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138 of 146 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing short of miraculous!
How often does a truly original musical succeed on Broadway? Most shows are either based on familiar stories, revivals of old shows, or "jukebox theater" like Mama Mia or Jersey Boys. Somehow, Parker, Stone and Lopez pushed this unlikely concept through, and the result is nothing short of miraculous.

I saw the show on Broadway and loved it, but the music was...
Published on May 25, 2011 by EJon

versus
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I Feel Terrible For Enjoying It
When they say explicit, they mean it. No, really. Some of the songs physically made me cringe because of the vulgarity. The bad part is, this show is actually pretty hilarious. And Josh Gad is just plain funny.

Skip "Hasa Diga Eebowai," "Making Things Up Again," and "Joseph Smith American Moses" and you'll avoid most of the bad stuff...
Published 6 months ago by G. M.


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138 of 146 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing short of miraculous!, May 25, 2011
How often does a truly original musical succeed on Broadway? Most shows are either based on familiar stories, revivals of old shows, or "jukebox theater" like Mama Mia or Jersey Boys. Somehow, Parker, Stone and Lopez pushed this unlikely concept through, and the result is nothing short of miraculous.

I saw the show on Broadway and loved it, but the music was so tightly integrated into the story that I wasn't sure if would stand on its own. Rest assured, however, that it does. I have a number of other cast albums, and even from musicals I really liked, there are always a few tracks that I merely tolerate - or skip over - to get to my favorites, but in this show, *all* the songs are gems. OK, "I am Africa" is pretty cheesy, but that's the point; it's supposed to be, and like everything else they do it really well.

Right up front, let me warn you: the show and the music are *very* profane and *very* blasphemous. If you know Parker and Stone, you know they pull no punches and take no prisoners. If those things bother you - at all - you will probably hate this album. Otherwise, you will see that, just like South Park, behind the satire and cynicism, there's joy, innocence, and (to use the word so many reviewers have used) "sweetness". There's also a genuine affection for Mormons. They get a lot of mileage out of Mormon dogma and practices, but are never really mean about it - and they have all their facts straight. The heroes are, and remain, Latter Day Saints (and it's worth noting that they are never themselves profane or blasphemous). it wouldn't shock me if this ends up increasing, rather than decreasing, interest in the Mormon faith.

How can songs as satirical and crude as these still manage to pull your heart strings and sometimes even bring a tear to your eye? Seriously, getting misty over Salt Lake City - eh, I mean "Sal Tlay Ka Siti"? Who else could pull that off?

The surprising thing is that at heart, it's a very traditional, by the numbers musical. Except for the novelty, there are no gimmicks. It's got big show tunes, traditional choreography, and a simple, even insipid plot. One might even call it an homage of sorts, because there are nods to lots of other musicals in there - most obviously Lion King, but plenty of others, too. In some ways, this is the biggest triumph of the show. While others are convinced you have to, oh I don't know, drop actors from webs to entertain audiences, these guys prove that good music, good humor, and classic feel good message will send them home happy.
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190 of 210 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mormon and loving it more every day., June 9, 2011
I am a Mormon. I served an LDS mission to NYC, am still active in the church and I love this musical.

Don't think that I represent the church (or even many of the members). Yes, this is full of offensive things and dirty language, but you were expecting that, weren't you? They take some liberties with the beliefs of the LDS faith, but in general, these are things we believe (they did get the facts right for the song 'I Believe' at least).

And at least the music agrees with the official Church statement in one respect: "This is the most amazing book; you won't believe how much it will change your life." Though they do poke fun at the religion, they somehow do it respectfully. Don't forget, they say some very offensive things, but I think those shots are aimed to offend everyone, not just Mormons. That distinction is where the magic lies. I explained the plot to my extremely devout grandmother and even she had a chuckle. However, I wouldn't recommend that she listen to it because, as stated, it is explicit!

