The Book of Mormon (National Tour)
From the creators of South Park comes an outrageous, offensive and all-together heartwarming musical that is not to be missed!
In The Book of Mormon, Elder Price – the golden boy of Mormon missionaries – is preparing to be sent on his two-year mission, a long-standing tradition of his faith. He excitedly tells the other young men that he has been praying to be placed in his favorite place in the world – Orlando, home to SeaWorld and Disney. The other elders assure Price that if he has prayed for it, they are confident Heavenly Father will make it happen. After all, Price is clearly one of Heavenly Father’s favorites.
But much to Price’s chagrin, he is partnered with the bumbling Elder Cunningham and sent to Uganda. Cunningham, a good-hearted nerd with a penchant for embellishing the truth, is optimistic about the location, which he enthuses will be “like Lion King!” Price simply comforts himself with the fact that he knows he will do something incredible. Maybe with the help of Cunningham, but mostly on his own. However, when the two arrive, any hope for an easy, fun mission is quickly dashed when they are immediately robbed at gunpoint by the general who controls the area.
Shaken, but undeterred, the missionaries meet the other Latter Day Saints who have been working in Uganda, and discover that they have not seen a single person convert to the Mormon faith. Convinced he can succeed where others have failed, Price meets with the local villagers and tells them the story of Joseph Smith, whom he refers to as the “All-American Prophet.” The locals are unimpressed with the tale – and turned-off by Price’s arrogance – and make their disinterest clear.
Discouraged by the less-than-friendly response, Price requests a transfer to Orlando and abruptly drops Cunningham as his mission partner, despite the nerd’s fervent insistence that he would follow Price anywhere. Cunningham is heartbroken by the betrayal, but soon recommits himself to the mission in Uganda when one of the villagers, a young woman named Nabulungi, approaches him and asks to learn more about the Mormon faith.
When Cunningham eagerly meets with Nabulungi and a handful of other interested villagers, he realizes a small problem – he has never actually read the Book of Mormon. When his listeners grow bored with his attempts, which do not seem to address any of the problems they face in their daily life, the young missionary panics. Cunningham begins to embellish the small amount of Mormon doctrine he does know by adding some of his favorite science fiction characters, settings and plotlines, such as Boba Fett from Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings region of Mordor. To his surprise, the villagers respond well to the stories and Nabulungi expresses a desire to be baptised.
Price, meanwhile, has a “spooky Mormon hell dream” that awakens him to his own cowardice and lack of trust in the Lord’s plan. He recommits himself to the mission in Uganda and returns to his partner. When Cunningham triumphantly tells the group that 10 of the villagers are interested in converting to the Mormon faith, Price decides to prove himself by taking on the general, who strongly opposes any attempts to convert the people living in the area he controls.
Though Price is unsuccessful – he is shown having a copy of the Book of Mormon removed from his rectum where the general literally shoved it – Cunningham is still able to baptize Nabulungi and the others into their new faith.
In recognition of the duo’s success, the Mission President and other important members of the church make a visit to Uganda, where they praise Price and Cunningham as the most effective missionaries in all of Africa. During the visit, Nabulungi and the other Ugandans arrive, and ask if they can perform a skit about John Smith and the origin of the Mormon church. The visitors are initially delighted, but their pleasure quickly turns to horror. The performance is based on Cunningham’s embellished doctrine, which includes AIDS, genital mutilation and science fiction characters.
The Mission President states that the new converts are not true Mormons, and declares the mission will be shut down and all the elders sent home. A crushed Nabulungi tells the other villagers that Cunningham was eaten by a wild animal and sadly admits the stories were not true. To her surprise, the others say they always knew the tales were metaphors and not literal truth.
After this revelation, Price and Cunningham return to the village to drive off the general, who they threaten to turn into a lesbian through the power of Christ. Though their mission has been terminated, the two stay in Uganda to rally the other missionaries and villagers and create their own “paradise planet” on earth and further the message of the Latter Day Saints.
The Book of Mormon opened on Broadway in March 2011, where it earned 13 Tony Award nominations and won nine, including the honor for Best Musical.
“When The Book of Mormon premiered on Broadway in 2011, it both shocked and dazzled audiences with its irreverence, profanity and spectacular song-and-dance numbers. Five years later, the Tony-winning religious satire is showing no signs of slowing down… It’s actually quite sweet for a show with more uses of the F, C and other blue words than I’ve ever heard onstage.” – The San Diego Union-Tribune
“It is hard to imagine a more appropriate choice for the role of Elder Cunningham than this production’s Cody Jamison Strand… Strand (the sixth person, between Broadway and touring productions, to have played the role) was letter-perfect. He used vocal inflections, body movement and comic timing in service to a remarkably nuanced performance that had his audience in the palm of his hand from the opening scenes to the final curtain. Larsen (also the sixth person to play the role) was exceptional, as well, in service to a role that had much less to offer. There is, I contend, only so much a man can do with the standard ‘handsome male lead’ role.” – Onstage Blog
“…this production proves this ecstatic take on the sacred and the profane has legs. And its white-shirted, faith-dealing fellas aren’t afraid to kick ’em high, Rockette-style.” – Denver Post
What could justify the torrent of praise and awards this show has received? Let’s see: It’s a delirious mishmash of opposites. Mormon satirizes organized religion (not just the Mormon Church) and its rules but not the people who practice it. It pokes fun at the American musical even as it glorifies it. It explores the dichotomy of faith and doubt. But mainly it just makes you laugh.” – Atlanta INtown
“There’s no more palatable history lesson than one delivered in a musical. The Book of Mormon is an irreverent tutorial on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, delivered through witty lyrics, luscious scenery and upbeat music that belies the dark heart of the human condition.” – The Charlotte Observer