If there has been one statement we’ve gotten a little tired of hearing it’s been “you guys haven’t seen Book of Mormon yet??”. No, no we haven’t. And for no particular reason really. We had the money, we had the time since you had to buy the tickets about 6 months out, but we never got the motivation to just go buy them.
Then one day Val’s sister, who I think has never seen a musical in her life, got free tickets to see it in St Louis. Then it got to the point of “well if she’s seen it we have to go now!”. And I’m glad we did since I had just discovered the news that it was leaving Chicago soon. So I went to the box office and scored two balcony seats within the next month by not being too picky and Val and I would have to sit one behind the other (which actually, the people next to me never showed so the second half we got to sit together!)
Now, onto the actual show. Elder Price is usually played by Nic Rouleau, but like most matinees, we got the understudy of Stephen Mark Lukas. I don’t know of Rouleau and haven’t heard anything fantastic about him as the Elder, but Lukas was not fantastic. It took him a few beats to find the pitch. His voice didn’t make it through “I Believe”. And he was just dull. Now, that being said, having not seen Mormon before this could be how they all act (dull, not off pitch) but I could have cared less about the character.
So Elder Cunningham helps the show out. That’s how it is? The Elder Cunninghams in NYC and West End are usually the ones I hear about. And now look at Josh Gad on TV! In any case, this Cunningham was play by Ben Platt, who if you’re a music nerd like us, you’ll remember as the Star Wars nerd from the (amazingly funny) movie Pitch Perfect. He played Cunningham as a bit mentally challenged it seemed. He got a ton of laughs. His voice, also not strong, but still better than Lukas’. I think he did the character very well and it was nice to have someone that didn’t sound exactly like the original cast recording.
Now, having been listening to the cast recording for about two years now, and knowing every single line, I was set up for disappointment. But I wasn’t in the end. It didn’t blow me away at all, but it was one of the most highly entertaining shows I’ve ever seen. Seeing it finally in person was even funnier than listening to the recording or watching clips from the Tony Awards. The set was really detailed for a touring show, the costumes are basic though. One thing that we both enjoyed is that every character plays several minor characters in the show. I can only imagine the costume changes going on backstage during those times!
Though we weren’t impressed with Lucas, and I liked Platt while Val was meh about him, the one we both loved was the kid that played Elder McKinley, Pierce Cassedy. He lit up the stage as the closeted gay Elder. His singing was more decent than his cast mates. And all around with his dancing and acting skills, he was a delight to watch. Also, we want to now be BFF’s with him. I thought about asking when passing him in the theater hall with his Broadway Cares bucket.
I’m SO happy we finally saw this show. There is nothing like looking over on a Sunday at 2pm and seeing 70 year old people laughing at jokes about clits being cut off, maggots in scrotum and AIDS. It’s something I can’t imagine ever experiencing again. It’s not a show you come out feeling renewed in humanity or found you learned a valuable lesson. But in the end you laughed your ass off and it was worth it. Don’t go for amazing singing – go to have fun. Because I was crying several times and I know every word to the music in this show. They did a great job bringing these interesting characters to light for sure!