So down to the music: this is hands-down one of the best scores ever written. Forget Phantom. Hasa Diga Les Miserables. If you have an ear for catchy music and are familiar with the South Park crew, do yourself a favor and get this album.
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51 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Joseph Smith, Hobbits, Boba Fett and Johnny Cochran all in one place? Heaven is real, and I'm already there., May 25, 2011
I grew up in a Mormon family, so I'm familiar with all the quirky beliefs being poked fun at here. Some of these beliefs in people close to me anger me deeply and often (I'm no longer Mormon--I failed to "Just Believe"), but I also admire the inherent goodness and humility in most Mormons. Sometimes these conflicting emotions over the colossal institution are hard to reconcile. THIS is the most effective reconciliation I have ever found. It speaks to me so deeply, because I find all religious belief absurd, easily exploited by scoundrels, and psychologically damaging to people with low self-esteems; but I also must admit that the majority of Mormons I know (and I know a lot of them) are good, focused, well-meaning people whom I would trust my life to sooner than most others.

Anyway, this is incredible. It hits exactly the right points so often that anyone who gets it will realize how valuable it is and embrace it as an olive branch between the devout and the embittered. In my experience, it is always good to laugh at your own naivete (the Ugandans in this musical are just as naive as the missionaries, which illustrates the depth of the material and message--we all misunderstand each other, and we all have unrealistic expectations, but everything tends to work out if we love and care for each other...and little white lies are sometimes necessary to bridge gaps in translation).

Thank you, Matt & Trey (& Avenue Q guy). I liked you guys before, but now I love you.
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65 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most exciting Broadway 2011 recording! ... but not for the faint of heart!, May 20, 2011
If you are generally offended by Southpark or Team America, or had no desire to see them, then I would imagine you won't like this either. But shouldn't that be obvious????

There is a lot here for people who are more Broadway then Southpark fans too though, especially all the little homages to other musicals throughout (Wicked progressions in 'you and me', 'Hasa Diga' - Lion King, and 'I Believe' parodies Sound of Music.) About 1/2 the soundtrack is highly addictive and will stick in your head - careful singing some of those lyrics in public though! The rest is enjoyable, but the highlights for me are the first five songs and I Believe.

You also have to have a sense of humor about religion in general to appreciate the musical, but I can say as a rather liberal Christian I didn't find it offensive - but you need to have an open mind. Overall, especially having seen the actual show, the show is quite good hearted about religion and although it pokes fun at Mormonism I didn't find it to be mean spirited.

For the one star reviewers... why are you seeking out something you are predisposed to find offensive? If you don't like it.... Turn it off, like a light switch... or put it in a box and CRUSH IT! ;)
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50 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, May 17, 2011
By 
Michael Anderson (Nampa, ID United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
So as an Active Mormon I have to say I Love this! The Jibes at my religon aren't Vicvious and the missionaries are shown as good people. I find the ballad "I beileve" very moving and touching at the end. Dont worry South Park fans theres plently Crass and dirty jokes in here. (see Hasa Diega Eewobi) While I haven't seen the production yet this cast recording is quickly becoming my favortie.
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37 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Jab followed by a hug!, May 26, 2011
Amazing is the word I will use. This sound track is amazing. The best way I can describe the humor in this, is that it is a jab quickly followed by a hug. As an Ex-Mormon Missionary (who is also gay), I appreciated the humor, and the appreciation for the mythos of the religion.

Amazing all around.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly Brilliant, May 27, 2011
By 
I really didn't have too high of expectations coming into this production; all I really knew beforehand was that this was the cast recording of a musical based on The Book of Mormon that the creators of South Park were involved with. I had mixed initial thoughts as, while I think South Park has some incredible writing and is a brilliant social satire, I never really cared for most of the musical interludes included and assumed this would be along the same lines (and I also recently watched `Cannibal! The Musical' which lowered my expectations even more). But after listening to this in its entirety I was completely blown away, and even began searching the internet for tickets immediately afterwards (I haven't seen the production yet but I'd love to and will definitely see it eventually).

