By the time this post is done, I will have listened to the Original Cast Recordings of two musicals over the span of a ten hours. I am well aware that it is the auditory equivalent of eating nothing but comfort food; it’s just been a really long and ghastly week. Long story short, NPR is to blame.
I was doing some work when I saw that NPR posted a link on Facebook about Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s1 “The Book of Mormon” and a couple of clicks later, I was listening to Elders sing about their missions! Naturally I – Wait, I have to preface the rant with a confession: I can’t resist a musical. This is not to say that I see a lot of them, seeing how I’ve never lived in a city where I had constant access to musicals, never mind good ones. Instead I just listen to the soundtracks over and over again so I can try to imagine what it looks like with a chorus and lights and full orchestra; I’m good at that.
1 Almost typed ‘Matt Smith’ instead, I clearly have Who on the brain.
So when I listen to the recording of “The Book of Mormon” I find it really easy to picture this as it was intended to for public consumption. It’s full of songs that go with huge production numbers, yet at the same time the songs seem like they could also be performed in really intimate venues. There are certain shows which I cannot even fathom downscaling, such as “Billy Elliot” or even the ever popular “Wicked”. I really can’t imagine how you could have the showdown between the police and the miners in “Billy Elliot” on the stage in the Edinburgh Playhouse; nor can I imagine Glinda the Good Witch making her entrance in Act 1 in another way. That having been said, I am not paid to downscale these humongous shows so what do I know? *Kanye shrug* If they do end up doing a production on West End in 2012 I will most certainly make that trek to go see it. Let’s just keep various appendages crossed.
There are elements in “The Book of Mormon” which reminds me of “Altar Boyz”, and it’s not because both shows are about Christian men on a mission to save our souls. Sure, both of these shows are poking fun at organised religion and certain aspects of the premise of what these men are doing but it’s also about having faith. On top of that, the song ‘Baptize Me’ also reminds me of ‘Epiphany’ from “Altar Boyz” but only because they are both delightfully innuendo-tastic. Call it whatever you will but “The Book of Mormon” is really not that subversive aside from the rather rude lyrics, the in-show Ugandan take on Mormonism, the very cheeky innuendo-laden song about baptism and well, never mind…2
2I used to think that “The Producers” was the one musical that you really couldn’t sing in public, but it only had that one song. “The Book of Mormon” is an hour and thirteen minutes of NSFW showtunes 😀
Then I moved onto “Rock of Ages”. No one ever told me this was a medley musical, full of songs from THE EIGHTIES. It’s not a something I would go see per se, but I sure as hell enjoyed the very healthy collection of eighties anthems *insert slightly confused face here* I don’t really understand my appreciation of eighties music, I file that under the the same tab along with my thing for Eurovision. I’ve come to realise that I should just roll with it. The cast doesn’t seem to have the strongest of voices so it is nowhere near as impressive when you compare it to “The Book of Mormon”. Yet there is something irresistible about a medley musical; I enjoyed the matinee of “Mamma Mia” even if the understudy to one of the dads was wildly out of tune. I think knowing all the songs and singing along to them in your head is just a universally pleasing notion.