THE BOOK OF MORMON by Carol Kaufman Segal
A hit musical, The Book of Mormon, made its Broadway premiere on March, 2011, after seven years of development by its creators, Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, and Matt Stone, who wrote the book, the music, and the lyrics. It won nine Tony Awards, one for Best Musical, and is still playing to sold-out audiences in New York as it wows audiences with touring companies in cities throughout the United States as well as one in Australia and Sweden. The Pantages Theatre is pleased to have The Book of Mormon return to its theatre for the third time.
The story is about two young men, fresh out of an LDS Training Center being sent to Uganda for two years as missionaries for the purpose of converting the African population into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Elder Price (Gabe Gibbs) who was tops in the class, is totally disappointed, having had hopes of being sent to Orlando, Florida. Added to his let down is that he has been paired with Elder Cunningham (Connor Peirson), who was always out of sync with the rest of the class. Elder Price may feel down, but Elder Cunningham is euphoric. He claims then and there that he and Elder Price are best friends.
Upon their arrival in Uganda, they meet other missionaries who have been in Uganda for some time without being able to convert any of the Africans to Mormonism. Elder Price is more pessimistic than ever, while Elder Cunningham is certain that, with his companion by his side, he can succeed in the mission. Elder Price becomes more disillusioned with his situation, but Elder Cunningham suddenly takes on the burden of trying to win the population over to the church alone.
Elder Cunningham, who never read the book of Mormon, makes up the stories he tells the people. He garners the attention of Nabulungi (Leanne Robinson) who is taken with Elder Cunningham and his teaching, unaware that none of it is true, and she persuades the rest of the villagers to accept the Church.
When the Heads of the Mission learn of the success of converting all of the villagers in Uganda, they decide to visit there to honor the missionary who did such a great job. Elder Cunningham convinces Elder Price to act as if they have been mission companions all along. When the villagers show what they have learned, none of it has anything to do with the Book of Mormon, and the Heads of the Mission are in utter shock. However, no one need fret over the Missionaries outcome since they gave something for the people to believe in and to make their lives better,
The Book of Mormon is probably the most humorous musical of all time, (actually, it is hilarious) but nevertheless, it is sacrilegious and contains explicit language. Even so, it is extremely entertaining and fun. A lot of credit for the humor goes to Gibbs and Peirson who are superb. The entire cast is first-rate under the direction of Casey Nicholaw and Trey Parker. The dancing is stupendous as are the dancers (choreographer Casey Nicholaw). The music is perfect for the production, but not memorable beyond.
Performances are Tuesdays through Fridays at 8 PM, Saturdays at 2 PM and 8PM, Sundays at1 PM and 6:30 PM, through July 9 (no performance Tuesday, July 4, added matinee, Thursday, July 6, at 2 PM) at the Hollywood Pantage Theatre, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles. Children under age 5 are not permitted. Tickets are available online at HolywoodPantages.com or Ticketmaster.com, by phone at 800-982-2787, at the Hollywood Pantages Box Office (open 10 AM daily) and all Ticketmaster Outlets Groups.
A lottery will be held daily throughout the run offering a limited number of low-priced tickets prior to every performance. Entries will be accepted at the box office beginning two and a half hours before each performance, and names will be drawn two hours before curtain for tickets priced at $25 each. Limit one entry per person and two tickets per winner. Winner must be present at time of drawing and show valid ID to purchase tickets, cash or credit card accepted.