Ding Dong! Hello! My name is…
So this past Saturday, a friend and I went to see the Broadway tour cast perform the Book of Mormon at the Hippodrome Theater in Baltimore.
I’m getting to know Baltimore fairly well. Recently, a close family member has been in the hospital in the city, so I’ve had to force myself to learn city driving despite the two behemoths of stadiums right around the corner. It just so happens that the Hippodrome is also around the corner – a different corner this time – and I managed to procure tickets for the show a week prior to the event.
It was practically sold out, except for the really expensive seats. But the woman at the box office managed to find me a couple cheap tickets. I was worried because she said they were obstructed view seats. Although she assured me they were great seats, the bright red words across the two tickets had me rather concerned.
I was picturing a large pole in front of our seats, though I’d been in this theater before and knew that that was not how it was constructed. Our seats were a few rows back on the left side of the stage, and the only obstruction was caused by the angle. A mere sliver of the stage eluded me, though my friend a seat to my right could see everything fine. Not much happened back there. I know some things did, but not much.
I didn’t know much about the music ahead of time, just the clips of “I Believe” I’d heard from Andrew Rannells’ performance on youtube. Our Eldar Cunningham was spot on with the cast recording, but our Eldar Price had a smoother sound than Rannells. A little less Broadway, a little more charming crooner. I thoroughly enjoyed the two actors’ stage relationship because their differences were starkly apparent.
“Making Things Up Again” keeps getting stuck in my head even a week later, and I remember loving the visuals in “Spooky Mormon Hell Dream” and the irony in “Hasa Diga Eebowai” which my friend adored (he bought the shirt).
Although the musical did not change my life the way RENT or even Spring Awakening had, there’s something about live theater that keeps my blood pumping. It’s always exciting to be watching a live production and all the nuances of individual performances. I keep thinking of the little things that made the performance hysterical: the way Jesus said “Ah…am Jesus” and how Cunningham’s voice kept breaking, and of course the references to some of my favorite things, including Star Wars and Lord of the Rings and Orlando – because DISNEY!
Delightfully offensive and crude, Book of Mormon redeems itself from trite stereotyping with its clever writing. In many ways the play makes fun of itself just as much as it satirizes the spread and creation of religion. The play recognizes it’s own ridiculousness, and this is how it thrives within a genre of great comedic musicals.