‘Book of Mormon’ a clever escape from school stress

Scene from The Book of Mormon

‘The Book of Mormon’ cast members “knock it out of the park.” Catch the musical onstage through Sept. 8 at the Bank of America Theater.

Everyone has been talking about “The Book of Mormon” — the play’s list of accolades from just about every major newspaper and magazine is impressively long.

There’s good reason for all this praise. “Book of Mormon” is, hands down, the best musical I have ever seen.

I went to see the show a few weeks ago, stressed from school and work. But my exhaustion was no match for the opening — goofy musical missionaries in white shirts, black tie and pants pressing imaginary doorbells, singing and waving.

As a South Park fan, I’ve wanted to see “Book of Mormon” since I heard it was coming to Chicago. While the play doesn’t diverge from Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s customary vulgar use of language, it feels more refined and, dare I say, mature. This could have something do with the collaborative efforts of Robert Lopez, who co-created the hit “Avenue Q.”

The story is not only fun, but emotional; you become surprisingly connected to the characters. The songs were fun to listen to, with clever language and melodic hints of “The Lion King,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Little Shop of Horrors,” Stevie Wonder and more — musical appropriation in the best sense.

Even when a set and musical are well crafted, the cast can ruin a production. But they knock it out of the park on this one. Ben Platt will keep you laughing from the first and you will ask yourself, “What is in that Star Wars backpack?”

If you’ve heard good things about the show, you haven’t heard enough. “The Book of Mormon” is great, even if you are too exhausted to imagine how you could enjoy anything.

The play is currently booked at the Bank of America Theater, 18 W. Monroe St., through Sept. 8. Limited $25 tickets are available through a pre-show drawing at the box office on performance days.


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