The writing, the singing, the characters, the story, and the theme overall is absolutely brilliant. From some initial feedback I heard I thought that this production could be a bit juvenile, like some sort of vaguely masked attack against Mormonism / religion in general, but I was incredibly surprised when I found the complete opposite to be true. Yes, there are scenes that poke fun of some of the more questionable aspects of Mormonism, but these same hard-to-really-believable facts are present in all religions, which ends up strengthening the theme with universal appeal. And instead of focusing the theme squarely on the trivial oddities of Mormonism, the play actually focuses on the deeper meaning of religion in general, of how the important meaning isn't in the technical details (like how Joseph Smith received the gold tablets, etc.) but instead how religion can be used as a powerful tool to bring people together, give people hope and contribute to a positive outlook when life seems overwhelming.

Therefore, I'm really (well, I guess not really, unfortunately) surprised by the number of people that have taken offense to this production. It does contain coarse language and vulgar content at times, but never in any way that's unfair, adversarial, or mean-spirited. But for those who were offended, I mean, what did you really expect? Did you think that this was actually a serious documentary based on Mormonism? Did you overlook the explicit content advisory on the CD cover? And if you saw the play, did you really throw down at least three hundred dollars a ticket to attend a show you knew nothing about? Going back to the earlier South Park reference, I guess that would be fair analogy for the level of offensiveness: if South Park offends you then this will probably offend you as well.

But if you take this in with an open mind, you'll really see that this play has a huge heart and actually manages to create a beautiful, positive examination of religion in general, all while being extremely hilarious and uncompromising in its focus; truly an impressive feat, highly recommended.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Mormon on The Book of Mormon, June 27, 2011
By 
Daywriter (CA, United States) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Book of Mormon (Audio CD)
As a card-carrying, current and lifelong Mormon, returned missionary, and musical theater lover, I love this show! I should say I love the cast recording and look forward to seeing the show. (Make sure you buy the MP3 album with [+Digital Booklet] in the title for photos, story synopsis, and lyrics.)

This is the most sacrilegious and yet spiritually moving musical I have ever experienced. It is wildly creative, brilliant, and hilarious. I kept laughing so hard I was choking with tears running down my face. I wonder if someone who isn't a longtime Mormon and hasn't been a missionary could possibly find this as funny as I did, but I can see this entertaining both Mormons and "Gentiles" ;-D alike.

No, I won't be listening to this with my kids for Family Home Evening. It's not for kids, unless you want to explain how the Mormon missionaries in the show, who are serving in Uganda, respond to such genuine Third World horrors as female genital mutilation, raping babies (since older virgins are getting hard to find) as a "cure" for AIDS, and the villagers giving themselves dysentery by contaminating their own drinking water. But by golly, these guys are there to do good, and they do good, one way or another.

It isn't the deliberately shocking and offensive vulgarity of "Hasa Diga Eebowai" ("FU God") or "Joseph Smith American Moses" that's so funny. The extremities of the in-your-face, envelope-pushing profanity made me queasy. They're obviously trying to make darn good and sure even semi-strait-laced folks are appalled. I respect artistic freedom, but I wish the creators had respected the sensibilities of decent, believing listeners, of any religion, a little more. At least it's the natives, not the missionaries, who are flirting with lightning strikes! In spite of the vulgarity, it's the whole show that's priceless.

Now, just like an uptight Catholic is not going to like Nunsense, an uptight Mormon is not going to like The Book of Mormon. There's a bit of artistic license taken with Mormon beliefs, but at least the affectionate ridicule is fairly accurate. If you're struggling to "just believe," then maybe this isn't the musical for you. On the other hand, if you have thoughtfully and prayerfully considered your questions, walked through the fire of doubt without "turning it off," and emerged with a mature and surer faith, then you may well love this show.

The performances are fantastic. Josh Gad and Andrew Rannells must be the most talented missionary companions ever. And wow, did Nikki M. James deserve the Tony she won for her portrayal of Nabulungi. James's "Sal Tlay Ka Siti" and Gad and James's "Baptize Me" (even immersed in innuendo) are two of the sweetest songs you'll ever hear from a Broadway stage.

Enjoy!
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific new Broadway addition - but you may need to MAN UP, May 20, 2011
If you are generally offended by Southpark or Team America, or had no desire to see them, then I would imagine you won't like this either. But shouldn't that be obvious????

