I have no clue how my obsession with The Church of Latter Day Saints came to be. The LDS or Mormons, fascinate me to the point where I have been asked if I was indeed a member based on my knowledge of their culture.
There’s a few Mormon missionaries who haunt my neighborhood, looking like clean cut 1950 throwbacks as they head door to door trying to convert people to their way of life.
The last time they were in the neighborhood, I made the mistake of making eye contact with them. This was all the duo needed to bound up the steps and begin an intense conversation about Heavenly Father. When Elder Green asked about my knowledge, I truthfully answered that it was from “The Book of Mormon.” His eyes lit up until his partner, Elder Grant, explained in an exasperated way, that the Book of Mormon was the musical from South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, and Avenue Q co-writer Robert Parker.
They spent a few more minutes trying to sell me on Joseph Smith and the Golden Plates he found, but I was already zoning out, itching to return to my latest English assignment and the offending soundtrack. I see them every now and then, and I have paged through their tome, The Book of Mormon. But I prefer the more salacious books about the fundamental Mormons and of course the musical.
The musical opens up with “Hello.” In Hello, future missionaries are taught how to head door to door and introduce the world to the wonders of Mormonism. Some reviews liken it to the opening of Bye, Bye Birdie. I haven’t seen the show so I can go by what I hear. To me, I’m reminded of the scene from the Disney movie Pocahontas when the English set off to find gold. Then we cut to “Two by Two,” where are missionaries are paired off to head to their destinations. The stars of the show, Elder Price and Elder Cunningham, are sent to Africa. Elder Cunningham sums up what we should expect when he responds “oh, Boy: Africa! Like Lion King?”
The musical has all of the elements of a smash, such as:
- The tight opening number, “Hello!”
- The ‘I Wish’ song, “You and Me (But Mostly Me)”. The I Wish song is the song that a man character sings to let the audience know what is their deepest desire.
- A splashy all cast number, “Hasa Diga Eebowai”. This is an explicit view of what the villagers feel about their Higher Power. One I have unfortunately sang many times in the past week as I wrestle (again) with my faith.
- Andrew Lloyd Webber fans should be delighted at the “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” feel of “All American Prophet
- A nod to The Sound of Music in the song “I Believe”
- And the dirtiest baptism song I have ever heard in “Baptize Me.” Sample lyric: I’m wet with salvation, we just went all the way…”
Not since Little Shop of Horrors have I listened to a musical to the point where I have the rest of the house breaking into song without realizing it. The Boy sang “Hasa Diga Eebowai,” before he realized it meant (in politer terms) screw you, higher power. When I feel a need to get my rear in gear, I warble “Man Up!” the end of the first act song that sets our characters up for the next act and their new roles in the story. The Teen rolls her eyes every time she hears it, and The Mister has been perusing the net to find tickets for us to see this show.
As the holiday season gears up and my favorite radio stations begins to play Christmas tunes ad nauseum, I have this gem to play ad nauseum.
Tomorrow is indeed, a latter day.