The Overture’s annual Broadway series kicked off this week with an outstanding rendition of “The Book of Mormon.” A satire following the feats and follies of a mismatched pair of Mormon missionaries, this nine-time Tony Award winning Best Musical can be tricky to pull off, but the performance at the Overture was one of the best yet.
One of the most prominent difficulties of “The Book of Mormon” involves the costuming.
As Mormon missionaries, all of the main characters from the church are dressed exactly the same. Despite this, the actors were able to use clear body language and unique mannerisms to make it easy for the audience to tell them apart.
From Elder Cunningham’s nervous tics and haphazard balance to Elder Price’s straight laced posture and even Elder McKinley’s more effeminate gestures and over-the-top dancing — which stole the show every time — every character was a delight to watch, no matter where you looked onstage.
The most impressive part of the show was the actors’ abilities to convey serious messages by comical means. The show is a comedy through and through and will have you in stitches during every scene, but beneath it all there is a clear message of friendship and faith.
The show often makes light of the dire living conditions of the African tribe the missionaries visit in songs like “Hasa Diga Eebowai” and Nabulungi’s solo “Sal Tlay Ka Siti” (phonetically, “Salt Lake City”). Despite the constant comedic tone, however, the show never came off as disrespectful.
It does a phenomenal job of interlacing the comedy with themes that make it easy to get attached to the plot, keeping you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end.
With comedy, conflict, tongue-in-cheek religion, warmongers, poverty, tap dancing and more, “The Book of Mormon” is definitely a must-see show. Be sure to keep an eye out for the rest of The Overture’s Broadway series, including “Hamilton” in November, “Wicked” in March and new Broadway musical “Come From Away” in August.