Book of Mormon: Orpheum Theater San Francisco 1/12/14

It’s not unusual for a matinee performance to feature an understudy or two, even in the  2 month stay of a bus and truck tour. So it was a degree of trepidation that I noted Cody Jamison Strand was listed in the loose sheet addition to the playbill as Elder Cunningham, a not inconsequential leading role in Book of Mormon. To make matters worse there was no mention made of any biographical information. Into the void we were open to spin a fantasy or two.

Did the B of M company currently at The Arnoff in Cincinnati need an emergency Cunningham and so was giving an emergency tryout to Strand in SF just to make sure he could do it? Did AJ Holmes, the regular SF Cunningham, get so wrapped up the 49er-Panther playoff game that he forgot to make call?

We’ll never know.

What I do know is that Strand played his Elder with panache and winning ease. The mark of a pro is that the audience never figures out who the substitute is.

What one gets about the show is the fun Trey Parker and Matt Stone must have had writing it. Everybody knows the creators of South Park have always had a walk on the  great line between paying homage to The Great White Way while simultaneously goofing on it.

The straight man for their comedic daggers in B of M is the Lion King which was just too juicy to pass up.

In a similar vein there is plenty of skewering of the happy coincidences that the Mormon faith’s believers can never doubt and skeptics will never countenance. While not intended as treatise on Mormonism, there is obvious affection for the Mormon culture that allow Parker and his cohorts to avoid mere mean spiritedness while it actually aids them as they rip to shreds vast quantities upon various Mormon beliefs.

Beyond that all I can say is that the show has great energy, worthy dancing, and performances that are outstanding.

3 thoughts on “Book of Mormon: Orpheum Theater San Francisco 1/12/14

  1. Billy Goat on January 15,2014 at 3:24 pm said:

    It’s not unusual for a John Bogardus review to have one or two mistakes.

    Strand is the lead for the national tour, former lead on broadway. One should probably research this before publishing a review.


    • John Bogardus on January 15,2014 at 5:14 pm said:

      Let’s give it up for Billy Goat as the first to point out my most egregious faux pas so far since starting PsychologicalReviewOfTheArts 2 years ago. The mistake was laziness as I went with one gut feeling while ignoring another.

      Let it be known, taking a page from Chris Christie, that I have fired my fact checker who is also my deputy chief of staff. And that would be me! Seriously I have learned my lesson. It wouldn’t have been hard to google “strand mormon”.

      The instinct I ignored was how polished the performance was of Mr. Cody Jamison Strand. My Spidey Sense should have told me this kid was too good to be in the situation I incorrectly surmised.

      But Billy, don’t leave me with positive reinforcement by pointing out my mistakes. (And yes dialog with the reader is part of my definition of positive re.) Though I do get it, most of us just concur rather than go on about it when we agree with the reviewer. In any event thanks for taking the time.

  2. Rachel on January 15,2014 at 4:00 pm said:

    Cody Jamison Strand has just joined the 2nd National Tour of The Book of Mormon fresh from Broadway, where he has been playing Elder Cunningham for the last 8 months.

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