The Book of Mormon @ The Paramount Theatre

Retooled for today 📚 

📸: Julieta Cervantes

📅 Tuesday, January 9th – Sunday, January 14th
📍 The Paramount Theatre: 911 Pine St, Seattle

Stop me if you’ve heard this one. A couple of Mormons go on mission to a Ugandan village and are confronted with their own privileged whiteness. Okay, yes, Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s musical The Book of Mormon premiered during Obama’s first term, all the way back in distant 2011. (It feels like 90 years ago, tbh.) And let’s just say that South Park, Parker and Stone’s flagship enterprise, is no longer the zeitgeist-busting provocateur it was when it exploded onto Comedy Central in the summer of 1997.

So why recommend this one now? Because musical comedy is, IMO, the hardest genre to do right, and tBoM blows most of its contemporaries out of the water in sheer laugh consistency. It still sells like crazy on Broadway even 13 years later and will overtake Jersey Boys this month as the 12th longest-running show in Broadway history. (You’re next, Rent, you lovely Bohemian monstrosity.) And Filipino American composer Robert Lopez (Avenue Q, Frozen, Coco) is an unstoppable double-EGOT.

More interestingly, this might not be the version you’ve seen over the past decade. During the George Floyd protests, several current and former Black cast members sent a letter to the creative staff asking for changes to the show, ones that would better reflect a new world. The script was retooled from the ground up, with Parker, Stone, and Lopez refining the satire and better centering the characters of color. And in an America that only pretends to listen to its most vulnerable citizens, it’s a great start.

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Author

Marcus Gorman

Marcus Gorman is a Seattle-based playwright and film programmer. He once raised money for a synagogue by marathoning 15 Adam Sandler movies in one weekend. You can find him on Instagram and Twitter @marcus_gorman.