The show is The Book of Orman, Broadway’s smash hit reverential tribute to renowned financial advisor, author, motivational speaker, and kill joy television host Susan "Suze" Orman by legendary South Park satirists, Trey Parker and Matt Stone.
This Broadway beat reporter was privileged to catch up with the show’s two creators for a tangy lunch last week at Olive Garden. The duo told me their boundless admiration for Ms. Orman began several years ago when she denied them an on-air request to add several conservative Republican fourth graders to South Park’s regular ensemble of pint-sized protagonists because they failed to “show her the money!”
“Even Cartman loves Suze!” beamed the oft-beaming Mr. Parker. “We skewer just about every half-assed social trend, ego-maniacal celebrity, and political debacle on the planet,” added Mr. Stone, “but Suze Orman is sacrosanct. And if you don’t agree, you’re a dick!”
The Book of Orman concerns two Mormon missionaries who set out to bring faith and hope to poor villagers in Uganda terrorized by a vicious war lord who brutally forces them to remain seated during those portions of religious services when they’re supposed to stand and prohibits them from reading silently while I read aloud!
In two and half hours of groundbreaking theater, with a 15 minute intermission for women in the audience to futilely stand in line for the Ladies Room, the missionaries tunefully learn that it isn’t the message itself that’s liberating, it’s that the message be conveyed by an at best marginally attractive but essentially dumpy looking 60-year-old woman with an irritating manner of speaking and a dopey blonde Dorothy Hamill haircut.
The Book of Orman has won a record setting 37 Tony Awards including Best Musical Score by a Jewish Gay Man, Best Choreography Involving Feet, and Best Actor in a Musical Who Isn’t Nathan Lane.
This reporter was privileged to see The Book of Orman when it opened, and I believe it is the greatest American theatrical experience since Our American Cousin, which I was also privileged to see when it opened. It sets an extremely high bar for the upcoming Side by Side by Stewart, Stephen Sondheim's musical tribute to the infectious and irrepressible spirit and personality of Martha Stewart.
In the words of the great Suze Orman, I’m telling you this is one marvelous show, girlfriend! If you miss it, you’re a dick!
From your very own Broadway Buddy,
Mr. Nels Noodleman
*The actual song from The Book of Mormon is You and Me (But Mostly Me!)