Monday, February 6, 2017



If your doorbell rings, it could be a neighbor requesting to borrow the proverbial cup of sugar, a mailman needing your signature on a package, a Fuller Brush or Avon salesperson, or even someone trying to convert you to a different religion.  If you are planning to purchase tickets for one of the hottest shows on the planet, then the latter option is most likely, especially if the proselytizers are from the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints.  Of course, the show is the famous or infamous "The Book of Mormon" and it is bringing its controversial and comic rhetoric to The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts from Tuesday, February 14 to Sunday, February 19.

This highly irreverent satire is the winner of nine Tony Awards and was written by the creators of the television cartoon series "South Park," Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone, so seriousness was never on the entertainment menu.  The 15 million people who subscribe to the church founded by Joseph Smith in the 1820's are better known as Mormons and this musical is loosely based on their history, very loosely.  In upper New York lo those many decades ago, Mr. Smith had a vision of an angel and he saw books of golden plates buried in the ground.  His work was continued by Brigham Young who moved the new religion to the borders of Utah where it found a following and a home.

Now is the time to reserve your seat in the pews of the Bushnell to meet a pair of eager missionaries who are being sent out from Utah to educate and convert the uninitiated.  Elder Kevin Price has envisioned his missionary zeal in Orlando, Florida but to his dismay he finds himself paired with Elder Arnold Cunningham, a most unworthy partner, with an assignment of Uganda. Clearly there are no castles or chances of meeting Mickey Mouse.

Their goal is to bring enlightenment to the masses, in the dark and remote and uncivilized regions of Africa.  Not a plum assignment to say the least. For two years, Elder Price will find himself saddled with the nerdy and nebbishy Elder Arnold and asked to achieve the impossible:  bring religion to natives who are busy battling war, poverty, famine and AIDS.  They have little time or interest for prayer. The valiant team meet obstacles at every turn as they struggle to make a difference and improve the lot of their flock.  Repeatedly their faith is tested but, despite all odds stacked against them, many miraculous things occur, all while singing and dancing and telling incredible stories. 

Come be astonished and amused and entertained, but be forewarned the  language is not for the faint of heart. For tickets 
($36.50-122.50), call the Bushnell, 166 Capitol Avenue, Hartford at 860-987-5900 or online at  Performances are Tuesday to Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Be sure to answer your doorbell when these heavenly messengers arrive to offer you salvation, redemption and an angelic choir of humor. 

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