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Tuesday, February 25, 2020

The Book of Mormon ROCKS..

Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone's The Book of Mormon has been around for a long time.  If the energy disseminated by the bus and truck company now at The Ahmanson through March 29, 2020 could be captured, it might light up The City of Los Angeles for days.  Directed by Parker (remember South Park and Team America: World Police?) and Casey Nicolaw with spectacular choreography by Nicolaw, at rise, the audience is blasted with Heavenly Light to reveal the origins of the Mormon Church. Pow!
 
Accepting the idea that Jesus (blonde and beatific, but not credited in the program) came to the North American continent in ancient days and left a record of his visit is 'gospel' to the Mormons. They are duty bound to convert the planet to share their joy. Meet the Elders, specifically Gordon Matthew Brown  and Liam Tobin as Elders Cunningham and Price whose luck of the draw deports them on their Mormon mission to Uganda!
 Jordan Matthew Brown, Alyah Chanelle Scott and Liam Tobin Photo by Julieta Cervantes
Research reveals that every superlative in the English language has been written to describe this show. It's also  Profane. Uncouth. Perverse and Perverted. Every bad word you were instructed never to  utter? All get uttered! Wonderfully staged and surprisingly not the total put down of the LDS church that one might expect, all of the honors that this show has collected from Broadway to Timbuktu.. around the world (did it play in Uganda?) are well deserved. 
It's Fan effing tastic!

Meeting the rural Ugandans we are taught that when adversity strikes, there's a song to sing that makes everything all better! 
These Ugandans  simply throw their hands up to the sky and shout

"HASA DIGA EEBOWAI!" 
Seeing The Book of Mormon will reveal why this phrase holds so much power.  

Superlatives and hyperbole have not been my style in the many reviews I've written over time. All the hype for The Book of Mormon had me reluctant to find brilliance in it,  but from first blush where we meet Mormon (Steven Telsey), Moroni (Andy Huntington Jones) and Joseph Smith (Ron Bohmer), it's a romp! A joy filled extravaganza!  

Tobin as Elder Price is a ringer for "Toy Story's"  Cowboy Woody while his mission partner, Brown as Elder Cunningham brings a touch of Olaf from "Frozen" with his unbridled optimism. Cunningham's arc from prevaricating dingbat to somewhat eventual maturity saves the day.  The ensemble cast doubles, triples and takes on dozens of other personas as the tale of the Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints unfolds.  Scott Pask's incredible scenic design is hampered a bit by the Ahmanson's huge speaker system above the proscenium, but no matter as the show unfolds.  

The Book of Mormon is a show that one may opt to see again and again regardless of what your religious beliefs might be.  
Biting satire? Yes! 
Guilty laughs? You bet!
For sure, it ain't Hakuna Matata!
  Hasa Diga Eebowai!

THE BOOK OF MORMON 
by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone

The Ahmanson Theatre
Tuesday through Friday at 8 p.m.  
Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m. 
 Sunday at 1 and 6:30 p.m.  
No Monday performances  
Added 2 p.m. performance on Thursday, March 26.   
Tickets and information:
www.centertheatergroup.org
 


 

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