After having a blast at the The Book of Mormon‘s first Minneapolis show, expectations were high for the latest tour. Needless to say, it was just as fun the second time around! The Book of Mormon tells the story of two Mormon missionaries, overachiever Elder Price (Ryan Bondy) and socially awkward Elder Cunningham (Cody Jamison Strand) sent to Uganda. The people of Uganda, dealing with AIDS, poverty and rebel forces initially have a hard time understanding how the Mormon Church can help with their problems. Faced with failure, Elder Price has a breakdown thus leaving Elder Cunningham to the task of converting the locals, which he successfully accomplishes after taking some creative freedom in discussing the teachings of the Mormon Church.
The Book of Mormon is solid in every aspect. The first rate talent in this production is not only experienced in the industry, but many performers have been playing these same roles for years. It was clear both during the show and after the finale that the performers love this production. Their enthusiasm and energy is unparalleled. They treated last night’s performance as it if it was their first. Their acting and singing performances were so perfected that they seemed effortless. There are zero standouts as absolutely everyone is wonderful to watch. Comedic timing, soulful notes and every facial expression are perfected. The sets are elaborate thoughtfully considered. The music is entertaining and delightful from start to finish. The story is interesting, funny and compelling. You don’t need to understand Mormonism or any other religion to appreciate this show as they lay out the important details for you. This musical has it all, perhaps with the exception of being family friendly. The Book of Mormon includes profanity, discussions of sex and bestiality. If this all sounds very sinful, you’ll get a nice glimpse of hell in this show that’ll have you laughing the whole way there.
Photo by Joan Marcus