New York | 1h 30m | Already closed

The Book of Merman

From 7 critic and 116 member reviews
Members say: Great singing, Entertaining, Funny, Clever, Quirky

About the show

Two Mormon missionaries ring the doorbell of Ethel Merman in this new musical comedy. A diva-driven journey featuring original songs and show-stopping ballads.  More…

Broadway’s greatest leading lady, Ethel Merman, returns to the New York stage as played by singer, actress, and viral video sensation Carly Sakolove.

1h 30m | Already closed | St Luke's Theatre (Midtown W)

DC Metro Theater Arts

"The lively fast-paced show is filled with spot-on spoofs of its famous sources, silly send-ups of their familiar songs, clever pop-culture references, and campy humor, delivered by the terrific trio...All three bring high-spirited energy, powerhouse vocals, and sidesplitting characterizations to their distinctive roles...Outrageously funny and impressively well sung, performed, and designed...One parody that could make you a convert to the entertaining realm of musical theater!" Full Review


“The witty score with music and lyrics by Schwartz is a collection of both pastiche songs based on numbers Merman made famous and new ones that fit her style that suggest other famous songs. Directed and choreographed by Joe Langworth in a brisk and breezy fashion, ‘The Book of Merman’ is a diverting, entertaining show that will be best enjoyed by musical comedy aficionados who know their Merman from their Mary Martin as there are a great many in-jokes.” Full Review

Berkshire Fine Arts

"A parody of a parody, it is fresh from the first moment the two Mormon Elders, who are very young indeed, start knocking on doors in the theater district of New York...Sakolove belts her numbers like Merman, loud, exposed, perhaps shrill. Yet incredibly exciting. She cut through orchestras without a microphone...Leo Schwartz and D.C. Cathro have put together this bubbling confection, inspired by other Mormons on Broadway, yet very much its own piece." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

“The premise of this silly, fun show is somehow Mormon missionaries and ‘The Merm’ meet, with wonderful consequences...The show frolics through parodies of the recognizable classics...But it’s the original songs that tickle and are moving...Throughout the show Burns, Wilkinson and Sakalove mug, dance, and sing up a storm; each one of them have incredible voices and comedic timing that add to the persona of their characters and to the fun of the production.” Full Review

Front Mezz Junkies

"The talented cast sings strong and wonderfully joyful...The main problem with the show, is that it just isn’t as funny as it should be...The show stays solidly in the cute category...Both the book and the lyrics could really use some more satirical juice...The direction and choreography never feels tight or inspiring...It’s a shame, because with a smarter book and lyrics this show could rise up to the level these three performers deserve.” Full Review

Times Square Chronicles

"Burris and Wilkinson are terrific as the Mormons and both have fabulous voices. They are perfectly cast. Sakolove, can act and sing, but she never to me sounded like Merman. Together the three sing wonderful harmonies and move well...Langworth, directed and choreographed this piece with ridiculous camp, which kept the show moving. His choreography was quite wonderful...A clever premise, has a great message, but I just did not find any of this funny.” Full Review

New York Stage Review

"Neither bookwriters Leo Schwartz and DC Cathro nor songwriter Schwartz have made anything engaging of the notion they must have had a swell time laughing over when it occurred to them...Before the 90 minutes it takes the misguided tuner to run its uninspired course, you’ll be thinking you’ve croaked, too, and been assigned to some unforgiving purgatory...Wilkinson brings a modicum of charm to his wide-eyed role and Sakolove belts well in the still inimitable Merman style." Full Review

Clever, Funny, Great writing, Great singing, Raunchy

See it if If you want an incredible evening of a great show that makes fund of everyone in such a silly and innocent way.

Don't see it if Cannot understand satire or gets offended easily - cannot laugh at the world. Can get a little evil. :-)

Clever, Delightful, Entertaining, Great singing, Fun

See it if you enjoy intimate theaters; you like outstanding vocal talent; you're familiar with both Book of Mormon and Ethel Merman

Don't see it if you never saw Book of Mormon, you don't know who Ethel Merman was; you don't like theaters with chairs all on one level, no rise at all

Delightful, Entertaining, Great singing, Hilarious, Refreshing

See it if you believe there's a "Merman" inside everyone! Zippy tunes, delightful lyrics, and some very funny lines make this a wonderful musical.

Don't see it if you don't believe that we should never give up who we are to make others happy. The missionaries in this merry musical will convert you!

Entertaining, Funny, Quirky, Great singing

See it if You enjoy cabaret type shows with a minimal cast (in this case three)

Don't see it if You didn't enjoy 'Book of Mormon' and you have no idea who Ethel Merman is.

Also Fun show to see with a group of friends after meeting for Sunday Brunc... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Great singing, Funny, Quirky

See it if You like musicals. Much better than anticipated. The cast of 3 are great. The title tells you most of what you need to know of the styling.

