Theater Review: "The Book of Mormon" On Broadway
Determined to see what all the fuss was about, this intrepid critic camped out on the sidewalk of 48th St., outside the Eugene O’Neill Theatre, for eight-and-a-half hours to get a standing-room-only ticket (the only kind available!). The show follows missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints as they go on a mission to convert the people of a remote northern Ugandan city and the difficulties they encounter along the way.
"Book of Mormon" does not disappoint. While it is definitely not a perfect show, it's incredibly funny and fantastically performed. Andrew Rannell is particularly stellar as the painfully wholesome protagonist, Elder Price. He is a delight to watch whenever he is on stage, even (and perhaps particularly) when his character is not supposed to be the primary focus. Likewise, Josh Gad is very funny as Price’s foil, Elder Cunningham. Michael James Scott is also quite entertaining as the village doctor who perennially has an obscene affliction, along with the similarly obscene-but-amusing Brian Tyree-Henry as General Butt-Fucking Naked.
The score is catchiest at its most offensive, particularly the jubilant expression of divine dissatisfaction, “Hasa Diga Eebowai.” Musical allusions are also rampant, running the gamut from "The Music Man" to "Annie" to "Wicked" and more.
Unfortunately, the second half of the first act is not up to par with the rest of the show. Also, the book doesn’t really seem to know what it’s doing at times, especially in the second act. However, these flaws are almost refreshing — they keep the show from being aggravatingly perfect.
The show is exceedingly entertaining and funny, and numbers like “I Believe” and “Joseph Smith American Moses” are almost painful in how much laughter they cause. The show is extremely enjoyable and deserving of at least most of the hype.
Reach staff reporter Katie Buenneke here.
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