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‘The Book of Mormon’: A heaven-sent satire

Photo: Courtesy Photos, License: N/A

Courtesy Photos

Mark Evans leads a merry band of Elders

Photo: , License: N/A

Christopher John O’Neill tells it like it ain’t


Production values for this touring version are strong, and the designers consistently reinforce the show’s go-for-broke internal logic. At first, Ann Roth’s costumes appear shamelessly plagiarized from a certain Broadway blockbuster, as a bright, splashy headdress ushers us into the fanciful universe of The Lion King. But this just sets up Scott Pask’s nasty scenic surprise: his Ugandan village is no Disneyland, but a blasted shantytown even Donny Osmond couldn’t save, however Technicolor his Dreamcoat. Casey Nicholaw doubles as choreographer and co-director—with plenty of jabs at the Pollyanna musicals of the American and British stage—while Christopher John O’Neill consistently steals his scenes as the increasingly desperate Elder Cunningham. (O’Neill’s singing voice is a bit rough, however.) I first saw The Book of Mormon on Broadway, and wondered if such an exuberantly offensive show could possibly survive a tour to heartland America. But its nine Tony awards—including one for Best Musical—obviously helped to secure backers. The couple in front of me sat stone-faced the entire evening—I mean, shit, they didn’t even crack a smile when Hobbits showed up! Hobbits!—but the vast majority of Majestic patrons were rolling in the aisles. I’m not sure that The Book of Mormon will ultimately spawn profound discussions about the value of religious faith in America, but perhaps it’s enough to get us thinking about what sorts of stories are worth believing in, and at what price to others and ourselves. And after all, isn’t cheering on The Book of Mormon, The Musical, what Jesus would do? Two thumbs way, way up.

Ed. Note: While tickets appear to be selling fast for these performances, there’s a day-of $25 ticket lottery in effect for The Book of Mormon. To be eligible, show up at the Majestic box office two-and-a-half hours in advance of show to enter your name (limit two tickets per person). Entries will be selected at random two hours before curtain and each $25 ticket is good for one orchestra-level seat. Winners must be present with valid ID and cash at time of drawing.

The Book of Mormon

$25-$155.65
Wed-Thu 7:30pm; Fri 8pm;
Sat 2pm, 8pm; Sun 2pm, 7:30pm
Majestic Theatre
224 E Houston
(210) 226-3333
majesticempire.com
Through Sept 29

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