“The Book of Mormon”–touring company review   Leave a comment

Was it ‘The third time’s a charm’ or was it the dynamic performances by Robert Colvin, Conner Peirson and Kim Exum that made this performance on “The Book of Mormon” stand out in its third trip to South Florida?

This production explains why this show has won 9 Tony Awards including Best musical and had been playing to sold out crowds since opening on Broadway in 2011.  

Robert Colvin, as Elder Price and Conner Peirson as Elder Cunningham are Mormon missionaries sent to Uganda for 2 years to recruit new members to the faith. One of their rules is that they must be by each other’s side that whole time. Elder Price is full of himself who expects greatness to be his, while Elder Cunningham knows more about “Star Wars”, “Star Trek” and “Lord of the Rings” than he does about the Mormon religion. Kim Exum is Nabulungi, the leader’s daughter, a native of Uganda who is a love interest to one of the boys and not the one you would expect.

According to the program Colvin is the understudy for the role of Elder Price and played the role this evening. I don’t know whether it was his first or hundredth time playing the role but he owned it. Delivering the opening number “Hello” with the ensemble or “I Believe” Colvin wins over the audience and when things take a bad turn for him they are on his side pulling for him to be okay. He is also the butt of one of the funniest bits in the show and that’s a play on words that you will understand only if you have seen “The Book of Mormon”!

Conner Peirson is one of the most natural, funniest men you will ever see on stage. Whether it is walking, talking, singing, glancing or lying you will laugh out loud and, yet, when he is hurting or doing wrong you want to hold him and tell him that everything will be okay. He has a running bit through the whole show calling Nabulungi every name but her real name that never fails to get a laugh from the audience. There is nothing funnier than his explaining the Mormon religion to the natives, trying to ‘sell’ them the religion except maybe the “Baptize Me” number with Exum.

Kim Exum seems to have it all starting with a sweet, melodic voice, beautiful looks and handles comedy and drama with equal first rate ability.

Talking about Colvin, Peirson and Exum does not take anything away from the other 29 members of the cast who excel in both individual roles or as an ensemble. Each give as much, even more, than you could ask of any musical performer.

Every aspect of this touring show from costumes by Ann Roth to the scenic designs by Scott Pask to the 12 piece orchestra under the direction of Alan Bukowiecki, to name just a few, contribute, and explain, why “The Book of Mormon” is a hit on Broadway and touring.

The book, and some of the songs, by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone gets a little ‘rough’ at times and though it is satire and a ‘musical comedy’ “The Book of Mormon” touches on many serious issues making it more of a show for grownups than kids.

The running time is 2 hours and 22 minutes including a 20 minute intermission. The show coming to the Arsht Center in Miami is “Finding Neverland” December 26-31.


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