The Book of Mormon, currently playing at the Bass Concert Hall through October 13, is the outlandish, not-for-everyone tale of two young Mormon boys as they take on their first mission to spread their faith and convert the native residents in…UGANDA? Well, Norway and France were already assigned. Not only are these freshly-minted missionaries in Uganda, but they are in an isolated colony of outcasts that are terrorized by a one-eyed warlord. Add to that…there are no doorbells to ring on the huts.
Representing the best of their class, Elder Price played by Mark Evans, and possibly the worst of their class, Elder Cunningham artfully played by Christopher John O’Neill, the two young men go to teach and preach and spread the Word according to The Book of Mormon. They join 10 other young men from the Church of Latter Day Saints who have yet to make their first conversion or complete their first baptism in this tiny Ugandan village. The pressure is on! High-ranking members of the church hierarchy are planning a visit to check on their progress.
Interspersed throughout the show are flashbacks to the early days of Mormon history including Joseph Smith’s visitation from a drawling Jesus and later Brigham Young’s mandate to go to U-TAH!
The storyline includes the usual, romantic interest in the character of the lovely young Nabulungi, but the thing that makes this show so entertaining is the SouthPark humor of Matt Stone and Trey Parker paired with the Avenue Q musical talent of Robert Lopez.
Yet underneath all the lampooning and laughter is the story of real people struggling with the questions that people of faith encounter. Especially the questions that poor people, sick people, forgotten people have.
It is hard not to urge everyone to go see this highly entertaining production, but in truth, it is not for everyone. If one is easily offended when it comes to religious matters, this is not the show for you. But, if you can step back and enjoy the humor of it all, you will enjoy your evening enormously.
Nominated for 14 Tony awards in 2011, the show won in 9 categories including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score. The touring production measures up to its professional standards! It is not a story that lends itself to spectacular costumes (come on, half the cast is in black pants and white short-sleeved shirts) and the sets are appropriate for the storyline although for some reason I especially enjoyed the Mormon Hell number.
The Book of Mormon runs through Sunday, October 13, 2013, at Bass Concert Hall. Performances are Thursday – Saturday at 8:00 pm and Sunday at 7:00 pm. Matinee performances are Saturday at 2:00 pm and Sunday at 1:00 pm. For tickets go to http://texasperformingarts.com.