Book of Mormon: December 28, 2014 (matinee), Walt Disney Theater @ Dr. Phillips Center

posted by Jeff | Monday, December 29, 2014, 2:34 PM | comments: 0

We finally managed to see Book of Mormon, and it was every bit as hilarious and vulgar as I hoped. Diana worked the show last week (and will at least once this week), but we finally got out together to sit down, as guests, and see something.

Despite the rave reviews, I was admittedly a little uncomfortable about a musical that made fun of any particular religion (and seriously, have you ever met any Mormons who weren't wonderfully polite people?), but it wasn't quite what I expected in that regard. Yes, they take some hard stabs at Mormon missionaries, and some slightly less sharp jabs at the religion, but I think it's more of an indictment of organized religion in the general sense, and the dogma that is piled up on it with its institutions. At the same time, I think it makes a case for religion in the general sense because it can provide people with hope and purpose regardless of what it is. Mind you, it's not always a very good purpose, but it's not without merit. That was unexpected from the guys who regularly tear Scientology a new asshole.

In between the non-subtle social commentary, the show is filled with potty humor and F-bombs. I'm amazed that it manages to walk the line of shock value but doesn't really go over it (though keep in mind that I'm not easily shocked by language or crude sex jokes). There comes a point where it's so absurd that it can't help but be funny. If this kind of thing ever stops being funny to me, it's game over, life got too serious.

If it weren't for the South Park movie, you would wonder how the hell something like this came from the same guys. Like Family Guy Seth MacFarlane, apparently many comic geniuses are also masters of musical theater. This is no exception. All of the things that you like about musicals are found in this show, interspersed with characters like General Butt Fucking Naked.

Oh, I don't have to tell you how well the Orlando jokes played to this particular crowd.

The cast was completely amazing, end to end. There wasn't a weak person in the entire show. The three leads in particular were so good, and surprisingly young. We were especially impressed with the female lead, Denee Benton, who happens to be a local making it into a big tour right out of college. She's got the pipes, the stage presence and she's strikingly beautiful. Nothing is more awesome than watching someone so young be that good at anything.

The theater tech geek in me was also super interested in how much automated lighting has changed the art-science of theatrical lighting. It's amazing how much you can do with so little now, something I noticed with Phantom a couple of weeks ago. Comparing the plot they use for a show today compared to what we had to hang for traveling shows, even simple ones, in college, is mind boggling. I wish I was still doing it for a community theater or something.

And yes, I smile every time I get to be in that building. What a remarkable and special place we have here, in the heart of downtown no less. I'm jealous that Diana gets to be there at least once a week.


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