‘The Book of Mormon’ delivers laughter

Photo by Joan Marcus. Ryan Bondy (second from left) as Elder Price and Cody Jamison Strand (right) as Elder Cunningham, Mormon missionaries, arrive in Uganda in the satirical musical “The Book of Mormon” at the Fisher through Nov. 13. For tickets, call 800-982-2787 or go to ticketmaster.com or broadwayindetroit.com.

Photo by Joan Marcus. Ryan Bondy (second from left) as Elder Price and Cody Jamison Strand (right) as Elder Cunningham, Mormon missionaries, arrive in Uganda in the satirical musical “The Book of Mormon” at the Fisher through Nov. 13. For tickets, call 800-982-2787 or go to ticketmaster.com or broadwayindetroit.com.


If you’re looking for laughter, you won’t want to miss the Tony Award-winning satirical musical “The Book of Mormon,” running through Nov. 13 at the Fisher Theater in Detroit.

When two earnest yet naive Mormon missionaries are sent to a remote Ugandan village, they get a quick reality check when they find the local people are more worried about AIDS, their poverty and an oppressive warlord.

The humor, created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of “South Park,” and Robert Lopez, a co-creator of “Avenue Q,” is irreverent, satirical, definitely “adult,” and very funny.

The pace is quick, the set and costumes colorful, and the choreography a lot of fun to watch – there is humor in the movement as well.

Cody Jamison Strand is great as Elder Cunningham, the lovable nerd who wins over the Ugandans by slipping in popular science fiction and film references into his description of Mormon scripture, using his imagination find a way to relate to his culturally opposite audience. One ends up rooting for his inventive underdog personality.

Candace Quarrels as Nabulungi, the village ingenue, is full of passion, energy and talent.

Other standouts in the cast include Daxton Bloomquist as Elder McKinley, the earnest young man trying humorously to deny his gay nature; David Aron Damane as the General, aka “oppressive warlord;” and Sterling Jarvis as Mafala Hatimbi, Nabulungi’s father and unofficial village protector.

The ensemble is amazing, constantly in motion, making the choreography look great, and keeping the pace of the show swift and engaging.

The show runs 8 p.m. Nov. 9 to 12; 2 p.m. Nov. 12 and 13; and 7:30 p.m. Nov. 13.

Tickets are available through Ticketmaster, 800-982-2787, or online at broadwayindetroit.com or ticketmaster.com.
For more information about the show, go to BookofMormonTheMusical.com.


The Players Guild of Dearborn continues its 89th season with “Legally Blonde – the Musical,” with music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Neil Benjamin, and book by Heather Hach.

The show runs 8 p.m. Nov. 11, 12, 18, 19, 25, 26 and Dec. 2 and 3, and 2:30 p.m. Nov. 13, 20, 27 and Dec. 4 at the theater, 21730 Madison in Dearborn.

The story follows Elle Woods as she transforms from sorority girl to Harvard Law School student in an attempt to win back her boyfriend, Warner, and discovers the power of the law while staying true to herself.

In keeping with the theme of female empowerment, the Guild will collect personal hygiene products for First Step, an organization that helps victims of domestic and sexual violence.

The cast includes Maura Donovan of Plymouth as Elle, Gannon Styles of Farmington Hills as Emmett, Kenny Konaszewski of Southgate as Professor Callahan and Adam Carey of Taylor as Warner.

Nancy Valentini of Livonia plays Paulette, with Caitlin Donovan of Royal Oak as Brooke, Courtney McKenna of Novi as Vivienne and Hailey Hayward of Wayne as Chutney.

Tickets are $20. To order, call 313-561-TKTS or go to playersguildofdearborn.org/tickets.


The Downriver Youth Performing Arts Center presents “Seussical the Musical” at 7 p.m. Nov. 12, 18 and 19, and 2 p.m. Nov. 12 and 13 at the Trenton Village Theatre, 2447 W. Jefferson.

Dr. Seuss’ beloved characters create a family-friendly musical with Horton the Elephant, the Cat in the Hat, the residents of Whoville, Jojo, Mayzie LaBird, Gertrude McFuzz and more, performed by a talented youth ensemble.

With upbeat music, a fast pace, and themes of friendship, loyalty and community cooperation, the show will have you “thinking thinks” as the house fills with laughter.

Tickets are $10 and $15. To order, call 734-771-7945 or go to dypac.com.


The Downriver Actors Guild presents a double treat Nov. 11 to 13, with the rollicking musical “The Elves’ Impersonator,” a 30-minute musical performed by the youth company, ages 3 to 10, and “No Bullies, Get Real” by the teen company.

Admission to the double feature is $10, with performances at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 11 and 12, and 3 p.m. Nov. 13 at the Catherine A. Daly Theatre on the Avenue, 2652 Biddle in Wyandotte.

For tickets or more information, call 734-407-7020 or go to downriveractorsguild.net.


April Denny of Dearborn Heights will play the leading role of Mary in a live radio play production of Joe Landry’s “It’s a Wonderful Life” with Spotlight Players at Karl’s Cabin, 6005 Gotfredson Road, Plymouth.

The one night special event, Nov. 22, features a 6:30 p.m. dinner and an 8:15 p.m. performance.

Dinner choices are from the Karl’s Cabin menu, and billed separately. Go to karlscabin.com/menus.asp for more information.

Show admission is $20. For reservations, call or text producer John Sartor at 313-608-6612 or send an email to johnsartor1@hotmail.com.
Directed by Justine Maldonado of Canton Township, the radio play features a small group of actors playing different characters as they bring the holiday classic of George Bailey to life.

Leo Babcock of Saline will play George Bailey, with Dearborn Edsel Ford High School teacher Robert Doyle of Romulus as Clarence.

Joe Arcel of Plymouth plays Billy and other ensemble roles, with Don Barrow of Romulus as Joseph and ensemble, Tracey Bowen as Violet and ensemble and Rob Facione of Westland as ensemble.

Jeff Hollon of Trenton performs the sound special effects.

Producer John Sartor of Canton Township said having a small group of seasoned actors playing different characters and ages is fascinating to watch.

“You are basically in a live radio show studio audience,” Sartor said. “The timing is perfect – we have set it just as the holiday season begins. We look forward to sharing it with everyone.”