There is a lot here for people who are more Broadway then Southpark fans too though, especially all the little homages to other musicals throughout (Wicked progressions in 'you and me', 'Hasa Diga' - Lion King, and 'I Believe' parodies Sound of Music.) About 1/2 the soundtrack is highly addictive and will stick in your head - careful singing some of those lyrics in public though! The rest is enjoyable, but the highlights for me are the first five songs and I Believe.

You also have to have a sense of humor about religion in general to appreciate the musical, but I can say as a rather liberal Christian I didn't find it offensive - but you need to have an open mind. Overall, especially having seen the actual show, the show is quite good hearted about religion and although it pokes fun at Mormonism I didn't find it to be mean spirited.

For the one star reviewers... why are you seeking out something you are predisposed to find offensive? If you don't like it.... Turn it off, like a light switch... or put it in a box and CRUSH IT! ;)

ps- make sure you buy/download the version with the digital booklet, it's over 30 pages of photos and lyrics!
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Never thought Bway could be THIS much fun, July 6, 2011
This review is from: The Book of Mormon (Audio CD)
"The music is often dull and, worst of all, derivative within the musical theater genre."

That was the review of "The Book of Mormon" from the Salt Lake Tribune.

The other reviews were a little better.

The New York Times: "'The Book of Mormon' achieves something like a miracle. It both makes fun of and ardently embraces the all-American art form of the inspirational book musical...."

Then there were the nine --- nine! --- Tony Awards.

And now there is the recently-released Broadway cast recording --- the fastest-selling Broadway cast album in more than 40 years.

You can't buy a ticket to the show for love or money. Maybe I can interest you in the cast recording?

You may have your doubts. You should. The cultural criminals behind this enterprise are Trey Parker and Matt Stone, who work hard to offend nearly everyone on "South Park." (And, yes, they're capable of lines like: "Hello! Would you like to change religions? I have a free book for you, and it's written by Jesus!") But they have admirable co-conspirators: composer and lyricist Marc Shaiman, who served with distinction on their movie "South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut." Also at work on the music: Tony winner Robert Lopez, late of "Avenue Q."

For all the vulgarity --- take it on faith --- the core idea of "Book of Mormon" is really rather sweet: the two-year mission that each young Mormon undertakes. Naturally, the superstar kid (Andrew Rannells) is paired with the slob (Josh Gad). Naturally, Rannells doesn't get his first choice --- Orlando --- and is, to his horror, shipped off with his loser companion to Uganda. And Uganda is not, to say the least, promising territory for religion. Almost everyone has AIDS, and many believe that the cure lies in having sex with a virgin --- or even a baby. A dictator kills at will.

In the process of pitching Mormonism to the natives, Parker and Stone present the history and beliefs of the Church of Latter Day Saints. Is Mormon theology ridiculous? In their view, yes. (You can't help thinking: So are the creation stories of other religions.) But not ridiculous-stupid. Ridiculous in a human, we-need-something-to-believe way. As Matt Stone has said, "You don't go to the theater to watch something mean."

Here is fun and then some. Consider one of the key songs, "I Believe." It includes lines like:

I believe that ancient Jews built boats and sailed to America
And I believe that the current President of The Church, Thomas Modson, speaks directly to God.
And I believe that in 1978, God changed his mind about black people!
And I believe that the Garden of Eden was in Jackson County, Missouri.

Is that poking fun of Mormons? Not really. Matt Stone: "Do goofy stories make people nice? What if, in their goofiness, these stories somehow inspire that in the right way. Is that a social good?"

Stone says he and Parker wanted to end the musical with people looking to the sky and saying, "Thank you, God." That, he says, is the story: "The whole point is that one man's blasphemy is another man's religion. The point we are trying to make is that once you tell people stories, they make them their own. We think you should celebrate that."

The cast recording is that celebration, once removed. "Its heart is as pure as that of a Rodgers and Hammerstein show," the Times reviewer noted. Maybe. The better point is that it's riotous, non-stop, high-energy fun --- a bargain at any price.
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The Book of Mormon
The Book of Mormon by Original Broadway Cast (Audio CD - 2011)
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