Musical Review "The Book of Mormon" in Chicago

My birthday surprise gift from my lovely husband was two tickets to “The Book of Mormon.” The musical was created by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, and Matt Stone. They are famously known for creating the TV show, “South Park.”

The story was about two young Mormon missionaries being sent to a village in Uganda from Salt Lake City. Elder Price wanted to go Orlando, FL— he thinks that Orlando is the most wonderful place, like an Earthly version of Paradise—and does not like his clumsy partner, Elder Cunningham. When they joined a team in Uganda, they found out that the team had not baptized any single local villager yet. While Elder Price got frustrated and tried to leave, Elder Cunningham got nervous and made up some of his own passages to relate the book to the locals (who believe having sex with a virgin cures AIDS), like “Do not fuck babies, fuck frogs instead”. Meanwhile, Elder Price has a nightmare with Hitler and the Devil dancing while Jeffrey Dahmer fucks his father. Without giving away the ending, the conflict involves following a Church’s rules to the letter versus the universal message of helping people be happy and living well with each other.

“Hello!” that is the point! 

The musical was funny. All of the jokes are contemporary and witty, working with ethnic stereotypes, sexual innuendo, and religious values and their place in an organized institution. I especially loved the actors’ voices and rhythmical tap dancing. Camille Eanga-Senenge, who played Nabulungi, a.k.a. Neosporin, Necrophilia, Nala Nala, etc…, was very fresh and charming. She was so pretty in her green dress. (I wanted to see her with a bit more sparkles on her dress at the end of Act 1, though) Ben Platt, Elder Cunningham, was smooth and comical just like Jonah Hill. His voice was unforgettable. I personally liked Pierce Cassedy who played Elder McKinley, as a super cute gay guy with his pretty pink suitcase. I cannot turn it off  (thinking of those actors). My husband especially enjoyed the Ugandan villagers and militia general in the yellow boots (General Butt Fucking Naked) as colorful characters with the most shocking lines.

However, I could not concentrate too much in the beginning because of the music. The music was like “Wicked” meets “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “The Little Mermaid.” The plot and story is so unique and original, but I felt like I already heard the music phrases and harmonies before. Maybe my brain had a problem; however, I could imagine that Elphaba flew in front of me several times. I read that the directors spent seven years creating this musical. The lyrics were composed as super funny like “Hello, I’m Jesus!” and “Hasa Diga Eebowai.” But I would like to ask why they allowed their music to not be as contemporary as their writing.

I love musicals. Always musicals inspire me to be a better artist; however, I am really, really sad to say, “The Book of Mormon” was a huge disappointment for the music. Maybe it is the director’s sense of humor to use “Wicked” like music, but we spent a fortune to see the most exciting new entertainment in the 21th century. How can my brain process the funny lyrics when I’m reminded of a serious Wicked theme?

I am thinking to see “The Book of Mormon” again because I love the actors, orchestra, and story. Also the tickets are available until September in Chicago. After the evil cups of Starbucks walking into a Spooky Mormon Hell Dream, I may be able to enjoy the musical more. I just hope not to worship it enough to later find a Book of Mormon in my ass.

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