Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Standing O for "Book of Mormon" in WPB

Crude, Rude Lewd but Funny & Tuneful

By Skip Sheffield

“The Book of Mormon” is crude, rude and lewd. It is also very funny and surprisingly tuneful.
The debut run of “The Book of Mormon” through Sunday, Dec. 21 at Kravis Center is pretty much sold-out, so we will keep this short. Evidently the West Palm Beach audience is more in tune with this Trey Parker-Robert Lopez-Matt Stone musical comedy than Broward County was when it opened there last year. We saw no walk-outs in WPB and the audience was the most enthusiastic I’ve ever seen at Kravis. They actually stayed all the way through a long standing ovation.
This cast features several veterans of the Broadway cast. Principal among these is Cody Jamison Strand, the shorter, chubbier partner of a mismatched duo with tall, lithe David Larsen. Strand and Larsen are Elders Cunningham and Price. After completing their missionary training, the “Elders,” who are in their late teens and early 20s, are given assignments to all parts of the world. Elder Price had dreamed of Orlando (a recurring joke), but instead he and Elder Cunningham are sent to Uganda; one of the most unstable, diseased countries in Africa.
This is the setup for all kinds of cultural, spiritual and sexual shocks. Parker and Stone are the guys behind the foul-mouthed cartoon series, “South Park.” Lopez is the composer-lyricist of the equally outrageous puppet show “Avenue Q.” If you don’t know these facts, you might be quite offended.
I found “Book of Mormon” even more enjoyable the second time around because I was able to concentrate more on the music. The ensemble vocal work is fabulous and so is the live musical accompaniment. Cody Jamison Strand is the standout male vocalist and darling Deenee Benton is irresistible as the Chief’s daughter, Nabulungi. Evidently the Church of the Latter-Day Saints is OK with the show because they took out three full-page ads for the actual Book of Mormon.
Though the show is sold-out, turn-backs or no-shows are possible. Tickets start at $45. Call 800-572-8471 or go to

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