For the first time ever, I met someone who did not enjoy the Broadway show Book of Mormon. He said that he found it too cheesy – the lines, the music, and even the facial expressions. Then again, he also is not someone who enjoys Broadway shows or theater at all, for that matter, so I’m not sure if Book of Mormon should be any exception for him in his theater opinions.
I’ve definitely had moments when I thought certain lines or smiles or songs were cheesy when at a Broadway production, but that’s partly there because that’s what appeals to people; people like to see and hear things that feel good, and that’s why Broadway is Broadway; it’s mainstream, and it’s what people want. The one show I do know (and saw) that was off-Broadway that dealt with a real topic – depression, mental illness, and suicide in the context of a family – didn’t have a very long off-Broadway life. You can’t really bring your family to a show about rape or murder or people jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. If you want that kind of stuff – what is arguably more real to life – smaller theater groups are where you should be looking.