[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Sunny
Sunny
84°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
June 18
1925 - Newhall lawman Jack Pilcher buried; funeral expenses paid by local Ku Klux Klan [story]
Jack Pilcher


Jared Gertner as Elder Cunningham

When my kids were growing up, our house was very popular. We allowed MTV when other parents in the neighborhood hesitated and when a stop-motion cartoon named “South Park” hit the airwaves of Comedy Central, we let anyone who was in the house – heck, we went out of our way to invite people over – watch and enjoy.

So when we learned that South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker had teamed with Robert Lopez, the creator of one of our favorite irreverent musicals “Avenue Q,” to create “The Book of Mormon,” we couldn’t wait to see it.

We were not alone. When tickets went on sale, a thousand people lined Hollywood Boulevard to tithe at the box office for tickets. Wednesday’s opening night house was packed. And from the opening doorbell chime emanating from the temple-like proscenium, complete with golden herald angel at its peak, to the final notes that brought the crowd to its feet, it was apparent: “The Book of Mormon” is clearly a smash.

This is not the show to use to introduce your children to Broadway musicals, although the singing and dancing is breathtaking and exuberant. Likewise, if you are easily offended, this is not the show for you. But if you like to laugh, think, ponder and believe, come on down.

“The Book of Mormon” skewers everything – religion, devotion, truth, AIDS, poverty, parental approval, romance, expectations. This show is the embodiment of “nothing is sacred.”

Literally.

The opening number “Hello!” introduces us to a new flock of missionaries, fresh-faced and ready to embark on their journeys to spread the word. Arriving late to the party is Elder Cunningham (Jared Gertner, who understudied and eventually took over the part on Broadway), who strays from the script, but cranks up the enthusiasm, using his imagination to get his foot in your door for a few more words. Watch this kid, because he runs away with the show.

The heir apparent in this class dynasty, Elder Price (Gavin Creel), is a slick, polished showman who believes he is destined to be God’s spokesman in Orlando and shines in the recruitment number “Two By Two.” He is crushed when his partner turns out to be the gawky Cunningham and they are assigned to the place least likely to be mistaken for Orlando: Uganda.

Cunningham, on the other hand, is thrilled that he finally has a friend.

The pair arrive in Uganda, determined to make the best of a bad situation, but their persistence just gets them in hot water with the village’s brutal warlord (whose name cannot be printed here) whose henchmen rob them. When he leaves, the villagers gather around them and everybody joins in a catchy song and dance “Hasa Diga Eebowai” led by village chief Mafala Hatimbi (Kevin Mambo) that the boys discover is really an insult to God that helps the poverty-stricken, sexually-mutilation-threatened, terrorized villagers keep their sanity.

Reality, these young men are finding out, sucks.

They meet their fellow missionaries (turns out there’s quite the crowd of white-shirted boys in Uganda), led by the sexually-unsure Elder McKinley (Grey Henson), who teach the newbies to just tune it out, turn the other cheek and “Turn It Off.” They also discover that none of the previous missionaries have recruited a single villager to Mormonism.

Price, shocked by the violence, poverty and what he sees as hopelessness, goes into a tailspin, only to be encouraged by Cunningham, who promises to stick with him and bolsters his sense of self-worth.

In the meantime, Cunningham has become acquainted with the village chief’s daughter, Nabulungi (Samantha Marie Ware), who is curious about the message the white-guys-in-ties bring. She tells him that the natives find traditional Mormons boring and are not interested in joining the religion. Cunningham calls upon his creativity and plethora of Star Wars/Star Trek/Lord of the Rings trivia and uses it to make the message meet the masses. He enthralls villagers with the basic story from The Book, livening up the boring parts with scenarios of magic and some beastiality.

Now, they’re listening. Maybe there is something to those “ministries” that serve as sugar to help the medicine go down…

Cunningham becomes the Pied Piper of Mormonism, baptizing Nabulungi (start listening to the ways he butchers her name, using every N-name he can think of, from Nicotine CQ to Neosporin) and her fellow villagers, making the stats for the Uganda missionaries spike.

Buoyed by Cunningham’s success and optimism against all odds, Price is reinvigorated and vows to convert General We Can’t Name Here. He sings the moving, show stopper “I Believe” which lifts the spirits of the audience until they start really listening to the words that drip with sarcasm and dedication.

And then he goes for a Come To Joseph Smith meeting with the General and his lackeys, which doesn’t end pleasantly.

