Smash Broadway hit jolts with ‘South Park’ shock, panache

801x401_bom_1Courtesy of Broadway Across America and Theater League of Kansas City

“The Book of Mormon” returned to Kansas City’s Music Hall for a second time as Broadway Across America in conjunction with Theater League present the multi-award-winning, jaw dropping musical satire.

The production ignites from the beginning scene when the background of Mormonism is presented to set the scene for the show to follow. And then, clad in black and white business attire (sans coats), the wannabe young (19ish) candidates await their assignment for their 2-year mission assignment. While many candidates anticipate, then celebrate their mission assignment, the brightest and best of the class nervously awaits his date with destiny.

801x401_bom_2Courtesy of Broadway Across America and Theater League of Kansas City

Elder Price, the top and most enthusiastic Mormon youth, just believes his life in preparation will most certainly land him his dream appointment–Orlando, Florida. Unfortunately, God and the Mormon church have another venue for his mission assignment–Uganda, Africa. OMG, and worse yet, Elder Cunningham, the worst of the hopefuls joins Elder Price as his partner.

At the 2011 Tony Awards, “The Book of Mormon” captured nine and missed on several others, but claimed a total of 14 nominations. The most prestigious of the night, Best Musical of 2011, according to internet sites.

Uproariously funny, side-splitting sarcastic, witty, irreverent, and totally unconventional, “The Book of Mormon” possesses something to offend almost any devout Christian. However, carefully entrenched in comedy, the musical comedy breaks new ground in fusing satire and comedy. The genius behind South Park absolutely and positively delivered with “The Book of Mormon,” their first Broadway vehicle.

801x401_bom_3Courtesy of Broadway Across America and Theater League of Kansas City

As a national tour of the Broadway blockbuster, quality comes in the traveling package. The sets, the lights, the sound, the costumes, the actors, etc. all possess Broadway experience or potential. Expect to see the same quality performance offered on the Broadway stage as we have in Kansas City for this limited run.

Elders Price and Cunningham could not be better performed as they were Dec. 7 by Gabe Gibbs and Chad Burris . The electrifying chemistry between them ignited the show from the first song and lasted through the entire show. Gibbs’ fresh faced enthusiasm and Burris’ “retelling” of the Mormon history elevates the show to sublime heights. Gibbs and Burris remind of the classic pairings of Laurel and Hardy and Abbott and Costello. Even though Price is the “straight,” he garners plenty of laughs. As the plump sidekick, Burris captures the audience’s heart from his first lines. His explanations and reactions are classic.

As for the lead actress, Bryce Charles belts out her songs with authority. Her pitch-perfect singing helps give depth to her character of the African ingenue. The men’s dance ensemble provides one of the fastest paced tap numbers of recent memory. When they break into “Turn It Off,” expect to be amazed and transfixed. The African characters also provide lots of fun, from the doctor who keeps exclaiming he has “maggots in his scrotum.” to the Idi Amin-style opposition leader, whose name cannot be printed.

801x401_bom_4Courtesy of Broadway Across America and Theater League of Kansas City

Suffice it to say that “The Book of Mormon” will offend some. Anyone not familiar with the TV series South Park should take note. The language is strong. The content is sometimes way beyond normal, and some religious persons may be offended by the content, the language, and some depictions. South Park fans will find exactly what they expect, comedic sarcasm.

“The Book of Mormon” continues at the Music Hall Theatre in Municipal Auditorium. For tickets, go to Theater League website.

801x401_bom_logoCourtesy of Broadway ACcross America & Theater League of Kansas City

Tags: “The Book of Mormon”, Performing Arts, Arts & Entertainment, musical-comedy, Kansas City, Kansas City Theater, Theater League-KC, Broadway Across America, Music Hall, Municipal Auditorium ,,