“The Book of Mormon”: Crude, Offensive, and Fun


Elizabeth Ippolito

Created By: Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, and Matt Stone

Rating: 2/5

We’ve all seen the ads on our TV sets for the Broadway Musical “The Book of Mormon.” The nine-time Tony Award-winning production has been on Broadway since 2011 and is currently on a non-equity tour, performing around the United States. “The Book Of Mormon” came to the well-known Schubert theater in New Haven March 5-8, 2023, bringing in a rather large crowd to see the renowned musical. 

The musical follows Elder Price, a gold-star missionary ready to spread his faith all over the world. When he gets paired with class reject, Elder Cunningham, and sent to Uganda for his first mission he starts feeling challenged by his religion. After learning about all of the struggles the village people of Uganda face and failing to get them hooked on Mormonism, their branch is threatened to close down. Elder Cunningham steps in and creates a wild story that the people of Uganda believe and begin to follow. After baptizing the entire village into Mormonism the head of the church finds out they have been teaching a made-up religion.

Though the show includes some pretty serious topics, the show is considered a comedy. “The Book of Mormon” has very crude humor making light of topics such as aids, prostitution, slavery, and abuse. The production was written by the creators of “South Park”, Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, and Matt Stone; audiences can see that humor shine through on the stage. Though “The Book of Mormon” was not necessarily my sense of humor, there were a lot of laughs coming from the audience. So If you are a fan of “South Park” and dark humor like that, this is a show for you.

The production has a very long setlist with 23 songs and four reprises. The most popular is the introduction of the show “Hello!” which satirizes missionaries and their practices. All of the songs are very harmonious and have that gospel sound making the setlist very powerful. The downside is most of the songs sound very similar. One of the nine Tonys the show won was for Best Original Score in the show’s opening year. 

The set is stunning with a huge switch from Salt Lake City, Utah to Uganda. The sets have a great amount of detail to portray the scene in the best way and the cast was also very talented creating the perfect storm of an entertaining show. Sam McLellan, who starred as Elder Price, fit the role perfectly and owned the stage. The script also does a great job of informing the audience about the history of Mormonism so they can better understand the show. 

“The Book Of Mormon” is definitely something everyone needs to see once just to say they saw it. It is a classic show that is critically acclaimed and is a must-add to any Broadway fan’s roster. Though I am glad I saw the musical, it didn’t live up to my expectations comedy-wise. While some moments were funny, it takes a distinct sense of humor to find the deeply crude jokes funny. 

The show gets overwhelmingly positive praise from the general public. Vogue calls the show, “the filthiest, most offensive, and—surprise—sweetest thing you’ll see on Broadway this year, and quite possibly the funniest musical ever”. To my shock, the show gets praise from the Mormon community. The official response from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints claims, “The production may attempt to entertain audiences for an evening, but “The Book of Mormon” as a volume of scripture will change people’s lives forever by bringing them closer to Christ.” They appreciate the press their church has received and has used it to their advantage. They created promotional materials that state, “Read the book, it’s always better.” So overall, the show is a win-win for all parties involved.

“The Book of Mormon” is a fantastic show to go see if you like great theatrics and a nice story, but if crude and offensive humor isn’t for you it might be best to sit this production out.