July 11, 2011 at 10:33 am (Uncategorized)

So, I’ve been kicking ideas around in my head for a while about things to write about, and I keep coming back to the idea of faith, of the book of Mormon (both the text and the musical), and the things that come out of those. So we’ll see what happens.

Let’s start with The Book of Mormon, the wildly successful Broadway musical that was nominated for 14 Tony Awards (of which it won 9, including best musical). Musically, it is superbly done, and it blends what one would normally find in contemporary musical theatre with a dash of the music Trey Parker and Matt Stone have come up with for South Park and some of their other assorted ventures. They collaborated with the people from Avenue Q, which to me was the right choice for a satire.  It’s a good show, with moments of what I feel are unnecessary vulgarity (though I’m not a huge fan of South Park so perhaps others appreciate that style–and the shock value it gives–more than I) but on the whole one gets a sense that the show pokes fun at religion without being especially malicious.

To those who I have heard say that the show picks on the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I would argue that this is simply the first big Mormon musical. It’s simply joining a pantheon of religiously inspired musicals (some farcical, some not) including Nunsense, Altar Boys, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, Godspell, Fiddler on the Roof, and others. That isn’t of course to say that there aren’t inaccuracies (theologically) in the show, and it does exaggerate things from my experience and from what I’ve read. But at its heart, the show gets at a piece of all of us, and I think that’s what makes it effective.

Too many thoughts, and they are traveling out in unrelated directions. I’ll return to this later.



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