From: Donna Banta
Subject: I witnessed the Book of Mormon!
Way back in January a group of Post-Mormons I met on Facebook decided to see The Book of Mormon on Broadway. Mark and I figured why not join them? After all, those South Park guys write pretty good stuff. It was a safe bet they'd deliver again. But even if the show turned out to be a dog we'd still enjoy it. (It couldn't be any worse than the work it was based on.)
So I, along with several others, sent checks to a woman we'd never met, who had charged tickets to her credit card for people she had never met. Meanwhile, David, a NYC resident, made reservations at two different restaurants for large parties of people he had never met. (But none of us worried because everyone was Ex-Mormon!)
Then on March 24 I opened up my New York Times and read this rave review by Ben Brantley.
Immediately I was gripped by a dread that worsened as the days progressed. Did we really have tickets to The Book of Mormon? What if something went wrong? Like we missed the plane, or the box office screwed up, or the entire production got taken back up to heaven? Oh my god!
Mark was trapped in an all together different gulag, by a co-worker who repeatedly warned him of the musical's potentially offensive material. "Mr. Banta, that show has lots of swear words." "Mr. Banta, have you ever watched South Park? It's pretty irreverent." Things came to a head early last week with the following exchange: "Mr. Banta, my friend told me they say the 'c' word in that play at least fifty times!" "Exactly what do you mean by the 'c' word?" The young man shut Mark's office door, swung around, and whispered, "cunt."
|Crowd clamors for a free "Book of Mormon"|
|Olivia, me, and Mark|
|The Book of Mormon -- rated R|
|I wonder what the playwright O'Neill|
would have thought.
Five minutes into the performance I thanked god for the Book of Mormon.
Because the show begins with the premise that all Mormon boys are expected to go on missions, the audience immediately sympathizes with the two main characters in spite of their foibles. Elder Price is a self-righteous pretty boy goody two-shoes, and Elder Cunningham is a pudgy self-conscious schlub who tells lies to win people's approval. (Think of Nephi and Lemuel as mission companions. Or for those who haven't read the sacred text, Wally Cleaver and Lumpy.)
HOT PINK VESTS. It was a miracle. Another winner was "Spooky Mormon Hell Dream," where poor Elder Price is terrorized by Genghis Khan, Hitler, Johnny Cochran, and a duo of dancing Starbucks' cups. But perhaps the biggest miracle came at the curtain call, when the mostly young and unknown cast received a rousing standing ovation. What a moment for them! And deservedly so. They had served with honor, and the spirit was never stronger.
Afterward there was the party David arranged at Nocello with the usual loud laughter, light-mindedness, evil speaking of the Lord's anointed, and in my case, martinis. We even have the t-shirts to remember it by.
|Jenny arranged for the shirts!|
This is the back, the front says "Ban Mormon Marriage."