The sound of musicals

Day 27 of the 100 Word Project

Hey, so there’s this musical you may have heard of called The Book of Mormon that came out in 2011. It was written by a couple of dudes who also work on this show you may have heard of called South Park.

Anywho, the peasants who don’t have thousands of dollars to fly to New York and see a show on Broadway were finally given a chance to see what all the fuss was about on this latest U.S. tour.

Let me tell you, this is some stage magic. It’s got the potty humor typical of basically anything the South Park guys do, but it also has heart. Yes, some of the more unsavory aspects of Mormonism — chiefly the LDS church’s attitude toward people of color before 1978 — are mocked. But what makes the story interesting is the meta stuff going on.

All myth is essentially the same. Bible stories follow tropes you can find in Ancient Greek literature. Those same stories influenced Star Wars and Star Trek. And Elder Cunningham, one of the protagonists, makes the Book of Mormon relatable to the people of Uganda using science fiction tropes. It’s all one big loop of what Joseph Campbell called the myth of the hero. Essentially, The Book of Mormon, a musical, works because it uses the same tropes that the Book of Mormon, a book, also uses.

Which is to say, no new ground is being tread here. But it is funny — at least if you think a character repeatedly interrupting songs to remind everyone that his scrotum is infested with maggots is funny. Otherwise, I don’t know what to tell you. See Hamilton, I guess — if you can afford it.

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