While the villagers are celebrating their new-found religion, everybody joins in the dance “We Are Africa” at which we learn the outcome of Price’s meeting. Let’s just say the general’s boys filed the book in a place where the sun doesn’t shine. He tailspins downward, questioning everything from his upbringing, his faith, his friendships and promises made that were broken. He lashes out at Cunningham, who realizes he can succeed on his own, but agrees to act as if the two were still partners in prayer when the Mission President makes his visit to hand out accolades for “their” accomplishments.

All is going well, until the villagers, flush with their new-found faith, burst into the ceremony and insist on performing their version of Joseph Smith’s saga in song and dance. The elder Elders are shocked. It seems that not everyone believes, as Cunningham does with his entirely pure heart, that anything that will help people can’t possibly be wrong. They leave in a huff, telling the villagers that they are not Mormons and probably never will be Mormons.

What rebukes the president and his men turns into an epiphany for Price, who realizes that Cunningham was right all along – that helping people is the important thing.

The casting of this company couldn’t have been more perfect – from the nerdy optimist Gertner to the suave Creel and the sensuous Ware, down to each ensemble player. The choreography (by the Tony Award winner and co-director Casey Nicholaw) is amazing (the tap number is hysterical), the costumes colorful (yes, even with all those white shirts and black pants) and the sets take audiences right along the mission in the jungle.

Creators Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone have given us a gift with this show – and that’s the belief that live theater can help us laugh at ourselves, while holding up a mirror and reflecting both the good and the bad. You will be moved, you will be revived, you will learn things about yourselves you may never have known when you see this show.

But most of all, you’ll believe.

 

The Book of Mormon is the winner of nine 2011 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Score, Best Book, Best Direction, Best Featured Actress, Best Scenic Design, Best Lighting Design, Best Sound Design and Best Orchestrations. Tickets for the Pantages Theatre presentation of “The Book of Mormon” are available at the Pantages Theatre box office or at their website, www.BroadwayLA.org.

In Los Angeles, the production will conduct a pre-show lottery at the box office, making a limited number of tickets available at $25 apiece; cash only.  This lottery will be held prior to every performance. The producers of The Book of Mormon are pleased to offer low-priced lottery seats for every city on the National Tour as a thank you to the show’s fans on the road.

Entries will be accepted at the box office beginning two and a half hours prior to each performance; each person will print their name and the number of tickets (1 or 2) they wish to purchase on a card that is provided. Two hours before curtain, names will be drawn at random for a limited number of tickets priced at $25 each. Only one entry is allowed per person. Cards are checked for duplication prior to drawing. Winners must be present at the time of the drawing and show valid ID to purchase tickets. Limit one entry per person and two tickets per winner. Tickets are subject to availability.

Performance dates/times:

 

September 5 – November 18

Tuesday through Saturday 8 p.m.

Saturday matinee 2 p.m.

Sunday 1 and 6:30 p.m.

 

Performances November 20-25

Tuesday 8 p.m.

Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Sunday matinee 1 p.m.

 

For more information about the Los Angeles premiere engagement of The Book of Mormon, visit the official website of the Pantages Theatre, www.BroadwayLA.org.

