Mirvish presents the Toronto premiere of the Broadway sensation The Book of Mormon
The Book of Mormon is the hottest ticket on Broadway right now. When the satirical musical taking on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints made its Broadway debut in 2011 review after review sang the praises of the plucky show. After it won the 2011 Tony Award for Best Musical it became nearly impossible to get tickets in New York without booking months in advance.
Now, Mirvish is presenting the Toronto and Canadian premiere of the Broadway phenomenon at the Princess of Wales Theatre but because the Toronto run is just a stop on Book of Mormon‘s North American tour instead of a sit-down Canadian production, the engagement is strictly limited to six-weeks and it may be equally difficult to get tickets here.
Part of the musical’s popularity stems from its immense crossover appeal. The show is written by the creators of South Park, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, and the creator of Avenue Q, Robert Lopez, so people who’ve grown up watching irreverent animated shows like South Park, The Simpsons and The Family Guy but who wouldn’t necessarily buy tickets to a Broadway musical will love Book of Mormon.
I was never able to get tickets to the show in New York but eventually ended up seeing it in Chicago where the show is playing an open-ended engagement. I was a bit skeptical going in because of all the hype but I ended up absolutely loving it.
The musical tells the story of two young Mormon missionaries, Elder Price, a sort of rising Mormon wunderkind, and Elder Cunningham, his goofy, blundering yet likable mission brother. The bright-eyed but ultimately naïve pair are sent on a mission to Uganda where they discover that Africa isn’t exactly like The Lion King and that converting Ugandans to Mormonism won’t exactly be an easy task.
Book of Mormon is a riot. It’s laugh-out-loud funny but also features smart, spot-on satire that takes the piss out of Mormonism as it shines a spotlight on the inherent ridiculousness of all organized religion and also skewers the Western “white saviour” complex.
While the tone is highly irreverent and the humour often crude the show is never mean-spirited. I thought the satire was brilliantly executed. If you’re at all familiar with Stone and Parker’s work on South Park I actually think Book of Mormon is comparatively tame. It definitely has a satirical edge but doesn’t quite push the envelope as far as some of Parker and Stone’s other work.
While it can definitely be described as “Broadway for people who don’t like Broadway” at it’s core it is still a great, old-fashioned song-and-dance Broadway musical with eye-catching production numbers, a surprisingly heart-warming story and a catchy, leave-the-theatre-singing score.
So yes, I definitely think it’s a great show but is it worth taking out that second mortgage to get tickets? Is it really worthy of all the hype? Personally, I’d say no.
It’s a good show, it’s similar in tone and style to recent Broadway musical comedies like Spamalot and Avenue Q and if you enjoyed those shows you’re bound to enjoy Book of Mormon, but I wouldn’t say it’s the best show I’ve ever seen and I personally don’t think it’d be worth paying the hundreds of dollars that people are now paying for premium tickets to see the show on Broadway. It’s definitely worth seeing if you can still get your hands on some regular priced tickets, though.
While tickets will likely be scarce and hard to come by for the limited Toronto engagement you can try your luck at the ticket lottery that Mirvish is holding two-and-a-half hours before each performance. Up to 24 seats will be available for each performance at $25 each (cash only). For more information visit the Mirvish website.
- The Book of Mormon is playing at the Princess of Wales Theatre (300 King Street West) through June 9, 2013
- Shows run Tuesday to Saturday at 8:00 p.m. and Wednesday, Saturday & Sunday at 2:00 p.m.
- Tickets $59.00 to $130.00
- For more information visit Mirvish.com
- Photo of Mark Evans, Derrick Williams by Joan Marcus