Best of Broadway in 2011
Here are the best shows I saw on the Great White Way in the past year. -- Chris Jones
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'The Book of Mormon'
Surely, no other show has ever better made the case that you can have fun with absolutely anything, no matter how painful. But the bigger achievement of this hit musical from the creators of "South Park" and the composer of "Avenue Q" is that the most ruthless and outrageous satire can simultaneously be very sweet. Just when all of this poking fun at wholesome, irony-free Mormons starts to feel tiresome, the show cleverly spins on its own axis and reveals an inoculating sweet center to its hard satiric candy. And thus Mormonism, the main victim of this deconstruction, is, in a strange way, celebrated. With all those bases covered, "The Book of Mormon" is free to roll out a dizzying array of anarchic laughs, even as it argues for the importance of finding your own spiritual center. Here's a rare and brilliant show that gets to ring its doorbell and answer it too.
At the Eugene O'Neill Theatre, 230 W. 49th St., New York; 212-239-6200 or bookofmormonbroadway.com