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From Jacksonville Beach, FL

Monday, April 23, 2012

My take on "The Book of Mormon," the musical

   Shall I try to be cool and say that I enjoyed "The Book of Mormon" in NYC last weekend or shall I tell the truth.  It did win the 2011 Tony Award for Best Musical and has received rave reviews.  That is the reputation that put it at the top of my "must see" list on our New York 25th wedding anniversary trip.

   I knew that Trey Parker and Matt Stone creators of "South Park" wrote it, and that it would be off-beat and funky and it was, but I also thought it would have a measure of sophisticated satire.  It didn't.  As a matter of fact, the humor could perhaps best be called middle school.  I've read that the authors say the plot is an atheist's rant against all religion, but it seemed like a rant against Mormons.  I am not Mormon, but if I were I probably would have left the theater, except for the waste of our outrageously priced seats.

    It must be obvious, I was disappointed.  The F word was used so much it became ineffectual, but still the audience found its use funny.  I think perhaps my husband and I were too old, or I prefer to think too sophisticated, for the play's particular humor.  I didn't appreciate the dance with the oversized phalluses, simulated male sex on stage, or the distorted account of Mormon history.

     I just don't get it.  Why did this play receive the Tony for Best Musical.  The acting, singing, dancing were good.  The costumes and set were well-done.  But the musical aspect was lost in the silliness and profaneness of the plot.

    The plot did have a few redeeming qualities.  The nerdy, friendless Elder Cunningham found friendship and acceptance at the end of the play.  The Ugandans, the people who are the object of the Mormon's mission, tell of their troubles with aids, forced female circumcision, and hostile despotic rulers, all true issues of real Ugandans.  But spare me from hearing that a cure for aids is to f-word
a baby or a frog.  Pretty shocking for this old school teacher.

   In spite of my negative opinions, I'm not sorry I saw the play.  I like knowing exactly what it's all about.  If you see it, go in with a sense of fun and leave your sense of propriety out on the sidewalk.

Eugene O'Neill Theatre where "The Book of Mormon" is playing.



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