If you havent already bought a ticket to see The Book of Mormon during the next two weeks, youd better be rich or lucky.
The winner of nine Tony Awards comes to Belk Theater Thursday through Jan. 5. At press time, six of the 16 shows had sold out, and limited seats were available for the others many of those in the $175 range.
Luckily for patient people among us, Blumenthal Performing Arts will make 20 tickets worth $25 available to each show. Entries will be accepted at the Belk box office, starting 2 1/2 hours before each performance; youll print your name and the number of tickets you wish to purchase (one or two), and names will be drawn at random two hours before curtain. You have to be present to win, and you can enter only once a day and win only once overall.
What has prompted this furor? The arrival of the national tour of a musical that still plays to capacity every week on Broadway, nearly three years after it opened. (The average ticket price at the Eugene ONeill Theatre is $213.13, more than twice what it will be here. And the top ticket price is a staggering $477, probably the highest in Broadway history.)
The piece comes with a pedigree. Matt Stone and Trey Parker created the TV show and movie about South Park; Robert Lopez, credited with them as co-composer, co-lyricist and co-librettist, won a Tony for his songs for Avenue Q and is a likely Oscar nominee for songs from the Disney musical Frozen. (He wrote those with Charlottes Kristen Anderson-Lopez, his wife.)
Mormon shocked audiences and critics on two levels when it opened in the winter of 2011. First, Parker and Stone had never written a full-length musical (or anything else) for Broadway, though theater veteran Lopez guided them through the creative procedure.
Second, the script contains characters and subject matter a family newspaper cant relate, including an African warlord (General ---- ------- Naked) who believes its possible to cure AIDS by having sex with an infant. No wonder Blumenthal President Tom Gabbard sent Broadway Lights subscribers a letter warning them Mormon might be too strong to stomach and offering to swap their tickets for another show. (The Blumenthal figured single-ticket buyers knew what they were getting.)
The play follows two naive Mormon missionaries, Elder Price and Elder Cunningham, who are sent to northern Uganda to make converts. They find villagers potentially receptive, or at least curious about their message, but more concerned with AIDS and famine. The elders begin to adapt the Book of Mormon to address these concerns, but the warlord keeps getting in the way....
In case youd like a visual idea of what to expect, here are links to YouTube videos that will give the flavor of the show. I Believe provides a bizarre view of the credo of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and comes from a performance at the 2011 Tonys: bit.ly/1dOZoT8. Spooky Mormon Hell Dream depicts a missionarys fear that hes in for some mighty serious punishment: bit.ly/1hm2roh.
If you love these, prepare to cough up $175 or get in line for the lottery.
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