'Hasa Diga Eebowai'
In 2011, a musical full of curse words and Mormon missionaries swept that year’s Tony Awards and was praised as a triumphant return of the American musical. This book explores the inherent achievements (and failures) of The Book of Mormon—one of the most ambitious, and problematic, musicals to achieve widespread success. The creative team members—Matt Parker, Trey Stone and composer Robert Lopez—were collectively known for their aggressive use of taboo subjects and crude, punchy humor. Using the metaphor of boxing, Granger explores the metaphorical punches the trio delivers and ruminates over the less-discussed ideological wounds that their style of shock absurdism might leave behind.
This careful examination of where The Book of Mormon succeeds and fails is sure to challenge discussion of our understanding of musical comedy and our appreciation for this cultural landmark in theatre.
Table of Contents
Preface: The Biggest Man-Balls on Broadway
Introduction: Fit for the Ring—A Training Montage
1. Tradition versus Originality: Musical Theatre’s Titleholder and Its Number One Challenger (A Win)
2. The Fight America Wanted: Faith as Creative Self-Guidance Versus Faith as Dutiful Collective Obedience (A Win)
3. Cheap Shots: Western Representations of Africa Versus African Diaspora Realities (A Loss)
4. A Caution: Putting LGBTQ Advocacy on Queer Street
Conclusion: Split Decision—Defending the Offending Champions
Brian Granger is Assistant Professor of Theatre at Mary Baldwin University in Staunton, Virginia, and is a songwriter, playwright and alumnus of NYU’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program. His works for the stage include Rebel Moon and Dierdre: An a cappella Rock Opera.