Don't see it if You don't like musicals, or want lavish sets and costumes. Otherwise give it a go.

Musical comedy on the small stage, Clever, Refreshing, Great singing

See it if Well timed show with good chemistry amongst the trio. Great singing. Some interesting lyrics.

Don't see it if Don't expect a fancy set.

Also Not necessary to have seen Book of Mormon (I havent) to enjoy the show... Read more Read less

Clever, Entertaining, Funny, Great singing

See it if you enjoy a parody of Book of Mormon which includes Ethel Merman. The songs were very good and lyrics were excellent. I liked the story line

Don't see it if you like drama or musicals with big sets.

Also The story line was really well thought out. The woman who plays Merman... Read more Read less

Great acting, Fluffy, Indulgent, Quirky, Funny

See it if you are familiar (expertise not required) with book of mormon and ethel merman and will enjoy 90 mins of easy shtick

Don't see it if you don't have a silly streak and/or don't have any familiarity or interest in a send-up of book of mormon and ethel merman

Clever, Disappointing, Fluffy, Insipid, Silly

See it if you get a free ticket like I did. The actors work really hard and sing nicely. The Merman impression is quite good. It is a mild diversion.

Don't see it if you expect a full-length musical that makes sense. This doesn't. And many of the songs are blatant rip-offs of other songs. Amateurish show.

Clever, Delightful, Entertaining, Funny, Refreshing

See it if You liked Ethel Merman’s songs and like to see a take-off on the Broadway play.

Don't see it if You expect the bigness of the Broadway play.

Clever, Delightful, Entertaining, Funny, Hilarious

See it if You like humor of Beavis and Butthead or South Park, simple hilarious but edgy. Be prepared that it makes fun of all religion.

Don't see it if You are religious. Some scenes a devout person could find sacrilegious.

Funny, Entertaining, Quirky

See it if you enjoy parodies of shows.

Don't see it if you don't care for parodies of Broadway musicals.

Also I liked the show, but thought there were parts that dragged on, but ju... Read more Read less

Clever, Funny, Fluffy

See it if If you like a silly, campy evening of some clever music, over the top acting and come very funny schtick. A pleasant 80 minute diversion

Don't see it if You don't get a certain type of camp esthetic and want something with a bit more substance

Quirky, Sweet, Entertaining

See it if You're an Ethel Merman fan, or a member of the Church of Latter Day Saints, or you enjoyed "Book of Mormon."

Don't see it if You're looking for something deep.

Great singing, Ambitious, Cliched, Quirky

See it if Great singing with some good tunes. Most jokes fall flat. Cast tries hard and delivers.

Don't see it if Do not see if you dislike small off Broadway budget musicals .

Great singing, Entertaining, Fun

See it if An Ethel Merman impersonator belts it out with the help of a couple of clean-cut guys in white shirts and ties. Familiar sounding songs.

Don't see it if You would slam the door on a small-scale musical that promises a little bit of entertaining off-Broadway fun with rewritten songs and lyrics

Funny, Fluffy, Disappointing, Good acting, Silly

See it if You like parodies of Broadway shows, or Broadway songs, or want to see something silly and fun.

Don't see it if You don’t like raunchy humor, need refined/sophisticated staging and props.

Disappointing, Banal, Great singing

See it if you like hearing good voices and amiable cast members

Don't see it if you don't like amateurish productions that run too long for their limited premise

Disappointing, Excruciating, Great singing, Campy, Basic

See it if You’re looking for fantastic performances of pastiche and derivative material.

Don't see it if You’re looking for theater.


See it if you have nothing else to do and need to get out. There's some talent onstage but overall...

Don't see it if you're expecting a cleverly-written, funny show.

Funny, Clever, Quirky

See it if you have seen the Book of Mormon and enjoy a good laugh.

Don't see it if you have no idea who Ethel Merman is.

Wretched, Disappointing, Cliched, Fluffy, Excruciating

See it if your devotion to Ethel is not strong enough to hold you back from this disgrace to her memory. Wait for Merman's Apprentice to return.

Don't see it if seeing Ethel portrayed badly is upsetting, and if the memory of her Disco album induces a headache.

Ambitious, Disappointing, Overrated, Quirky, Funny

See it if You have 60 min to waste before the good part, want to see a Gilbert & Sullivan hilarious rap.

Don't see it if You actually knew of Merman or know Mormon's.

Cliched, Banal, Dated, Disappointing, Excruciating

See it if You sort of like Ethel Merman.

Don't see it if You'e expecting an intelligent parody of a parody.

Great writing, Hilarious, Funny, Entertaining, Clever

See it if If nothing offends you.

Don't see it if If you get easily offended.

Also Funniest show I’ve ever seen. My face hurt from smiling so much.