Vulgarity and hilarity ensue with 'The Book of Mormon' at The Landmark Theatre

Review: Pelvic thrusts, pop culture references and general NSFW-ness make Broadway smash hit The Book of Mormon, which opened Oct. 21 in Syracuse, a blazing success upstate.

Editor's note: This review originally appeared at Green Room Reviews on October 23, 2014.

With lines like “I have maggots in my scrotum!” and “I am wet with salvation!” creators Trey Parker, Matt Stone and Robert Lopez have kept audiences laughing since March of 2011 when the musical The Book of Mormon premiered on Broadway.

The tour of the show hit Syracuse's Landmark Theatre on Oct. 21 and will be playing through Oct. 26.

The play is about a couple of Mormon missionaries that are assigned to preach the teachings of the prophet Joseph Smith to the people in a small village in Uganda. Elder Price (David Larsen) is the superstar missionary, excelling in every facet of being the perfect Mormon. His hopes of being assigned to the mecca of Orlando, Fl. haunt him as he tries to save people that do not want saving.

His missionary partner Elder Cunningham (Cody Jamison Strand) causes trouble when he tries to attract the villagers to his own creative version of Mormonism involving frogs, AIDS, dysentery, Salt Lake City, Boba Fett and hobbits.

There are so many brilliant parts to this musical that I want to rehash them all. It would take a second and third viewing to catch all of the little jokes and watch each character for reactions and facial expressions.

The cast was amazing, as Broadway actors tend to be. No one person shined more than another, but Strand was particularly memorable. His mannerisms, inflections and subtleties grabbed the attention of the audience.

Strand could be in the background, hidden in the shadow, and from there, caught in the middle of a squat or wiggling his body behind the chorus line, he succeeded each time in riling the crowd into laughter. His moments with Nabulungi (Denée Benton), whom he referred to at various times as “Nefertiti,” “Neosporin,” “Neutrogena,” and “NaJamba Juice,” were cause for more hilarity.

Their duet, “Baptize Me,” began with them crooning “I’ve never done it before,” and included the lines “I’m about to do it for the first time/ And I’m gonna do it with a girl” mixed with a pelvic thrust. The audience lapped up the innuendo.

Again, I could gush all night. The only downside to the event comes from the actual hosting location. Audience members were trailing in 30 minutes late, causing entire rows to file out to let the person in. Many shadowed heads blocked the views of the men in white button up T-shirts dancing around on stage. It was very disruptive and distracting.

Despite the viewing intrusion, this award-winning show is a must-see. Take advantage of seeing this while it’s here in Syracuse. The talent is phenomenal and the script will keep you laughing for the entirety of the show. I came home singing many a vulgar lyric.

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