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Murat Theatre at Old National Centre
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Indiana
Indianapolis, IN
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'The Book of Mormon' Lives up to Expectations

by Rita Kohn
June 19, 2014
Murat Theatre at Old National Centre
510 North New Jersey Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204-1517
877-686-5366
This review was originally published in NUVO Newsweekly, Indianapolis, IN.

Rita Kohn is a member of the Board of the Dance Critics Association.
Audaciously in-your-face, "The Book of Mormon" equally leads you into raw truth and earned wisdom. Uh-huh, Africa is nothing like "The Lion King", nor is self-righteous belief the one-way ticket to redemption. You might squirm a bit through the language, yet you'll squirm much more as you recognize yourself in the mirror of humanity prancing and preening across the tableau unfolding from and refolding into itself.

Smart dialogue and sharp observations come back to bite you –they're not just there for your spontaneous laughter or momentary shock—"Break the rules to make a change," "There is no promised land. It's not an actual place. It's an idea." Some 4-feet tall bullies and hangers on make your third grade miserable. Some six-feet bullies with weapons terrorize a village. As a delightful tipsy-turvey mash-up of borrowing across centuries from "Lysistrata" to "Lion King", "Carmina Burana" to "Music Man", "Uncle Tom's Cabin" to "King and I", "Miss Saigon" "Madama Butterfly" to "Avenue Q", the Gospels to "Jesus Christ Superstar", etc etc etc, you're swept into a world of "Believers" whose fabric of belief unravels when 'their way' confronts another way. The characters on stage are as fresh and head-shakingly real as network news, except they dance and sing and deliver lines pointedly directed to entertain.

Creators Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone are sharp observers of universal truths and personal foibles and they're not shy about letting us know they know. The running gags never outlast their welcome, the newest turn of events always suprises. It's a musical with legs and a slew of awards to prove its worth.

Everything about the production is fast-paced, sharply etched, at-the-top of audience expectations. Everything works as a cohesive unit—sets, lighting, sound, costumes, dialogue, music, dancing, singing flow flawlessly across terrains—there are no distracting elements, except maybe the truths we learn about ourselves.
THE BOOK OF MORMON First National Tour Company

THE BOOK OF MORMON First National Tour Company

Photo © & courtesy of Joan Marcus


Phyre Hawkins, Mark Evans, Christopher John O'Neill THE BOOK OF MORMON First National Tour

Phyre Hawkins, Mark Evans, Christopher John O'Neill
THE BOOK OF MORMON First National Tour

Photo © & courtesy of Joan Marcus


Mark Evans, Derrick Williams THE BOOK OF MORMON First National Tour

Mark Evans, Derrick Williams
THE BOOK OF MORMON First National Tour

Photo © & courtesy of Joan Marcus

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