THANK GOD! ‘BOOK OF MORMON’ STAYS TRUE TO PROFANE, FUNNY FORM
Ann Roth’s costumes still feature plenty of zazzle (especially when sin is front and center) and more than a few ridiculously apt references to “The Lion King.” The score, under music director Andrew Graham’s orchestra, sounds lush and full.
But the heart (and there is one) of “The Book of Mormon” remains in the delivery of its story, specifically in handsome young super-Mormon Elder Kevin Price (Kevin Clay) and his ungainly, awkward, needy/ nerdy mission partner, Elder Arnold Cunningham (Conner Peirson). Elder Price is the Mormon version of homecoming king. Elder Cunningham is that guy who couldn’t even get elected assistant treasurer of the junior varsity A.V. club.
The plot follows their reversals in fortune, with Elder Price eventually having his come-to-Jesus moment wherein Christ calls him something we cannot here in good conscience quote in full. Clay is ideal as Elder Price, feet planted firmly, hands in determined fists, chin defiantly up, selling the bejesus out of “I Believe.” The anthem is stirring because Clay gives it such undeniable sincerity. Elder Cunningham, meanwhile, becomes a hero thanks to his gift for lying, er, using his imagination.
Kevin Clay and Conner Peirson (with Monica L. Patton, left) star in “The Book of Mormon.”