Tony Award Winning The Book of Mormon Returns to Los Angeles

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The company of “The Book of Mormon. at the Ahmanson Theatre. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

The raunchy clever and snarky The Book of Mormon has returned to LA for a short run at The Ahmanson Theatre through March 29.

The lyrics, book and music were created from the minds of “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, with help from “Avenue Q” creator, Robert Lopez. The show has won nine Tony Awards including Best Musical.

The show is not for those who take their religion literally or seriously. Audience members should be prepared for jokes about AIDS, warlords, female genital mutilation, baby rape and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The plot involves a team of teenage Mormon missionaries including self-absorbed aggressive Elder Kevin Price (brilliantly portrayed by Liam Tobin) who is paired with nerdy needy Arnold Cunningham (the talented Jordan Matthew Brown) who are sent to Uganda in search of souls to share. One missionary, Elder Price, is an enthusiastic go-getter with a strong dedication to his faith, while his partner, Elder Cunningham, is a socially awkward but well meaning nerd whose tendency to embroider the truth soon lands him in trouble. Upon their arrival in Africa, Elders Price and Cunningham learn that in a society plagued by AIDS, poverty and violence, a successful mission may not be as easy as they expected.

The upbeat numbers include “Hasa Diga Eebowai!” which has a special message for the almighty; “Turn It Off,” an ode to repression; “Baptize Me” a double entendre duet with Arnold and Nabulungi (played by Alyah Chanelle Scott) a naïve hopeful village girl and the elaborate “Spooky Mormon Hell Dream,” are clever, catchy and left audience members clapping along with glitzy dance numbers and outstanding vocals.

Religion isn’t the only target in “The Book of Mormon” with jokes also aimed at “The Lion King,” “Starbucks,” Bono and Johnny Cochran.

“The Book of Mormon” is now playing at The Ahmanson Theatre through March 29. Tickets at www.centertheatregroup.org.

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Shaena Engle
Shaena Engle is a food, lifestyle and travel writer for a variety of publications, including the Los Angeles Times, Pasadena magazine, AOL, The Daily Meal, The San Diego Union Tribune and PokerPro magazine. She has interviewed top chefs including Lidia Bastianich, Michael Chiarello, Hubert Keller, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Jose Andres, and many others. She has authored three books, The Cheap Bastard’s Guide to Las Vegas (Globe Pequot Press), The Best Places to Kiss in Southern California (Beginning Press, a romantic travel guide) and Silver Linings: Triumphs of The Chronically Ill and Physically Challenged (Prometheus Books).  She is also an amateur magician and often writes on gambling, poker and magical happenings.  She also is a freelance consultant on restaurant, food, travel and hospitality public relations and marketing efforts.
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