When I was contemplating going to New York City and looking for entertainment that would provide excellent talent and memorable moments, I kept coming across The Book of Mormon, a Tony award-winning musical that I really hadn’t heard anything about. However, it didn’t sound like something I’d want to see so I kept bypassing it. Today’s Ottawa Metro newspaper has a front-page story with photo all about the musical. Well. . . not really. It asks the question, “Will Mormons see The Book of Mormon?” It is playing this week at our National Arts Centre in Ottawa and the article interviews two local Mormons, one who has seen the musical and one who has not. Not surprisingly, neither would recommend it; but the Mormons may be getting the last laugh — they’ve placed ads in the musical’s programme.
Written by the creators of South Park, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that this show is actually mocking the Mormon religion — as well as making jokes about “racism, genital mutilation, even a man who thinks raping a baby will cure HIV.” Apparently, in this day and age, this kind of satire wins awards. Nine of them. The New York Times has called it “The best musical of this century.” Fortunately, there are 86 more years to have many wonderful musicals surpass it. Often, black humour is just another way of saying “poor taste.”