By Mary Boyle
Back in 1997, a raunchy but hilarious animated show for adults aired on Comedy Central. Created by a couple of fellows from Colorado, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, South Park is now in its 21st season. Obviously, the duo knows how to write comedy. Perhaps it's no surprise, then, that their Broadway musical, which opened in 2011 and was co-written with Robert Lopez of Avenue Q fame, won 9 Tony awards and has gone on to become one of the most successful musicals of all time. Now, The Book of Mormon returns to Milwaukee after a record-breaking week in 2016, courtesy of the Broadway at the Marcus Center Series.
Directed by Casey Nicholaw and Trey Parker, The Book of Mormon follows Elder Price (Liam Tobin) and Elder Cunningham (Conner Peirson), beginning with their graduation from Missionary Training School. Elder Price, a handsome and competent young man, is certain he will be assigned to his dream city, Orlando, with another competent companion and will go on to do great things; instead, he is saddled with Cunningham, a short, dumpy oddball of a Mormon who is happy to be a follower, and the two are sent to a war-torn, AIDS-ridden, poverty-stricken village in Uganda. Neither are prepared for the type of conditions that await them.
Much like South Park, The Book of Mormon is shocking, dirty, and laced with the F-word; however, if you can make it through all of that, there is actually some substance to the story. Though it seems that the musical is just making fun of Mormons (and, to be fair, it is), all comedy must have an element of truth and heart to make it work, and this one does. Combine that with a perfectly cast and incredibly talented group of performers, and you've got yourself a credible musical, no matter how many F-bombs you drop.
The Book of Mormon runs through January 6th at the Marcus Center for Performing Arts Uihlein Hall, located at 929 N. Water St. in Milwaukee. Tickets may be purchased by calling 414.273.7206, or online at: https://www.marcuscenter.org/show/the-book-of-mormon-2019/
The 2018/19 Broadway at the Marcus series has an exciting lineup! Join them for Fiddler on the Roof, Phantom of the Opera, The King and I, Come From Away, and Anastasia.