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New York | 1h 30m | Open run

The Book of Merman

From 7 critic and 108 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.



90
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

85
TheaterScene.net

“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

80
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

80
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

68
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

65
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

30
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


94
Clever, Delightful, Entertaining, Fun, Great singing

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

93
Delightful, Refreshing, Hilarious, Entertaining, Great singing

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!

90
Funny, Quirky, Entertaining, 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

86
Funny, Quirky, Entertaining, Great singing

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.

85
Clever, Refreshing, Great singing, Musical comedy on the small stage

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

84
Funny, Clever, Entertaining, 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

78
Funny, Great acting, Quirky, Indulgent, Fluffy

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

76
Funny, Clever, Delightful, Refreshing, Entertaining

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.

75
Funny, Quirky, Entertaining

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

75
Funny, Clever, 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

74
Quirky, Entertaining, Sweet

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.

73
Ambitious, Quirky, Cliched, Great singing

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 .

72
Entertaining, Fun, Great singing

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

68
Funny, Disappointing, Fluffy, Silly, Good acting

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.

67
Banal, Disappointing, 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

67
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.

60
Disappointing

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.

60
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.

50
Disappointing, Excruciating, Cliched, Fluffy, Wretched

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.

48
Funny, Ambitious, Quirky, Disappointing, Overrated

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.

45
Banal, Disappointing, Excruciating, Cliched, Dated

See it if You sort of like Ethel Merman.

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

100
Funny, Clever, Epic, Must see, Great singing

See it if You want to laugh so hard your abs hurt. And you love music. And dance. And deliciously wrong it’s so right acting.

Don't see it if You’re easily offended or if you’re looking for something more traditional.

86
Edgy, Riveting, Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging

See it if You love a good laugh, good music, and a great show

Don't see it if You dont enjoy comedic songs and shows.

76
Clever, Quirky

See it if Strong cast in a play that was good but not great. Premise is better than the outcome, though I had a nice time.

Don't see it if you are unaware of the majesty that was Ethel Merman

75
Funny, Clever, Delightful, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if You are in the mood for a musical comedy. You are into good singing and acting. You are into local theatre.

Don't see it if You care about strong plot. You care about big production.

Also I guess it was my fault not knowing who Ethel Merman is going into the... Read more Read less


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