Upon arriving in Uganda, Elder Price (Nic Rouleau) and Elder Cunningham (A. J. Holmes) are robbed of their luggage, tricked into blasphemy, and told about some of the horrors facing the people they are expected to convert to the church.
The young men are completely unprepared to live in a society so different from their own. Elder Price, a "golden boy" with high expectations set upon him by the church, can't take the pressure and heads to the nearest bus station, hoping to get a transfer to his favorite place in the world, Orlando, Fla.
Left to his own devices, Elder Cunningham continues his mission. He gets lucky when a young woman named Nabalungi (Syesha Mercado) believes that if she gets others to join the church, they will all be invited to leave Africa to live in the Promised Land: Salt Lake City, Utah. Cunningham finds that the only way to hold the interest of the natives is to embellish the scripture to include lies, "Star Wars" references, and stories that actually mirror the problems faced by the villagers.
“The Book of Mormon” is co-authored by Matt Stone and Trey Parker of "South Park" fame, and songwriter Robert Lopez. The play offers a delicate balance between poking fun at the Mormon religion and depicting it with affection at the same time. The show features a strong score and energetic dance numbers, but proves to have a style all its own with explicit language and dialogue that pushes boundaries. There are songs about ignoring feelings, nightmares, cold calling, and staying tough, among others. The show won nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical, in 2011.
If you like stories that follow a preset pattern, this isn't the play for you. Expect the unexpected. From parody to farce to historical reverence, this wild ride keeps you guessing. And laughing. And shaking your head. And laughing some more. This is far from a typical coming-of-age story. Watching how young idealism can be shaped by an extreme environment may leave you entertained -- and hopeful. Is it possible to change the world, and also suit individual cultural needs?
"The Book of Mormon" plays the Buell Theatre from Oct. 22 - Nov. 24, 2013. Tickets range from $45 - $155 and are available online at www.denvercenter.org. The DCPA will also hold a lottery for $25 tickets before each performance. To register for the lottery, arrive 2 1/2 hours before the show. "The Book of Mormon" is not appropriate for children.