The Book of Mormon is on a mission at the Pantages Theatre inHollywood — to live up to the hype that surrounds the controversial musical. Well done, mission accomplished!
The show opens with young lads in crisp white-shirts and ties “ringing” doorbells and singing “Hello,” as they practice spreading the word. There is an infectious silliness that grabs you right away, but it’s the sincerity of lines like “Hello, my name is Elder Price, and I want to share with you the most amazing book,” that sell the show.
Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Robert Lopez, and Casey Nicholaw, the creative team behind The Book of Mormon, have been criticized for being profane — and yes, it’s true, the show is wickedly irreverent. But when you think about it, they are putting the spotlight on a group of dedicated young men who take two years out of the prime of their lives to go on a mission to make life better for others. I don’t think this satire makes fun of them, as much as celebrates them and all their naiveté.
The show is hilarious with lively music which propels the surprising story at such a rapid pace that you want a ballad to pop up so you can catch your breath. There is such a ballad dedicated to “Orlando,” sung by Elder Price (Gavin Creel), because thatFloridacity is his idea of heaven. Then there’s Nabulungi (Samantha Marie Ware) who sings about “Salt Lake City” which is her idea of heaven, because she’s from warlord-ravagedUganda. The scene-stealing tall tale-telling Elder Cunningham (Jared Gertner) spreads a bit of heaven wherever he goes, and right now that’s at the Pantages Theatre located at 6233 Hollywood Blvd. until Nov. 25.
The Book of Mormon tickets start at $35, but have a limited $25 prior-to-performance ticket lottery. Call (323) 468-1770 for show times and information, or call Ticketmaster, 800-982-2787, for tickets. The show runs two hours and 25 minutes, with intermission, and contains explicit language.