The Book of Mormon: Broadway’s Best Show


A photo of the outside of the Book of Mormon theater.

Hello! My name is Christine Wieder and I would like to share with you a review of what I believe is currently Broadway’s best show (and for those of you who are unfamiliar with the soundtrack, that entire first sentence was a reference to the opening song). I had the pleasure of seeing “The Book of Mormon” this past weekend, and when I say it was amazing, I mean it was 11/10 I-want-to-watch-this-on-repeat-for-the-rest-of-my-life amazing. 

The Tony award-winning musical debuted in 2011 and follows two Mormon missionaries, Elder Price and Elder Cunningham, who are traveling to Uganda for a two-year trip to convert the native African villagers. Once they arrive, they realize that their task is going to be much more difficult than they anticipated. The people are resistant to their preaching, and they must deal with other difficulties like the General, a violent man who steals their belongings and demands that every female villager be circumcised. 

Despite the seemingly serious nature of the story, the entire musical is satirical. Much of the humor used throughout the show is explicit and inappropriate, but it also calls attention to serious issues like female circumcision, white saviors, and the AIDS epidemic. For instance, the chief’s daughter is named Nabulungi, but Elder Cunningham never gets her name right throughout the show, instead referring to her as Neutrogena, Neosporin, Nicki Minaj, and the like. While humorous, his incorrect usage also draws attention to how “un-American”-sounding names are constantly misspelled/mispronounced in today’s world without much of an attempt to learn the correct spelling and pronunciation. Unfair, right?

Overall, the comedy is what makes this show so great. There is not a dull moment throughout the two-and-a-half hours. From a tap dancing number about how gays needs to “turn it off” (again, satirical) to a trip to Hell that involves maple-glazed doughnuts, Starbucks, and Jeffrey Dahmer, if this show doesn’t make you laugh, you don’t have a soul. 

The highlight of this specific performance was Chase Ramsey who played Elder Cunningham. Ramsey is the current understudy, and I cannot imagine seeing anyone else play this role. Cunningham is quirky, socially awkward, and a bit immature, but he is also the elder that successfully converts the villagers, albeit by including tales from “Lord of the Rings” and “Star Wars” to make the sacred Mormon text more interesting. Ramsey flawlessly portrays such a character, and in my opinion, he stole the show. 

Altogether, I was captivated throughout the entire performance, and I don’t think I can say that about any other show I have seen, even some of my favorites. There are usually one or two numbers/scenes that I couldn’t care less about; I cannot say that about “The Book of Mormon.” 

If you love phenomenal music, laughing until your stomach hurts, and a wonderful story, “The Book of Mormon” should be #1 on your list of shows to see. Just don’t take your church-going grandmother.