“Hello, my name is Bartley and I would like to share with you the most amazing play!” On Wednesday I attended opening night of “The Book of Mormon” at the Orpheum in downtown Minneapolis. The theater was packed to the brim with theater fans as well as lovers of “South Park” since Matt Stone and Trey Parker wrote the show.
They say a catchy first line draws readers in. The same holds true for a catchy opening song in a musical. “Hello!” was the perfect way to draw the audience in. It gave a glimpse into what we were about to watch for the next few hours, a pair of young Mormon men sent on their two year mission to Uganda. Another key ingredient is audience interaction and boy did we have a lot! Right out of the gate, the laughter and applause were off the charts and rightfully so. The show was incredible.
Having won lottery tickets to sit front row for the original Broadway cast of “The Book of Mormon” I was a bit nervous. When you see the original cast everything else is a test to see if the actors can match up. Traveling casts can be hit or miss and this cast did not disappoint. Everyone pulled their weight and performed exceptionally. The two leads worked very well together and I was thoroughly impressed with Mark Evans’ (Elder Price) vocal range. During “Spooky Mormon Hell Dream” I may have been the only one clapping and saying “Yes!” when he hit his low notes.
The show boasts incredibly witty songs and dialogue. The tunes are hummable and catchy. There is no way you can leave the theater without wanting to listen to the soundtrack. When a playwright can draw audience members into the show by connecting them to characters, giving them thought provoking stories, enjoyable songs, fun dance numbers and touch on a mix of emotions, you have a winning combination. “The Book of Mormon” is just that. Yes, there are a few songs and moments that were uncomfortable and irked my conservative side but that is to be expected of the playwrights. They stayed true to form, not only do they joke about Mormons, they joke about everyone. The show touches on current events and has jokes that members of all ages can appreciate.
The key point, go see the show. You will laugh, you will smile and you will leave wanting to see it again, I know I did! Many shows are sold out but the Hennepin Theatre Trust is doing lottery tickets nightly and you can call the box office for cancellations as well. For more information: