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"The Book of Mormon" on Broadway
May 9, 2011 6:35 AM   Subscribe

From Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of South Park, and Robert Lopez, of Avenue Q, comes the new Broadway show "The Book of Mormon." The show "tells the story of two young Mormon missionaries sent off to spread the word in a dangerous part of Uganda" while gently (and no so gently) lampooning organized religion and traditional musical theatre. The entire show is now streaming on NPR. Songs are extremely Not Safe For Work.
posted by ColdChef (84 comments total) 73 users marked this as a favorite

 
Hella Cool!
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:38 AM on May 9, 2011


I can't decide whether I want to listen and spoil myself, or wait until after I see the show.... decisions, decisions!! Thanks for posting :)
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:38 AM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


We saw the show last Wednesday and had a really good time.

TPS -- listen to the opening number. No spoilers there, just a really good opening number.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:40 AM on May 9, 2011


If you listen to nothing else, listen to Hasa Diga Eebowai. I think this is probably the first Broadway show to use the phrase "Fuck God in the Cunt."

Maybe "The Sound of Music" did, too. I don't remember.
posted by ColdChef at 6:40 AM on May 9, 2011 [19 favorites]


If you listen to nothing else, listen to Hasa Diga Eebowai. I think this is probably the first Broadway show to use the phrase "Fuck God in the Cunt."

Make sure that you're wearing headphones if you're at work.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:51 AM on May 9, 2011


I'm pretty sure that "fuck god in the cunt" is in either "How Can Love Survive" or "No Way To Stop It". Both songs which were removed from The Sound Of Music when they made the movie adaptation.
posted by hippybear at 7:20 AM on May 9, 2011 [6 favorites]


That said, I'm so thrilled to be listening to this right now. Thanks so much for posting!
posted by hippybear at 7:22 AM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just a word of warning--don't eat or drink while listening, lest you choke & spray. Like I did.
posted by hexatron at 7:25 AM on May 9, 2011


And, in case you missed it, The Book of Mormon leads the Tony nominations this year. Which means there's a good chance that Matt & Trey will get the second leg in their EGOT this year.
posted by mhum at 7:39 AM on May 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


Trivia: "Fuck God in the Cunt" was first recorded as an alternate line said by Mae West to W. C. Fields in "My Little Chickadee". It ended up on the cutting room floor, but exists in a scratchy video available on the web.

Google couldn't find it for me, but I remember seeing it about a year ago. Maybe on Gawker?
posted by IAmBroom at 7:54 AM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think "Turn It Off" and "Hasa Diga Eebowai" are tied for funniest songs in the book.
posted by ShawnStruck at 8:22 AM on May 9, 2011


Christ, the "Man Up" song is hilarious too.
posted by mathowie at 8:40 AM on May 9, 2011


I love this so very, very much. I wish I had a shot in hell (har) of actually seeing this show. It must be amazing.

Hasa Diga Eebowai, y'all!
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:00 AM on May 9, 2011


I think Stone and Parker are funny and usually brilliant.

That being said: The Book of Mormon, like many of their projects, sounds like an excessively mean potshot aimed at an easy target, tuned for maximum shock.

It's okay to be gross and cynical, but that doesn't mean you should be lazy about it.
posted by Ratio at 9:04 AM on May 9, 2011


Stage shows are so elitist.
posted by delmoi at 9:10 AM on May 9, 2011


That being said: The Book of Mormon, like many of their projects, sounds like an excessively mean potshot aimed at an easy target, tuned for maximum shock.

Have you seen it yet? Most of the previews I've read point out that it's rather warm-hearted towards its Mormon protagoinsts.
The creative team behind the show manages to "avoid the self-congratulatory snark common to their generation of comedy writers.... Neither the Mormons nor the Ugandans are mocked for their belief systems; they're parodied for their mutual human fallibility."
posted by muddgirl at 9:18 AM on May 9, 2011


That being said: The Book of Mormon, like many of their projects, sounds like an excessively mean potshot aimed at an easy target, tuned for maximum shock.

Honestly, I don't think so. It has less to do with LDS than with missionaries in general. It's just that Mormon missionaries are mostly teenagers, which adds to the humour. (See "Baptize Me.")
posted by Sys Rq at 9:21 AM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not to mention, they are aiming just as much at mocking musical theater as much as anything else.
posted by mikepop at 9:23 AM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thank you so much for posting this. If I get fired for listening at work, even more thanks.
posted by theora55 at 9:23 AM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


It would take a lot to be excessively mean to the LDS Church after the Prop 8 debacle.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:24 AM on May 9, 2011 [9 favorites]


Love it! Misotheism for the win!
posted by anotherpanacea at 9:26 AM on May 9, 2011


I had a Theater major explain to me how the South Park movie was a quintessential, classic American musical in its plot and music structure. Blew me away... it's no wonder an actual musical from the duo is a success.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:30 AM on May 9, 2011


decisions, decisions!!

I know! I want to listen, because every review I've heard has been glowing, but I also want to have the music in context.

I've got it! I'll listen to it and then drink myself stupid so I forget! Not only does that plan totally make sense, it's going to make the rest of my work day a lot more entertaining!
posted by quin at 9:31 AM on May 9, 2011


it's no wonder an actual musical from the duo is a success.

Actually a trio. The third writer is Robert Lopez, who won a Tony for Avenue Q.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:33 AM on May 9, 2011


Quick brain dump: Why does every musical have to be a parody of musicals, reviewers? The Book of Mormon just seems to me just regular old comedy musical, which is awesome.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 9:39 AM on May 9, 2011


The Devil Telsa, Book of Mormon is a parody of every musical ever written. Some songs are ripped directly from Wicked, Annie, Lion King, and Little Shop of Horrors.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:40 AM on May 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Some songs are ripped directly from Wicked, Annie, Lion King, and Little Shop of Horrors.

In any case it sounds more outward facing, and therefore more appealing, than a lot of navel-gazing I see out of Broadway.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 9:50 AM on May 9, 2011


(but yea I didn't notice that :p)
posted by The Devil Tesla at 9:51 AM on May 9, 2011


So they've pretty much given up on the Congressional appropriation then?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 9:56 AM on May 9, 2011


Well... "ripped directly" may be a bit too strong.

The thing is, when you're writing a musical score, you're kind of either going to have to do the kind of score which this is, which is exactly right up the same lines as So Many Other Musicals, or you end up experimenting and you end up with things like Sondheim or whatever (who certainly can be pastiched quite well also), or.... what? We really don't have much innovation in musicals largely because it's a pretty well-definied form, and playing with it too much means that the songs aren't easily parsed upon first listen (crucial if you're doing to have an audience following the story).

I really don't see this piece as a parody, just as I didn't see the South Park film as a parody of musicals. They're both just musicals, with rather traditional scores, although very catchy tunes (which you've basically heard before because the musical tropes have been around for generations at this point).

It's a great score. If the book is also as witty and fun, no wonder it's such a huge hit.
posted by hippybear at 9:59 AM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well... "ripped directly" may be a bit too strong.

For the songs where it's the same accompaniment? I don't think that's too strong.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:01 AM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Anyway, I think the story form this comment is relevant here.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 10:05 AM on May 9, 2011


For the songs where it's the same accompaniment? I don't think that's too strong.

Pretty much accusing them of plagiarism, aren't you?
posted by hippybear at 10:12 AM on May 9, 2011


Pretty much accusing them of plagiarism, aren't you?

Only if you think, say, Weird "Al" is a serial plagiarist.

It's a parody. Yes, 99% of modern musical theater is an unintentional parody of itself. This show happens to be an intentional parody.
posted by muddgirl at 10:15 AM on May 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Pretty much accusing them of plagiarism, aren't you?

No, no, not by any means. It was completely intentional. It's not the same, note for note, but it's the same musical idea in each case. Done completely on purpose.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:16 AM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Whoops, I put the scare quotes around the wrong part of "Weird" Al Yankovik's name. Probably because I'm a hater.
posted by muddgirl at 10:19 AM on May 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


Actually, the quotes go around "Weird Al"...

And Mr. Yankovic never credits himself with writing the songs he's parodying. So there's no plagiarism going on there.

As for being intentional pastiche, of course. As for being the same musical idea, see my longer comment above. Musical theater is a form which doesn't take too much innovation easily, due to its constraints.
posted by hippybear at 10:24 AM on May 9, 2011


hippybear, we're talking apples and oranges. Lots of people write intentional pastiche, or try to write an original musical that happens to sound like another one. Lopez, Stone and Parker took "The Wizard and I", "Somewhere That's Green", etc. and used the same notes and feel for their songs.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:29 AM on May 9, 2011


Wait, I'm pretty sure it's actually Weird Al "Yankovik." His real last name is Arnold.

And Mr. Yankovic never credits himself with writing the songs he's parodying.

Mr. Yankovik does self-credited "style parodies" all the time.
posted by muddgirl at 10:30 AM on May 9, 2011


Also, yes, I can not spell "Yankovic" either.
posted by muddgirl at 10:30 AM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wait, I'm pretty sure it's actually Weird Al "Yankovik." His real last name is Arnold.

What?!
posted by kmz at 10:38 AM on May 9, 2011


Mr. Yankovik does self-credited "style parodies" all the time.

Of course. Because they are original compositions, pastiching an artist or group's style. He never credits himself with writing, say, Like A Surgeon or whatever.

Lopez, Stone and Parker took "The Wizard and I", "Somewhere That's Green", etc. and used the same notes and feel for their songs.

I guess I don't know what you mean, then. Taking someone else's melody and music and putting your name on it as author is plagiarism. That seems to be what you're saying they did, while I contend they didn't do that. They instead were doing a possibly unintentional pastiche of Broadway musicals in general because it's nearly impossible to write a musical which doesn't have the same tropes as all other musicals.
posted by hippybear at 10:43 AM on May 9, 2011


Did you actually SEE the show? It sounds like you didn't.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:46 AM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sorry, I thought we were talking about the soundtrack album I just listened to. I didn't know I had to have seen this show before I could talk about the music.
posted by hippybear at 10:52 AM on May 9, 2011


hippy bear, listen to "Mostly Me" again, and see if it doesn't remind you, INTENTIONALLY of The Wizard and I.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:55 AM on May 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


They are definitely referencing other showtunes - doesn't "All-American Prophet" remind you of "Trouble in River City"? Of course it's deliberate, that doesn't make it plagarism.
posted by moxiedoll at 11:04 AM on May 9, 2011


an excessively mean potshot aimed at an easy target, tuned for maximum shock.

You appear to have watched "South Park." But I'm having a hard time believing that you have, since this is basically the premise of every episode.
posted by blucevalo at 11:33 AM on May 9, 2011


I had a Theater major explain to me how the South Park movie was a quintessential, classic American musical in its plot and music structure. Blew me away... it's no wonder an actual musical from the duo is a success.

You might want to check out Cannibal! The Musical, their first movie, which is absolutely a classic musical...about cannibalism in the old west. (Based on a true story, even.)

now going to be humming the Shpadoinkle song all day..."the sky is blue and all the leaves are green, the air is as warm as a baked potato..."
posted by epersonae at 11:39 AM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also don't forget that Team America: World Police was nominally a musical, also.

These guys have never tried to hide that they love this art form.
posted by hippybear at 11:45 AM on May 9, 2011


It's a fine line between a work that self-consciously participates in a genre (i.e., stage musical) and a work of parody - frequently fine enough to be invisible. Blazing Saddles is a western. Spinal Tap songs are, in fact, rock songs.

"Is this a parody or is it really a musical?" is a false dichotomy. Any work in a genre inevitably refigures and reforms previous entries in that genre. That is what it means to participate in a genre.

If they straightforwardly lifted the music from another song and wrote new words, that would be either homage, parody, or plagiarism, depending on the words, degree of change, and intent.

If they wrote music that reminds you SO MUCH of some previous song that you feel it can't possibly be an accident, that's just great genre craft.
posted by Pickman's Next Top Model at 11:50 AM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Is this a parody or is it really a musical?" is a false dichotomy.

Is anyone arguing that parody musicals are not musicals? I don't think so. What I see is some people claiming that no musicals can be parodies of musicals, because musicals are by default self-referential. I don't think that claim holds much water. Example: Rock music is self-referential, and yet Spinal Tap is a parodic rock group.

Fact: The Book of Mormon is a Broadway musical. Fact: The Book of Mormon is a parody of Broadway musicals.
posted by muddgirl at 11:53 AM on May 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


ColdChef, you destroyed my afternoon.
posted by Mcable at 11:54 AM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


No, but people are arguing that there can be musicals that are not parodies of musicals, and I think (barring extreme cases on either side - a baroque attempt at something that's never been tried before a la Sondheim on one end and, say, a naive musical written by someone who had never heard a musical before on the other end) that's wrong.
posted by Pickman's Next Top Model at 11:59 AM on May 9, 2011


Well, yes. That is one definition of "post-modern," and it is true for every piece of art generated since like WWII or something.

Are we just concluding that parody is dead? And no one should attempt it ever?
posted by muddgirl at 12:04 PM on May 9, 2011


I'd say let's agree to disagree, but I have the feeling we might be agreeing. So I'm going to unilaterally agree to agree with you.

I think parody as a category is dead only in that parody is omnipresent, there's not much of anything that you can point to that _isn't_ parody, so parody as a meaningful way of disambiguating from non-parody isn't really valid. Everything is equally parodic.

But some things are more parodic than others.
posted by Pickman's Next Top Model at 12:09 PM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


But some things are more parodic than others.

...so, if some things are more parodic than others, then is it acceptable to discuss things on the "More Parodic" end of the scale as Parodic, and things on the "Less Parodic" end of the scale as "Not Parodic," understanding that it is impossible to be entirely un-parodic and thus we don't need to mention that fact every time we discuss parody?
posted by muddgirl at 12:36 PM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


That's an interesting point of view, but I just don't think the definition of "parody" you are advocating for is as useful as the one that seems to me to be the more usual, which entails at least some degree of mocking intent, as well as a certain comedic sensibility, and perhaps a more deliberate and overt dependence than usual on references to other, earlier shows. What do we gain by throwing away a word that helps us describe the difference between shows like this one and ones like Spring Awakening or Next to Normal or whatever?
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 12:38 PM on May 9, 2011


Sorry, should have gone to sleep last night previewed. That was in response to Pickman's Next Top Model, if that was unclear.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 12:39 PM on May 9, 2011


I hope this is a huge hit, cause I've sitting on a Comedic Light Opera for a while now.

I'm serious.
posted by The Whelk at 12:59 PM on May 9, 2011


parts of it are in esperanto
posted by The Whelk at 1:00 PM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was a lonely child
posted by The Whelk at 1:00 PM on May 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


Hey, it worked for Incubus. (Now I'd like to see an all-singing all-dancing Broadway version of that. With Billy Shatner reprising his role.)
posted by kmz at 1:36 PM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not accusing Parker/Stone of retreading (yes I am, no I am not), but didn't they already do a Mormon-parody film called Orgazmo? I know it wasn't a musical, but it did have one of the best theme songs evar. But really, two big productions about Mormons? And how come Stone & Parker are so damn talented?!
posted by not_on_display at 2:09 PM on May 9, 2011


They've never made a secret about finding Mormonism fascinating. They have said as much in several interviews in the publicity run-up to the opening of this show on Broadway. That they've revisited the subject in various different contexts isn't unusual or surprising.
posted by hippybear at 2:47 PM on May 9, 2011


"Mormonism has sort of been the little thing that's fascinated us the most," says Parker.

I heard this All Things Considered piece on the radio and it touches on why Stone and Parker seem to obsess over Mormons. In short, they're obsessed with Mormons.
posted by polyhedron at 2:58 PM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Cool. Thanks for posting, ColdChef.
posted by The World Famous at 3:08 PM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow. If they were going for "1980s Mormon Roadshow plus gratuitous profanity," they really nailed it. I realize that they're parodying actual Broadway there, but combining Broadway with over-enthusiastic, dorky Mormon culture just brings back so many bad memories of Saturday's Warrior and My Turn On Earth. *shiver*

In spite of my hatred for musical theater and most of Mormon culture, I've been looking forward to seeing and hearing The Book of Mormon. The profanity's not really shocking (sophmoric, yes, but it's Parker and Stone, so it's to be expected). But listening to it now, it sounds so uncannily like every Mormon musical about missionaries that I've ever seen/heard throughout my life as a Mormon that I don't know if I can endure the whole thing. Seriously, combining Broadway and enthusiastically-dorky Mormonism is like the perfect storm of vicarious embarrassment for me.
posted by The World Famous at 3:23 PM on May 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


In short, they're obsessed with Mormons.

Thank god I'm not the only one.
posted by elsietheeel at 3:33 PM on May 9, 2011


combining Broadway and enthusiastically-dorky Mormonism is like the perfect storm of vicarious embarrassment for me.

It sounds like they've accomplished what they set out to do.
posted by hippybear at 3:42 PM on May 9, 2011


It sounds like they've accomplished what they set out to do.

I do think they accomplished what they actually set out to do, hippybear. And I like the songs so far and I plan to see the show when I'm in NYC later this summer. But I don't think what they set out to do is what I think you're implying. Or at least that's not the impression I've got from reading the interviews with them.
posted by The World Famous at 4:08 PM on May 9, 2011


Right. I didn't actually think they were out to troll the Mormons with their musical. But your reaction to it seemed to be so picture-perfect, I had to say that.

If you don't want to end up being the victim of a gentle troll, then don't respond in the way that even the gentle trolls expect you to react to things such as this rather warm-hearted musical about your religion.
posted by hippybear at 5:39 PM on May 9, 2011


I listened to the whole thing, then I listened to Joseph Smith American Moses four more times. I was not planning to make it out to NYC this year, but I might reconsider that. Thanks for the link.
posted by chemoboy at 7:11 PM on May 9, 2011


If you don't want to end up being the victim of a gentle troll, then don't respond in the way that even the gentle trolls expect you to react to things such as this rather warm-hearted musical about your religion.

I don't understand what you mean. How am I the victim of a gentle troll? Are you saying that Parker and Stone expect me to react by thinking they've made more entertaining and slightly less embarrassing version of Saturday's Warrior? And that they expect me to enjoy it? Because that's my reaction. If enjoying something while being vicariously embarrassed because I'm vicariously embarrassed by all Broadway musicals constitutes "being the victim of a gentle troll," I guess I don't mind being a victim. But does that mean that the creators of every other musical I've ever enjoyed were also trolling me? I'm so confused.
posted by The World Famous at 10:15 PM on May 9, 2011


then don't respond in the way

Sorry - I'm just still so perplexed by this, hippybear. How do you think I should be responding?
posted by The World Famous at 10:22 PM on May 9, 2011


Well, I'm not a Mormon (despite having more than a casual exposure to the religion) and I'm not someone who hates musical theater, and I'm not even really a fan of South Park... but it sounds like they made you uncomfortable enough that you weren't sure if you could endure the whole thing... and I think that's what Matt and Trey would hope, although they'd also hope you'd be entertained enough to stick with it beyond your point of discomfort and maybe find the ending isn't quite what you possibly imagined when you felt you'd hit your limit.

That's kind of how they work... pushing their audience right up to the edge, and then luring them on beyond that and providing a Beyond which isn't horrifying after all and lets those who felt like they might abandon them feel as if their fears had no teeth.

It's definite a gentle troll, because in the end, everyone who overcomes it (whether it's an episode of South Park or one of their movies or this Broadway show) comes out the other end feeling as if maybe the point at which they wanted to abandon the experience wasn't actually that extreme after all.

Call it pushing the envelope. Call it moving the Overton window. Whatever it is, they're extremely skilled at it, and nobody walks away from experiencing any of their projects without having their boundaries expanded slightly.

It's their genius, and I salute them for it, even if I may not always dive into what they offer as their craft.
posted by hippybear at 10:24 PM on May 9, 2011


but it sounds like they made you uncomfortable enough that you weren't sure if you could endure the whole thing...

That was a joke about it being too much like Saturday's Warriors and My Turn on Earth. I was completely capable of enduring the whole thing, notwithstanding my vicarious embarrassment brought on by all forms of musical theater and the fact that I grew up squirming in my seat through ward road show after ward road show as a kid. It's not hard to sit through because it's offensive to Mormonism. It's hard to sit through because, aside from the profanity, it's virtually indistinguishable from actual Mormon musical theater, which I never liked sitting through as a grumpy teenager in the '80s or as a Mormon missionary. And the reason I don't like those things is that they're hoky musical theater - which makes me uncomfortable no matter what musical it is.

It's definite a gentle troll, because in the end, everyone who overcomes it (whether it's an episode of South Park or one of their movies or this Broadway show) comes out the other end feeling as if maybe the point at which they wanted to abandon the experience wasn't actually that extreme after all.

The point at which I wanted to abandon the experience was when they started singing. Because I am vicariously embarrassed by all musical theater. So I guess you're right, but you'd also be right if you made the same point about my reaction to Mamma Mia.

But thank you for your clarification, hippybear. I agree with you that Stone and Parker's genius is in pushing the envelope in a way that the audience comes out the other side happy about it. It's just that, as a Mormon, I didn't find any of The Book of Mormon musical (the songs at least) to be pushing the envelope at all, except to the extent that they remind me of how much I've hated musicals about Mormonism ever since I was a kid. For the most part, the parts of the musical that seem most calculated to be offensive to Mormons are not even a little bit offensive.
posted by The World Famous at 10:35 PM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


you'd also be right if you made the same point about my reaction to Mamma Mia

As an ABBA fan who was buying their albums on the day of their release (much harder to research back then, believe me), and as a gay man who was obsessed with Benny Andersson back then (oh, that scandinavian face and beard and furry chest!!!), I find that I LOATHE Mamma Mia. I've tried, really I have. But wow, there's something about that show which just sets my teeth on edge regardless of the production.

I'm amused that you say you've lived through a lifetime of crappy musicals all created by your church for the consumption of their members. Now I wonder how much research Parker and Stone may have done about those as part of creating this musical. Or... it could be... as I've said up-thread... that it's basically impossible to write a musical which isn't somehow an echo of every other musical. Rogers and Hammerstein may have hit at just the right time... but what they did pretty much sets up the walls around what we call "a musical" these days. It's not a bad thing, but even the best shows are still working within that mold.
posted by hippybear at 10:47 PM on May 9, 2011


And on re-reading your comment about Mormon musicals....

I would LOVE for you to maybe do some research and do a FPP about Mormon musicals, if you have the stomach for it. You seem to have the background to know what you'd be researching, and it might be really fascinating. And certainly the soil is ripe for it right now with this other show happening right now.
posted by hippybear at 10:56 PM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm amused that you say you've lived through a lifetime of crappy musicals all created by your church for the consumption of their members.

I don't know that many of them, other than certain pageants (which are crazy), were created by the Church for the consumption of the members. They were, for the most part, created by the members for the consumption of the members. For example, I understand that Lex De Acevedo did Saturday's Warrior as a college project.

When I was, I don't know, maybe 10 or so, my parents dragged me to a production of Saturday's Warrior. They must have been dragged to it themselves, since they both loathe that sort of thing. Anyway, when it was over, I remember asking my dad what, if anything, it had to do with our religion. His response was, basically, "I have no idea - just forget about it," but in a more fatherly way. Then we got back in the car and cleansed our eardrums with the Rolling Stones or Cream or whatever my dad happened to have in the car at the moment. I consider myself blessed to have grown up with parents who hated Mormon pop culture and loved classic rock.

The pageants are, I believe, produced by the Church in some sense - or at least commissioned by the Church. And they are truly grand in their embarrassing and crazy spectacle. But they're not nearly as "Broadway" as the unofficial stuff. Saturday's Warrior has a sort of low-rent Jesus Christ Superstar vibe to it that is really something (awful) to behold.

Based on the interviews with Parker and Stone that I've seen and read, I think they did a ton of research regarding official and unofficial Mormon musicals. They specifically mention the Hill Cumorah Pageant (which, seriously, is insane), and it would really be a shame if they hadn't seen the Manti Pageant, which is at least 20% more kooky and which reflects the extra-crazy beliefs of the Mormons in the Manti area who, though they are technically still within the mainstream church, are pretty out there even by Mormon standards.

I would LOVE for you to maybe do some research and do a FPP about Mormon musicals, if you have the stomach for it. You seem to have the background to know what you'd be researching, and it might be really fascinating. And certainly the soil is ripe for it right now with this other show happening right now.

That's actually a great idea. I would probably have to include Mormon "inspirational" movies, too. There are so many and they're really hilarious.
posted by The World Famous at 11:15 PM on May 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


FWIW, I spent a summer working in Zion National Park, and along with being hard-core scouted as a prospective husband by THREE (count them, three) sisters from a family in Hurricane, I also went to a couple of Mormon theater productions which were happening in the St. George area for the benefit of the tourists.

I don't remember much about the shows, but I remember attending them.

I look forward to seeing what you come up with for a FPP. I only hope that it would be taken in the spirit intended, which isn't always the way things go here in MeFiLand. I'll certainly stand up for its validity if/when it appears. It would be a fascinating window into a slice of the world most people don't see.
posted by hippybear at 11:43 PM on May 9, 2011


Not to be overly meta and/or overly schmoopy, but "in the end, everyone who overcomes it ... comes out the other end feeling as if maybe the point at which they wanted to abandon the experience wasn't actually that extreme after all." kind of describes your conversation there.

As I was reading through it, I was thinking, "hoo, boy ... we've seen this play out before" and started to get uncomfortable and thought "I'll just skip this." But by the end of it, you guys worked through everything and I was all warm and fuzzy.

So ... thanks for staying the course.

Also, ColdChef, thanks for the OP.
posted by Alt F4 at 3:23 AM on May 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


That's actually a great idea. I would probably have to include Mormon "inspirational" movies, too. There are so many and they're really hilarious.

You'd probably have enough links and info do three FPPs: LDS musicals and pageants, inspirational films, and LDS movies in general.
posted by elsietheeel at 6:52 AM on May 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Am I studying for my last law school exam ever? Or am I listening to a five-second repeating loop of the words "Joseph Smith! Don't fuck that baby!"?
posted by prefpara at 1:21 PM on May 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well damn, just went to send this link to a friend and got "Audio for this feature is no longer available."
posted by the_artificer at 7:30 PM on June 8, 2011


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