I doubt there are many of you out there who remember when former Napa golfing great Johnny Miller became an announcer on NBC many years back. Johnny, in his typical style or lack thereof, was rather forthright about many of the golfers, using words like “choke” or “shank” which golfers NEVER use on the golf course. Do not even mention that Johnny retired from competitive golf at an early age due to the “yips”. For those of you uninitiated to this great game, the “yips” occur when a golfer in unable to putt in their usual style, an obvious oversimplification of the disease. Well, Johnny had it, and had it really bad. It was incurable for him.
So, when some of his former competitors were asked about Johnny’s now acid tongue, they were rather outspoken about him. One golfer in particular, was the equally outspoken and charismatic Paul Azinger, who later beat back cancer during the prime of his playing career. Well, he called Johnny the biggest MORON he ever met. Later, when asked by the press, and well after Johnny blew a gasket or two, he said he was misquoted. He said Johnny was the biggest Mormon (and he is a follower) he ever met.
Well, I realize now that this was probably a precursor to the hit Broadway play, “The Book of Mormon” sweeping the country. So desperate am I to see it, I am flying down to Los Angeles for the day (Wednesday), just to see it at an affordable price. I can actually fly down to LA for the day, rent a car, and buy a ticket for less than what it would cost me to see it in San Francisco in December. I will “SWA” it to Burbank, rent a car, and hit the matinée at the famous Pantages Theater in downtown Hollywood/Los Angeles. Then fly back home this evening to sleep in my own bed. Quite a day, even to see a big Mormon.
The obvious question for me is how this play was received by the real Mormon Church. The official response was, “The production may attempt to entertain audiences for an evening, but the Book of Mormon as a volume of scripture will change people’s lives forever by bringing them closer to Christ.”
I think the biggest issue is that people might leave thinking that Mormons really do live in a surreal world of self-deception and illusion. My recent experience in Africa provides some insight, in that many of the missionary efforts have lost sight of what the local people really need. The best comment I have seen is from a Professor of Mormon Studies, who said “Mormons experience the show like looking at themselves in a fun-house mirror.”
The combination of being in Los Angeles, and being entertained by Mormons, or perhaps “jack” and “jill” Mormons might be just too much for me to comprehend. But I do love the Pantages Theater, a famous venue, located near the famous corner of Hollywood and Vine. Just about every well-known Broadway play has been presented here, including: West Side Story, Cats, Chicago, Grease, Mama Mia, Phantom, Peter Pan, Damn Yankees, LaMancha, Annie and Evita.