pointing a finger and saying: “look at that… isn’t that weird? Does that really make sense?” , and that’s what I’ve always loved about Parker and Stone.
So, whether you like musicals or not and whether you like South Park or not, if you are someone that likes to take a humorous approach to social commentary and don’t mind a good dirty joke or two, you should definitely give this musical a chance next time you hear of it playing somewhere. Shows here in Greenville continue through the 16th but are already sold out. Hopefully you were listening earlier this month when I told you to buy tickets then!
Dave Galloway – fête mobile music man and writer