LIVE: “Mormons, Mothers and Monsters” @ Barrington Stage, Pittsfield [Berkshire on Stage]
Mormons, Mothers and Monsters is an entertaining new musical, with peppy songs, clever lyrics and a most unusual coming-of-age story. It revolves around an almost perfect son who turns out to be gay. He adores his Mormon mom. She does her best with some pretty defective husbands, dragging her little family through three divorces in her efforts to provide the both of them a family passport to Heaven.
As a critic who has seen two large scale musicals done superbly in the past few weeks – both the Barrington Stage Guys and Dolls and Berkshire Theatre Group’s Tommy were stunners – it’s important to think of these lab shows as a sort of cabaret musical. The cast and forces are small. Most of them are not drawn from fully developed books but rather from the creator’s own lives and experiences. They have been created with but a few weeks of rehearsal and minuscule budgets and are taking their first baby steps towards the larger Broadway stage. They neither pretend to be fully developed musicals ready for the Great White Way, but rather a sort of personal musical evening to be shared by like minded friends. When we enter the theatre, we never know what to expect, and love the combination of surprises and new experiences. On that basis Mormons, Mothers and Monsters succeeds brilliantly, and has already begun to find its audience.