The pedigree of “South Park” and “Avenue Q” is evident in the raucous, raunchy musical “The Book of Mormon,” which opened Tuesday night at the Majestic Theatre. Anyone who knows the former will know what to expect from “Mormon,” but what surprised many of the audience members I spoke to at intermission at Wednesday night’s performance was the sweetness and good heart behind the words, many not fit for radio broadcast.
Mark Evans, whose full-throated performance brings Elder Price to life on stage, agrees that the musical is far from being a slag on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
“Everything, in general, is mocked in the show, but the actual message at the end is just celebrating faith.”
The show’s relentless pace brings non-stop laughs for the audience, but for the performers, it can be rough.
“They really put you through your paces in the auditions, because they’ve put together a grueling score,” Evans says with a knowing smile.
The musical was written by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, creators of the Comedy Central hit “South Park,” and Robert Lopez, whose credits include the Tony Award-winning musical “Avenue Q,” and perhaps tellingly, the songs for the 2011 Disney film, “Winnie the Pooh.”
Evans agrees the score makes the show what it is. “As a singer of musical theater nowadays, you rarely get such incredible music, where the songs are massive power ballads or show-stopping numbers, yet they still are full of comedy, and still progress the story,” he says.
In the above-linked audio, Evans describes his own personal faith, his encounters with actual members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, life on the road with a touring Broadway show, and what he hopes to see while he’s in San Antonio.
“The Book of Mormon” runs through September 29 at the Majestic Theatre. Demand for seats has been great, but there are a limited number of tickets still available. A lottery system is also in place that allows lucky theatergoers the chance to get orchestra seats for $25. Each day, 2 ½ hours before show time, you can throw your name in the hat for a chance at the choice seats. The lottery is only available at the box office, 224 E. Houston Street.