Word came from upon high that for “The Book of Mormon,” ushers were briefed on how to deal with walkouts during the Tony-winning show’s run at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.
In order to prevent such Broadway blasphemy, here are 10 Commandments on why you should believe in “The Book of Mormon.”
1. Despite being profane, vulgar and sacrilegious, the musical is at its heart sweet and even old-fashioned, with a tap number, hokey backdrops and every cheap (but effective) theatrical trick imaginable.
2. The story is mucho multilayered, but on the surface it’s about Mormon missionaries Elders Price and Cunningham being sent to Africa. Price has a crisis of faith, and Cunningham refashions the liturgy with dashes of “Star Wars,” “Star Trek” and “The Lord of the Rings.” I think I caught a little "Epic of Gilgamesh" and "Clash of the Titans."
3. On its path, the show trips over baby rape, warlords, genital mutilation, dysentery and AIDS … and still makes you laugh.
4. Have faith in this heavenly cast. In the lead roles, Mark Evans (Price) has stage savvy, and Christopher John O’Neill (Cunningham) has cunning comedic timing.
5. The show deals with race by skewering both left-wing piety and colonization condescension without getting all preachy. And it slyly shows the power of storytelling and myth to assuage the suffering of the innocents.
6. The score by “South Park” duo Trey Parker and Matt Stone along with “Avenue Q” creator Robert Lopez pays demented homage to the Broadway form by suggesting everything from “Bye, Bye Birdie, “The King & I” and “Annie” to “Wicked”, “The Lion King” and “Spamalot.”
7. The production numbers, with peppy choreography by Casey Nicholaw, are delightfully unhinged revelations that satirize religion and parody Broadway.
8. Worried about offending the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints? The program has three full-page ads, courtesy of the church’s TheBookofMormon.org, featuring a diverse cast and clever proselytizing: “You've seen the play. Now read the book” and “The book is always better.”
9. Real offense can be found in the adult content and language. If you have been fruitful and multiplied, leave your progeny at home. You’re welcome.
10. Sure, there were some serious sound ticks on opening night (Yoda has a great line that no one heard), but even that didn’t result in any walkouts. See the show. The power of Rod compels you.
“The Book of Mormon” will run through Dec 22 at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., in Fort Lauderdale. Shows are 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays (6:30 p.m. Sundays), with 2 p.m. matinees Wednesdays and Saturdays (1 p.m. Sundays). Curtain is at 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 22. Tickets cost $44.50-$154.50. Call 954-462-0222 or go to BrowardCenter.org.