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230 West 49th Street, New York, NY 10038


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Tony Winner

Tony Winner

"Three years is a long time for a peppy musical to stay peppy... But gosh darn it if I didn't feel born again all over again!"

Ben Brantley, New York Times

Buy Tickets For Book of MormonBuy Tickets

BWW Review: THE BOOK OF MORMON Testifies the Modern Musical

Gammage Auditorium fires up its impressive 2015-2016 season with the high-profile opener The Book of Mormon. An artistic success and certified hit, the production also beams with the community success of finally bringing the production to Tempe.

In its 51st year and considered the last public commission of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium is just six miles from another historic building. Due east is the Mesa Arizona Temple. It was dedicated by the LDS church in 1927, it spent years as the largest LDS temple outside of Utah and was the first to offer ordinances in a language other than English (Spanish). So while The Book of Mormon may have played Salt Lake City without scandal, the Phoenix area Mormon community is almost as rooted and just as capable of unrest. The musical was not an automatic booking; it took some extra time and coaxing. The reputation of authors Trey Parker and Matt Stone (of South Park fame) is well-established and well-earned, and the delay in getting The Book of Mormon onto the Gammage schedule became increasingly apparent. Ultimately, its absence added to the excitement and sense of occasion. The energy throughout the house on opening night was remarkable and worth the wait.

In this tour, Billy Harringon Tighe and A.J. Holmes play Elders Price and Cunningham, two Mormon teenagers fulfilling their missionary duty in Uganda. It's part buddy-comedy, part fish-out-of-water, and its an expert satire of musical theatre. "You and Me (But Mostly Me)" could be in WICKED. "Joseph Smith American Moses" is an homage to THE KING AND I. Every number is a valentine to a different Broadway theatre device. Mr. Parker, Mr. Stone, and the third author, Robert Lopez (AVENUE Q, FROZEN), satirize with reverence and affection and land it at the top of this century's musical comedy scores.

The two lead gentlemen, as well as Stanley Wayne Mathis as Mafala and Brian Beech as Elder McGinley provide the biggest laughs. Alexandra Ncube, paying a visit to her hometown on this tour stop, performs with priceless sincerity. Her ballad "Sal Tlay Ka Siti" is unfeigned. Her earnestness sets her scenes apart and starts THE BOOK OF MORMON towards its message. That last sentence should have had a "spoiler alert". THE BOOK OF MORMON does have a message; All religions include stories and beliefs that are preposterous to others, but the goals and theme of the stories are as important, if not more, than the stories themselves. Mormonism is simply the theology singled out by this show. An earnest try to understand THE BOOK OF MORMON reveals a pro-LDS stance.

The enthusiastic reception from the audience corroborates Gammage's bid as a first tier National Tour destination. In January, Idina Menzel brings IF/THEN to Tempe, one of just seven cities she visits with the show. It's every indication that producers think the Valley is ready for the modern musical. Let's hope we don't let them down.

THE BOOK OF MORMON plays until November 8th. Tickets are only available through third parties or by lottery at the Gammage box office before each performance.

Article reprinted with permission from

What You Say

10 reviews, average rating: (3.6 Stars)

Scott Watson: “O-M-Gosh”

This performance was completely irreverent, only to be outdone by the atypi... more

Michael: “Fantastic”

Saw Book of Mormon last saturday night and loved it. A refeshing change on... more

Chip Tamplin: “Amazing Show/venue”

Saw Book of Mormon during its previews in February and it was incredible.... more

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