the hungry one (horseling) wrote,
the hungry one

Just like Jesus, I'm growing a pair!

It's been about four months since I saw the Book of Mormon musical in Chicago and I'm still giggling at the jokes from the soundtrack. Written by the creators of South Park and Avenue Q, the show is a hilarious parody of Mormonism and somewhat of a love letter to religion in general. It touches on every comedic taboo possible (AIDS, cancer, female genital mutilation, rape, repressed homosexuality, bestiality, just to name a few) and has some of the filthiest language in stage history, but still manages to be light hearted, sweet and not at all mean-spirited, which is almost an impossible achievement when it comes to making fun of a religion. It really is testament (no pun intended) to the genius of Trey Parker, Matt Stone and Robert Lopez. The story basically follows two missionaries to war-torn Uganda where they try to convert the villagers who have more serious issues to attend to. One of the missionaries is Elder Price (played by the talented Nic Rouleau at our show), a good-looking but selfish young man who is devastated at not being sent to Orlando instead, and his partner is the hapless Elder Cunningham, whose character is originally written to be overweight and unattractive, but we were spared the fat-shaming jokes with the casting of Ben Platt, better known for his role in the movie Pitch Perfect as the goofy magician guy. They both earnestly explore the concepts of faith and doubt in their own individual ways and their mismatched pairing is an endearing story of friendship.

The music gives witty references to much loved classics like Annie, The Sound of Music, The Lion King and even The King And I. One of the Ugandan characters sings of her version of paradise in Sal Tlay Ka Siti which borrows from The Little Mermaid's Part of Your World and is simultaneously amusing and heart-wrenching. There's also a song about introversion called Turn It Off, in which the missionaries teach their "cool little Mormon trick" to someone struggling with unwanted feelings, complete with an adorable tap dance sequence. Being an introvert with an appreciation for tap, I found it particularly hilarious. :) The whole soundtrack is just so goddamn catchy. I can't wait to see the musical again if it ever comes to Australia! 9.5/10

A brief rundown on other Broadway shows we saw:
- Alan Menken's Newsies had a bunch of incredibly athletic dance routines by the mostly male cast that had me seriously wondering how they could sing live at the same time. I was pretty disappointed by Corey Cott who played the male lead as I really love Jeremy Jordan who originated the role (also seen in the TV series Smash)... but I was excited to see Evan Kasprzak, one of my favourites from So You Think You Can Dance, season five! 7.5/10

- Nice Work If You Can Get It is a 1920s pastiche with songs by George and Ira Gershwin, weaving songs like Someone To Watch Over Me and S'Wonderful into its screwball comedy. I'm not a fan of Matthew Broderick as a Broadway entertainer so I was glad that we got his understudy, Joey Sorge. It was super fun with great slapstick humour and songs with brilliant lyrics like these:

I studied all the rhymes that all lovers sing
Then just for you I wrote this little thing:
Blah blah blah blah moon
Blah blah blah above
Blah blah blah blah croon
Blah blah blah love


- Anything Goes is extremely similar to Nice Work, as both are based on material written by P.G. Wodehouse and Guy Bolton, and both directed/choreographed by Kathleen Marshall, but Anything Goes is set to music by Cole Porter. I'm not sure why but I thought it was pretty mediocre overall, and Jo and I cringed at the end over the jokes about Asians. The only standout was Rachel York playing the lead as Reno Sweeney and there were about 3 or 4 awesome ensemble tap sequences. Here's one of them, with Sutton Foster as the lead:

Tags: dance, music, musical theatre, stage, travel
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