Oh, what a beautiful Mormon: tracing Rodgers and Hammerstein within The book of Mormon

Rush, Adam (2015) Oh, what a beautiful Mormon: tracing Rodgers and Hammerstein within The book of Mormon. In: BAAS Annual Conference 2015, 9th-12th April 2015, University of Newcastle.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Paper)
Item Status:Live Archive


The genealogy between The Book of Mormon, the provocative and offensive musical from the creators of South Park, and the comforting musicals of Rodgers and Hammerstein is not an obvious one. Despite offering different perspectives on American culture, The Book of Mormon draws upon the sentimentality of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s most beloved works, from The Sound of Music to The King and I, to sophisticate their often sanitised world view. This is not to say that these musicals were not progressive in their initial runs, however The Book of Mormon transposes the central tenets of Rodgers and Hammerstein to Uganda, where poverty, AIDS and brutal warlords destroy the population in equal measure. In turn, the need to ‘climb every mountain’ or ‘whistle a happy tune’ seems outdated and, in particular, this paper argues that the romantic lives of singing cowboys, nuns and sailors surprisingly inspires the vulgar language, overt sexuality and satirical nature of this contemporary musical, even whilst “fondly spoofing it”.

Keywords:Musical Theatre, Intertextuality, Rodgers and Hammerstein, The Book of Mormon
Subjects:W Creative Arts and Design > W400 Drama
W Creative Arts and Design > W300 Music
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts (Performing Arts)
ID Code:19990
Deposited On:12 Jan 2016 10:47

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