Review: “The Book of Mormon” at The Bushnell
by Mark G. Auerbach
Broadway’s super-hit The Book of Mormon zipped into the Bushnell about three years ago, and completely lived up to its hype and multiple awards, I loved it then, and totally understood why it’s been a hot ticket on Broadway since its opening–and still is. So, I’ve been anticipating this repeat visit, since The Bushnell announced its return. I was curious, seeing how much our little world had changed in three years, if The Book of Mormon has endurance, or whether it was just a flash in the pan.
Glad to say that I’m as impressed with The Book of Mormon now, as I was when I first saw it. I may have anticipated some of the most outrageous moments before they happened, but plenty of moments lost in the laughter the first time around caught my attention. Trey Parker’s, Matt Stone’s and Robert Lopez’s script and score are boldly original and boundary-breaking, but these gentlemen have a real love for American musical theatre, and they’re sincere and respectful. The South Park creators have crafted a tight plot, funny and potty-mouth filled; the Avenue Q and Frozen composer pays homage to some Broadway greats in a pleasant score with hints of The King and I, Wicked and The Lion King. Casey Nickolaw’s choreography and the staging by Nickolaw and Stone is slick and fast-paced.
The Book of Mormon follows the tale of two young missionaries who end up in Uganda, and test their own beliefs and people skills among wary locals, other wide-eyed Mormon missionaries, and characters from The Book of Mormon. Gabe Gibbs is the idealistic and self-assured Elder Price. Conner Pierson is his sidekick, Elder Cunningham, prone to tall tales and shtick. They’re both delightful, as is Leanne Robinson as Nabulungi, the village chief’s daughter. The ensemble is superb, and the sold-out audience went wild for the showstopping “Turn It Off”.
The Book of Mormon is as good as it gets when it comes to laughs, fun, and good musical theatre. Many Bushnell performances are close to sold out, so get the tickets quickly. There’s a ticket lottery for every performance.
The Bushnell presents The Book of Mormon. Book, music, and lyrics by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, and Matt Stone. Directed by Casey Nicholaw and Matt Stone. Music Supervision and Vocal Arrangement by Stephen Oremus. Choreography by Casey Nicholaw. Scenic design by Scott Pask. Costume design by Ann Roth. Lighting design by Brian MacDevitt. Sound design by Brian Ronan. Through February 19, 2017 at The Bushnell, Hartford, CT. 860-987-5900 or www.bushnell.org. .For “The Book of Mormon” information on Broadway and touring productions: http://www.bookofmormonbroadway.com/
Mark G. Auerbach studied theatre at American University and the Yale School of Drama. He’s worked for arts organizations and reported on theatre for newspapers and radio.