Mormons, Musical Theater, and Belonging in America
Today we are featuring our book review, "Mormons, Musical Theater and Belonging in America" from our newest journal 59:1. In his ambitious first book, musicologist Jake Johnson examines how and why the vocal and theatrical traditions of American musicals are evidenced in the theology of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. At the heart of this examination are close readings of a number of popular American musicals and what Johnson sees as their Utah counterparts—Oklahoma! and Promised Valley; Fiddler on the Roof and Life . . . More Sweet than Bitter; The Book of Mormon and Saturday’s Warrior. Part history, part literary criticism, part religious studies, and part music studies, Mormons, Musical Theater, and Belonging in America attempts to show not only that the history of Mormons and musical theatre are intertwined but also that the vocality that emerges at the intersection of Latter-day Saint theology and theatricality is uniquely American.