Broadway’s 'Book of Mormon' premieres at ASU Gammage

Forget the family-friendly, optimistic and watered-down humor you may have once expected from a Broadway production. Tony Award-winning musical “The Book of Mormon” has hilariously excelled in challenging every silent boundary ever set in modern theater.

This week, the Broadway show, on its first national tour, premiered on the ASU Gammage stage, and the cast made sure to keep up its raunchy and offensive reputation. The comedy has gained notoriety for nonchalantly mocking the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in America. Despite this focus, the script included an endless set of jokes aimed at nearly every other culture around the world, too. The crowd erupted in a choral hearty laughter after nearly every line.

The show is like a “Comedy Central Roast;" in the midst of belly-laughing over the last joke about someone else, the next joke about you is already in session. That’s also what made the show most interesting. As f-bomb packed and straightforward as the topics sometimes were, the jokes were so well-written that you couldn’t help but cry laughing.

The two protagonists of the gut-busting performance are two young Mormon men, Elder Price and Elder Cunningham, who are preparing for the most important journey of their lives: the mission. Young Mormon missionaries are sent on a two-year mission of community service, humanitarian aid and church service. Often times, they are sent to locations in continents other than America to help the less-fortunate.

Elder Price is proudly convinced that he is going to save the world regardless wherever he goes. Prince considers the dorky Elder Cunningham, who has a ridiculous lying problem, to be his sidekick and generally instructs him to just follow along.

On their mission, they are sent all the way from Utah to a small village in Uganda, a foreign country they’ve unfortunately never heard of. All they know is that they’re going to Africa, and being uncultured, they expect “Lion King."

While in Uganda, they meet up with fellow missionaries and they all have one goal: to baptize at least one person. This proves to be difficult the native people are so focused on war, famine and AIDS that they’ve lost faith in a higher power.

In the introduction to the community, Elder Price and Elder Cunningham learn an upbeat song from the townspeople, which has them gettin’ jiggy until they realize that the lyrics are actually cursing their God.

One of the most influential characters of the village, Nabulungi, is a smart and witty young woman who dreams of traveling to the foreign paradise she calls “Sal Tlay Ka Siti” (Salt Lake City). Nabulungi is played by ASU alumna and Tempe native, Alexandra Ncube, who is making her triumphant return to ASU Gammage. Ncube graduated from the Herberger Institute’s School of Film, Dance and Theatre, proving the sky is the limit for Sun Devils.

The musical was created by the filthy masterminds behind “South Park” and “Avenue Q,” Trey Parker and Matt Stone. The vulgar songs were written by songwriting king Robert Lopez, who wrote the tracks for the hit Disney flick “Frozen.”

ASU students can get a taste of Broadway culture for a hefty price, with tickets generally starting at $59 and going upwards of $250. That’s $250 more than most students have in their bank accounts, but if you’re in the spending mood, it is beyond worth it.

If I got anything from the funniest show on Broadway, it’s to not take life as seriously as we often tend to; A good laugh at ourselves is worth a lot more in terms of happiness than wasting time guarding our insecurities. So, if you're ready for to get your giggle on, get yourself a ticket to "The Book of Mormon."

For more information, and tickets to the Book of Mormon, click here.


Reach the reporter at kkingsum@asu.edu or follow @kaylakingsumner on Twitter.

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