145 of 155 people found the following review helpful
Nothing short of miraculous!,
This review is from: The Book Of Mormon [Explicit] (MP3 Music)
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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Showing 1-10 of 12 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 15, 2011 9:02:32 AM PDT
Donna J. Sanders says:
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 17, 2011 8:31:52 AM PDT
[spoilers!...] Once in Africa, the real Book of Mormon takes a back seat to Arnold's "slightly modified" version, that includes Boba Fett, the starship Enterprise, and...eh...some interesting stuff about frogs, so whatever the message of this show is, it sure as heck isn't absolute truth.
Posted on Jun 23, 2011 2:21:32 PM PDT
"it wouldn't shock me if this ends up increasing, rather than decreasing, interest in the Mormon faith."
What a rotten outcome that would be. The world doesn't need more bigots. And they certainly don't belong on Broadway (but the musical does!).
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 14, 2011 4:41:10 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Aug 15, 2011 10:32:08 AM PDT]
Posted on Feb 14, 2012 2:37:18 PM PST
Thank you for this review. It made me smile almost as much as the cast album does.
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2012 8:01:46 AM PDT
C. Owens says:
Unfortunately you do not understand the Mormon faith. I am in no way a bigot. I love everyone no matter what their race, religion or sexual preference. I suggest you find out more before making comments on something you do not understand.
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2012 9:45:43 AM PDT
I didn't make that comment and I will go on record as saying that Mormon *individuals* are among the most tolerant people I've met (certainly compared to other very religious people); however, you can't argue that the church as an institution doesn't have strongly anti-gay policies (which are accurately stated in "Turn it off": it's (now) OK to have gay feelings as long as you don't act on them). The church also had official racial discrimination until "in 1978, God changed his mind about black people" (from "I Believe"). Whatever you think about the play, Parker and Stone did their homework.
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2012 5:51:02 PM PDT
Donna J. Sanders says:
Ok. THE BOOK OF MORMON IS THE TRUTH...is my belief. Not this satirical mostly happy play..And the interest and search for the truth will increase because of it ! !
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 28, 2013 5:58:34 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 28, 2013 6:10:51 AM PST
Steven Mason says:
"I will go on record as saying that Mormon *individuals* are among the most tolerant people I've met"
EJon, I don't want to start an argument, but since you are "going on the record" I have to wonder and ask: When you claim that Mormon individuals are among the most tolerant people you've met, who exactly are you comparing them to? Since you are talking about Mormons you've met, I assume you are comparing them to other people you've met? And when you use such a strong phrase as "among the most tolerant people," you do realize, don't you, that this means the Mormons you've met are *exceptionally* tolerant among all the people you've known? Do the Mormons you know truly deserve such high praise?
You mention the "church as an institution" AS IF it is at variance with the members of the church, but after witnessing what so many individual Mormons did regarding gay marriage in California (Mormons both in and out of the state), I really have to wonder about the "tolerance" you speak of. The appeal of the Mormon leadership to elicit both money and time from INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS to campaign against gay rights and marriage was notably successful. Fully half of the donations to support Prop 8 in California (the anti-gay legislation) came from Mormons. Moreover, the vast majority of volunteers for door-to-door canvassing were INDIVIDUAL MORMONS. Clearly, both Mormon leadership and individuals do much more than ask people to "turn off" their gay feelings. Clearly both Mormon leadership and individuals want to use the law and the power of the state to "turn if off."
Individual Mormons chatting to non-Mormon individuals like you are not always going to wear their intolerance on their sleeves. The next time you "meet" the Mormons you know, you could ask them their views on Prop 8 in California, or about gay marriage in general, or about gay people adopting children, or about medicinal marijuana, or any number of "sensitive" topics. And if, by some small chance, they are as tolerant as you seem to be claiming, you can then ask if they are expressing their minority tolerant views to the majority of Mormons who are not tolerant. You might also ask why they continue to be members of such an intolerant organization. After all, it's not as if truly tolerant Christian denominations don't exist.
I'm not picking on the Mormons. There are certainly plenty of Christian denominations that are even less tolerant. And I can just as well ask Catholics, for example, why they continue to be Catholics if they think that divorce, birth control, abortion and gay marriage are okay. These are not small or trivial differences.
In any case, my wife and I will be seeing The Book of Mormon for the first time today, and I'm looking forward to it.
Posted on Dec 28, 2013 6:46:08 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 28, 2013 6:47:19 AM PST
Steven Mason says:
EJon, I wanted to write a separate comment about the music of Book of Mormon. I am a huge and lifelong fan of musicals. It's great that you think all the songs in this show are "gems," but you are setting up some high expectations.
This might be the first time I'm going to see a musical not having "prepared" ahead of time. I have not heard any of the songs or studied the lyrics. To be honest, I didn't prepare because I assumed - perhaps incorrectly - that the music is rather derivative. I'm only speaking of the music, not the lyrics (which I assume will be entertaining enough). Based on what you say, that all the songs are standalone gems, I hope to be pleasantly surprised. It's been a long time since I've been swept away by a new musical, in which I memorize the lyrics and sing along with all the tunes at the top of my pathetic voice. Even if this show offers only a couple of tunes I'd want to add to my repertoire I'll be happy.
Just so you know, I was sorely disappointed, musically speaking, with some of the more recent shows like Wicked, Avenue Q, the abysmal Jekyll & Hyde and the even more abysmal Floyd Collins. And don't ask me about Kinky Boots. I have to go back to the early 2000s to find the last musical I found amusing, and that's Urinetown. The most recent musicals I went crazy for were Rent, Lion King and Aida. Can you believe that Mamma Mia! beat out Aida? Hey, I'm a huge fan of Abba, but give me a break.