Just in time for Christmas the book reaches our shelves, and it’s not the Bible.
The Book of Mormon: The Testament of a Broadway Musical, which documents the creation of the 2011 Tony Award-winning Best Musical, has been published just in time for Christmas. If you fancy an insight into the crazy world of theatre, then this is just the stocking filler for you!
The hardcover book by The Book of Mormon creators Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone features interviews by writer, theatre critic and Playbill columnist Steven Suskin.
“In celebration of the making of The Book of Mormon, the authors, production team and entire original cast recount their experiences as they grew their show over a seven-year period from the initial idea to opening night on Broadway,” according to press notes.
The book includes within its covers: over 700 full-colour photos and drawings; commentaries and behind-the-scenes anecdotes from the writers, director, choreographer, orchestrator, designers, the stars and the entire theatre cast; an exclusive article entitled “The Creation,” written for the book by Suskin, that focuses on creators Parker, Lopez and Stone; and the complete book and lyrics, extensively illustrated and annotated by the creators and cast.
It sounds even better than the Bible! Plus the Good Bookl didn’t have any photos.
Fifteen years ago, Matt Stone and Trey Parker set forth on a holy mission to transform the American sense of humour through the gospels of “South Park”. Now they have embarked on a journey to convert the oh-so-civilized realm of theatre to their cause with “The Book of Mormon”.
Does the show live up to its hype? That may well be impossible given the huge critical acclaim that the show has received and the numerous awards. Then again, can anything live up to the massive expectations created by the mash-up of musical theatre and “South Park”?
This is a tale of two innocent Mormon missionaries, golden boy Elder Price and nerdy Elder Cunningham, who find that being super nice isn’t enough to attract new recruits to the Church of the Mormons.
They are despatched to the remote, godforsaken Ugandan village beset by drought, warlords and AIDS. The blurry line between evangelizing and showmanship is very effectively skewered in “Hello!” and the limits of positive thinking are explored in the power ballad spoof “I Believe”.
Sacrilege is par for the course here. In one diabolically funny song, the villagers break into a ditty “Hasa Diga Eebowai” about giving the Lord the finger, a satire on The Lion King’s Hakuna Matata; a machine gun-toting warlord ends up with a scripture stuck up his posterior in another parody of the same show.
The geeky Cunningham tells the villagers that the Book of Mormon involves hobbits, starships and Jedi. They believe him and so it becomes true for them in a deep and meaningful way.
In another poke at The Lion King a scorched wasteland contains the characters of Hitler, Jeffrey Dahmer and Genghis Khan. Other theatre shows come under the satirical spotlight as too do God and Bono.
The Book of Mormon is puerile, profane and utterly uncensored, so be warned. It is also insanely funny and bursts the bubble of pomposity rather deliciously.