Tomorrow (Thursday, 24 Mar 2011), the musical “The Book of Mormon” opens on Broadway. Time magazine is involved in the hype. Richard Zoglin in a 2-page article provides an introduction:
The indecency police, if there are any left in New York City, might blanch at some of the cruder moments (which I will not repeat here) . . . but it is all packaged in such a buoyant, old-fashioned Broadway song-and-dance show that, once past the four-letter words, you might mistake this for a revival of “Oklahoma.”
(Trey) Parker and (Matt) Stone (the creators of TV’s “South Park”) have long been fascinated with Mormonism, which they first took on in the 1998 movie “Orgazmo,” about a Mormon missionary who becomes a porn star, and later in a 2003 “South Park” episode in which a Mormon family moves into the neighborhood and disarms everyone with its sheer niceness. Then, while making their 2004 puppet movie “Team America, World Police,” Parker and Stone went to see the musical “Avenue Q” and met the shows co-creator (Robert) Lopez . . . The three got together and began developing the musical in spurts, in between the six or seven months a year that Park and Stone were absorbed in “South Park.”
In truth, “The Book of Mormon” is less incendiary than an average episode of “South Park.” It focuses on a team of fresh-faces Mormon missionaries who are sent to Uganda to try to convert a band of villagers beset by poverty and pestilence. Though the show makes mild fun of the wackier elements of the Mormon creation story, . . . it steers clear of more hot-button issues associated with the religion, like polygamy.
Maureen Dowd in an op-ed piece in the NYT wrote the following about TBOM musical:
The rauchiness is offset by traditional tropes. There’s an odd-couple pairing of two 19-year-old missionaries, Elder Price, a golden goody-goody, and Elder Cunningham, a schlubby boy with a penchant for lying; and a cultural collision between white-bread missionaries and Ugandans plagued by AIDS, warlords, maggots and female genital mutilation.
“Africa is nothing like ‘The Lion King,'” a befuddled Price says. “I think that movie took a lot of artistic license.”
Cunningham manages to baptize a lovely young Ugandan named Nabalungi, but he keeps calling her Neosporin, Noxzema and Neutrogena.