AISLE SAY Philadelphia


Book, Music and Lyrics by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone
Directed by Casey Nicholaw and Trey Parker
Forrest Theatre
114 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA
For Tickets call 800-447-7400 or go online at
Playing from July 29th for a Limited Seven Week Engagement

Reviewed by Claudia Perry

The Book of Mormonkicked off its National Tour this week at the Forrest Theatre for a limited seven week engagement. Presented by Broadway Philadelphia, a collaboration of The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts and the Shubert Organization, this provocative show has not only won nine Tony Awards, but has also garnered Best Musical Awards from the New York Drama Critics Circle, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and the Drama League. It also lays claim to a Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album. Written by two of the creators of the critically acclaimed, “South Park”, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, they have been joined by the equally talented Robert Lopez (co-writer of the score for “Frozen” and co-creator-author of "Avenue Q".)

As you may ascertain from the title, “The Book of Mormon” follows the misadventures of two uber-idealistic, young Mormons (Elder Price and Elder Cunningham) who have been assigned to serve their two year mission in Uganda. Full of youthful zeal and ignorance they soon find out that Ugandans live in what appears to be insurmountable poverty, ignorance and fear. The possibility of proselytizing these people and having them convert to the Mormon faith seems hopeless. That is until Elder Cunningham starts to improvise and changes the stories involving Joseph Smith (Founder of Mormonism) and Brigham Young (Smith’s protégé) to please the Ugandans. As you can imagine, when the Mission President finds out what the boys have been teaching the natives, all “hell” breaks loose.

The cast is young, energetic and all around terrific. KJ Hippensteel as Elder Price, possesses an angelic tenor voice combined with enough kinetic energy to power a nuclear power plant. Christopher John O’Neill is completely lovable as the klutzy, not very bright Elder Cunningham, who inadvertently saves the Ugandans from their gruesome dilemma. Alexandra Ncube is a sheer delight as Nabulungi, the young Ugandan virgin whose sexuality is in peril from the reigning warlord. That warlord is General Butt F*ing Naked (who of course is only listed in the program as the General), played with ample gusto by Corey Jones. Grey Henson is very funny as Elder McKinley, a closeted gay Mormon who has learned to just “switch it off”. I would tell you this was the title of a very funny song, but since none of the musical numbers are listed in the program, I can’t say for sure what the title was. I’m assuming the authors did this for two reasons: number one – so they wouldn’t give away the joke and number two – because many of the songs were highly scatological. Either they didn’t want the titles to have a whole bunch of asterisks in them – or they didn’t want to scare audience members before they had seen the show. So Parental Alert: this show is full of very raunchy, wickedly gross humor – just like South Park -- only this is live theater so there’s lots of cursing and no bleeps. But if you take no offense at Jesus appearing and speaking with the voice of Cartman – then you will love this show.

I usually pour on the adulation for the musical numbers which are especially exciting, but since there’s no listing – I’ll just have to guess at the titles. “I Believe” is a great song – which has been given a lot of airplay on the Broadway Channel on Sirius Radio. “I’m Going to Baptize You” is quite adorable sung by Elder Cunningham and Nabulungi and the big chorus number “Spooky Hell Dream” is a hoot.

For tickets call 800-447-7400 or go online at

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