Last Week – 6 – Book of Mormon

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We just saw “The Book of Mormon” at the Kennedy Center. The tickets were/are a very hot item. The demand crashed the Kennedy Center website when they went on sale. So how was it? Short version – GREAT!! The reviews of the touring company has said that this company may be better than the original Broadway cast. That may well be, everyone was spot on. Samantha Marie Ware, in particular, was perfect as the young Ugandan girl, Nabulungi . She had just the right combination of innocence, hope, and a sense of reality. Her big song – “Sal Tlay Ka Siti” (sound it out), is not only very funny, but heartbreaking in it’s own way as you see all it takes for her to see a place a a paradise based on what her life is like.

Mark Evans and Christopher John O’Neill are the two male leads and play the two Mormon elders on their mission perfectly. O’Neill, as Elder Cunningham) is the big surprise. This is his professional stage acting debut. Previously, he was a comedian, touring as part of a sketch comedy duo. He hit just the right notes (acting and singing) as the misfit missionary. Evans, a British actor playing Elder Price, does the upright, ‘perfect’ elder, looking forward to doing something incredible. The rest of the company as the rest of the Mormon in the mission and the villagers in the poor African village do their parts with verve, intelligence, and skill.

The play is very well put together and each act is a very speedy hour, and full of great songs. I think the key to how well this works, is that, in spite of all the irreverent, well, let’s be honest, highly offensive to many, material – after all it is written by the folks that gave us “South Park”, at it’s core, “Book of Mormon” is full of heart.

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