Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mormon Jamz

On the blog today, I’m going to talk about the soundtrack of a new musical, BUT, before you non-musical fans exit out of the post right now, hear me out: it is literally one of the funniest things I have ever heard.
AMAZING QUOTE: “Wow! So the Bible is actually a trilogy and the Book of Mormon is Return of the Jedi?!
I’m interested!”
The show is The Book of Mormon, and I have been looking forward to its release since I first heard about it a year or so ago. Written by Trey Parker and Matt Stone (of South Park fame) in collaboration with Robert Lopez, who cowrote the score for the hilarious  Avenue Q, the story follows two young Mormon missionaries on their journey to convert the inhabitants of a Ugandan village beset with AIDS. The naïveté and seemingly endless optimism of the missionaries is perfect for musical theater and really reminded me of the classic Rogers & Hammerstein musicals like The Sound of Music and The King and I.
Additionally, the music is all well-written and catchy. I’ve had “The All-American Prophet” stuck in my head for days. If you saw South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut, then you know how these guys can turn the silliest subjects into singable yet hilarious songs (e.g., “Blame Canada”, “What Would Brian Boitano Do?”, and “Kyle’s Mom’s a Bitch”; also “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist” from Avenue Q). For example, one of the missionaries has a “Spooky Mormon Hell Dream”, during which he encounters an accusatory Jesus:
Jesus: “You blamed your brother for eating the donut, and now you walk out on your mission companion? You’re a dick.”

Kevin: “I can’t believe Jesus called me a dick!”
I think my favorite thing about this exchange is that Jesus inexplicably speaks with a Baltimore accent.
Strangely, I learned a lot about Mormonism from the soundtrack. Since the missionaries are prosthelytizing, they sing a lot about the history of the church/what Mormons believe, specifically in the song, “I Believe”:
“I believe that God lives on a planet called Kolob/
I believe that Jesus has his own planet as well/
And I believe that the
Garden of Eden was in Jackson County, Missouri!”
You can’t make this stuff up.
But despite the fact this show is set to sweep the Tonys, I can’t see it touring in Atlanta; it’s a pretty conservative crowd down here. I’ll have to try to make it to up NYC to see this one.

The cast album for the show will be available starting June 7.

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