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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 8, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 02
Hello! The Book of Mormon is back!
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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Hello! The Book of Mormon is back!

by Eric Andrews-Katz - SGN A&E Writer

THE BOOK OF MORMON
PARAMOUNT THEATRE
Through January 10


The Book of Mormon has broken records with its sell-out box office receipts. In the almost five years since its Broadway debut, the show has played worldwide. From the authors of 'South Park' (Trey Parker and Matt Stone) and the co-creator of Avenue Q and the hit song, 'Frozen' (Robert Lopez), the show has become a smash hit, and for very good reasons.

The story is not difficult to follow. A set of new Mormon trainees are teamed together and sent on their mission to Uganda. Elder Price is clean cut, with a brilliant smile, the pride and joy of Mormon missionary, and dreams of going to one place - Orlando, Florida. Elder Cunningham is sloppy, easily excitable, challenged in accomplishments, and lacks all forms of self-esteem. He is also prone to massive exaggeration. The unlikely pair is sent together to convert the people of Uganda to Mormonism. Upon their arrival in Africa a drug lord steals their luggage and they witness the challenges of African life. They are introduced to the villagers including a beautiful girl named Nabulungi. When visitors come from the Mission to see how the conversion is going, they are shocked to learn of the progress and just how much the villagers have been taught.

Billy Harrigan Tighe plays Elder Price. He is perfectly cast as the clean-cut, idealistic Mormon missionary anxious to show his faith by converting others to it. His face must ache from having a smile pasted on it for so long. His voice is clear and powerful, which is needed when he delivers the key songs of the night. His energy is exuberant and he performs with quick precision.

The talented A.J. Holmes plays Elder Cunningham. He portrays the awkwardness of the bumbling missionary extremely well in an above and beyond way. His timing is exact. His expressions are precise. His energy is over the top, and his laugh (both nervous and humorous) is highly contagious. Consistently, and purposely, confusing the girl's name, Elder Cunningham improvises any name even remotely close to Nabulungi - and quite a few that aren't for very humorous results.

The talented Alexandra Ncube plays Nabulungi. As talented as she is beautiful, this woman's voice easily soars. Her timing is on queue and she brings freshness to the naiveté of her character in wanting something more, and trusting the creativity of Elder Cunningham to find it.

Every member of the ensemble is perfectly fit. The other Mormon missionaries are clean cut, enthusiastic modern version of the Lost Boys, looking to Elder Cunningham to be their Peter Pan. The villagers show their individuality by giving their characters personality with facial expressions, tones of voices, and attitudes in their movements.

The Book of Mormon is far from being a preachy musical. While it never says anything against the religious doctrines, it exemplifies and exaggerates points that are usually taken on faith and not necessarily historical fact. Evidently, it is taken as good-natured ribbing since the musical continues to sell out wherever it plays, including Salt Lake City. The Book of Mormon is everything you have heard it to be; it's offensive, vulgar, crude, loaded with foul language, irreverent, and guaranteed to make you laugh.



The Book of Mormon opened on Broadway February 24, 2011, and is currently running to sold-out performances. While tickets are not nearly as difficult to get as they once were, many theaters (including Seattle's Paramount) are holding raffles for last minute ticket buyers to purchase seats. The Book of Mormon was originally nominated for 14 Tony Awards in 2011. The musical won nine, including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, and Best Original Score. In 2012, the soundtrack CD won a Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album.

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