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT LINKS
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
Tuesday, Jun 18, 2019
The Hello Kitty Cafe Truck is rolling back into Valencia this Saturday, June 22, from 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Tuesday, Jun 18, 2019
This weekend, The Power Plant, a leading contemporary visual art gallery in Toronto, Canada, opens If you end up with the story you started with, then you're not listening along the way, by artist Mario Pfeifer (Film/Video 09).
Monday, Jun 17, 2019
The Santa Clarita Shakespeare Festival is back, and continuing an expanded season with Summer Theatre Festival 2019 events through August.
Monday, Jun 17, 2019
Fourth of July 2019 is only a few weeks away and, as you begin to make plans to celebrate, do not forget about all the fun activities that are happening throughout the Santa Clarita Valley.
Friday, Jun 14, 2019
American Coaster Enthusiasts, the world’s largest roller coaster enthusiasts club with more than 5,000 members, will hold their 42nd annual Coaster Con at Six Flags Magic Mountain and Knott’s Berry Farm from Sunday-Thursday, June 16-20.
Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom issued an apology Tuesday through executive order on behalf of California to California Native American Peoples for the many instances of violence, mistreatment and neglect inflicted upon California Native Americans throughout the state’s history.
Newsom Issues Apology for State’s Wrongdoings to Native Americans
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a proposal Tuesday by Board Chair Janice Hahn to explore master leasing agreements with motels across the County in order to use rooms as interim housing for chronically homeless individuals.
County to Explore Motel Leasing Agreements as Interim Housing for Homeless
The Hello Kitty Cafe Truck is rolling back into Valencia this Saturday, June 22, from 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
June 22: Hello Kitty Cafe Truck at Westfield Town Center
The following events are scheduled for the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce:
POP-Up Biz Expo, Patriots Luncheon, Empowering Women’s Lunch Coming Up at SCV Chamber
According to a recent report by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), homelessness in LA County has climbed 12 percent over the past year, in a dramatic reversal from a four percent decline the previous year. Homelessness has been a persistent issue in California, stymied by the lack of a comprehensive system-wide solution and resources.
CalArtian Easing LA’s Homeless Crisis One Bag at a Time
Recently, the Probation Reform and Implementation Team (PRIT) released comprehensive recommendations outlining its proposed authority and structure for the civilian Probation Oversight Commission (POC) for Los Angeles County’s Probation Department, the largest in the U.S. The proposal includes a call for subpoena power, authority to investigate complaints, and empowering former Probationers as community liaisons to serve as the County’s “eyes and ears.”
County Releases Recommendations for Civilian Oversight Commission
The Santa Clarita Public Library is looking for a fun and friendly team of volunteers to help out during the Summer Reading Program, taking place now through July 27 at all Santa Clarita Public Library branches.
Volunteers Needed for Santa Clarita Library’s Summer Reading Program
This weekend, The Power Plant, a leading contemporary visual art gallery in Toronto, Canada, opens If you end up with the story you started with, then you're not listening along the way, by artist Mario Pfeifer (Film/Video 09).
CalArts Grad Opens New Solo Show in Toronto
The San Fernando Valley Council of Governments Transportation Committee, whose members include Santa Clarita Mayor Marsha McLean, will hold a meeting Thursday, June 20, at 1:30 p.m.
June 20: SFV Council of Governments Transportation Committee Meeting
The Master's University women's soccer team has signed Alexis Mendoza, a technically-sound midfielder who head coach Curtis Lewis described as "calm on the ball."
SoCal Midfielder Alexis Mendoza Signs with TMU
Officials working on the construction of Castaic High School believe they’ll be able to meet the deadline to open the school, just days after it was revealed the school site was without gas piping and hookups weeks before opening.
Officials Now Believe Castaic High Will Meet Deadline After County Expedites Permits
With the onset of summer temperatures, Crime Prevention Unit deputies parked the patrol cars and took to foot patrol, checking the welfare of homeless individuals on Monday.
Crime Prevention Deputies Check In on Welfare of Homeless Individuals
The Canyon Country Advisory Committee (CCAC) meeting will be held Wednesday, June 19, from 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
June 19: Canyon Country Advisory Committee Meeting
1925 - Newhall lawman Jack Pilcher buried; funeral expenses paid by local Ku Klux Klan [story]
Jack Pilcher
The Santa Clarita Shakespeare Festival is back, and continuing an expanded season with Summer Theatre Festival 2019 events through August.
Shakespeare Festival Sets 2019 Summer Theatre Events
In her latest "Director's Blog" entry, Los Angeles County Animal Care & Control Director Marcia Mayeda offers information about pet aging and tips senior pet care.
County Animal Care Director Offers Tips for Senior Pet Care
Fourth of July 2019 is only a few weeks away and, as you begin to make plans to celebrate, do not forget about all the fun activities that are happening throughout the Santa Clarita Valley.
Top 10 Tips to Make this a Great Fourth of July in SCV
The Public Outreach and Legislation Committee of SCV Water is scheduled to meet next on Thursday, June 20, at 5:30 p.m.
June 20: SCV Water Public Outreach, Legislation Committee Meeting
The nonprofit Santa Clarita Valley Committee on Aging will host its annual assembly at the new Bella Vida senior center in Canyon Country on Thursday, June 20, starting at 5 p.m.
June 20: Annual Assembly at Bella Vida Senior Center
Two people were airlifted to the hospital Monday afternoon after being plucked from a ravine where their box truck plunged into the dry creek bed near Agua Dulce.
Two Airlifted from Crash After Truck Plunges into Ravine
The Governing Board of the William S. Hart Union High School District is set to approve its 2019-20 budget at a special meeting on Wednesday, June 19, at 7:45 a.m.
Hart Board Set to OK 2019-20 Budget at June 19 Special Meeting
Marking June as LGBTQ Pride Month, the Pride flag is being flown on the main flagpole of the State Capitol building​ through July 1 ​for the first time in state history.
Rainbow Flag Flies Over Capitol for LGBTQ Pride Month
The Santa Clarita Planning Commission has released the agenda for its June 18 meeting starting at 6 p.m.
Santa Clarita Planning Commission June 18 Meeting Agenda
The Lancaster JetHawks pulled off a comeback from a six-run deficit Sunday afternoon, beating the Inland Empire 66ers 11-10 at the Hangar.
JetHawks’ Comeback Win Closes Season’s First Half
%d bloggers like this: