Hands-down the most highly anticipated Broadway show this year, Book of Mormon has at last made its Twin Cities premiere with its official opening performance at the Orpheum Theatre Wednesday evening. A 9-time Tony Award winner including Best Musical, Book of Mormon tells the story of Elders Price and Cunningham as they embark on their 2-year mission to convert Ugandans to Mormonism.
Written by the creators of South Park Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the show is every bit as offensive and hilarious as expected – in fact, I’d even say it over-delivers on cringe-worthy comedy. If you’ve ever thought South Park toed the line of decency, just remember that it still has to meet FCC standards for TV while in the world of musical theater, Parker and Stone had complete creative freedom. To say the content is intended for mature audiences is putting it lightly; in my opinion that isn’t a bad thing, but sticklers of political correctness may see it differently.
But the thing is, Book of Mormon isn’t a flat, over-done comedic production relying solely on shock value to entertain. At its core, it’s a well-told story centered around themes that we can all identify with: faith, friendship, and trust. Surrounding that is truly toe-tappingly good music and wonderfully choreographed dance numbers. The costume design doesn’t give you much to look at, but that’s to be expected given the context (my friend Megan told me she was recently riding the bus with a few Mormons who were dressed exactly like the cast).
The Book of Mormon First National Tour Company / Photo credit: Joan Marcus, 2013
I’m clearly a big musical theater geek, but I promise you even those who are non-theater goers will thoroughly enjoy the show. I know this because I strong-armed my husband into attending with me despite his complete lack of interest in musicals, and from the corner of my eye I could see him smiling and laughing in spite of himself.
Sadly, Book of Mormon is only in Minneapolis through Sunday, February 16th before heading to St. Louis to look for new converts. Due to extremely high demand, all performances are nearly sold out. If you want to try your luck at getting tickets, a pre-show lottery will be held at the Orpheum Theatre prior to every performance for $25 per ticket. Check out the full lottery details here. It’s absolutely worth grabbing a buddy, throwing your names in and crossing your fingers. If you’re one of the lucky chosen ones you’ll get to see the hottest show to hit Minneapolis this year for a song and laugh non-stop for 2.5 hours; if sadly you don’t get chosen you can enjoy a lovely evening downtown enjoying drinks or a delicious dinner at one of the many restaurants nearby – then you can try again for the next performance. I’d call it a win-win.