A few weeks ago, I wrote on The Overeducated Housewife about a guy I knew in high school who is a devout Mormon reprimanding me on Facebook because I expressed a desire to see The Book of Mormon Musical. Bill is an ex Mormon convert who enjoys ribald humor as much as I do. Seeing the show would also give us the chance to see San Antonio’s historic Majestic Theater. So I bought us tickets to see the BOM Musical and booked us a reservation at Biga on the Banks, a swanky restaurant that overlooks San Antonio’s famed River Walk. Our big “date” was last night. It was the last night the show was going to be in town; I believe they’re heading to Austin next.
I got all dolled up and changed my Facebook photo, which is what I tend to do when I look pretty and put on makeup (it doesn’t happen that often). I had a photo of Bill and me looking all lovey dovey and one of my friends lamented that I changed the photo. So I had Bill join me for another one…
No, he didn’t give me a hickey…
But I changed the actual photo to one of just me. I’m starting to look old now…
The top one is the one I used, but the bottom one seemed to be more popular among the masses. I’m really glad I got these photos last night, because this morning I have a nasty cold sore.
So, after the obligatory selfies, Bill and I got to Biga on the Banks for our 5:30pm reservation. But our trip out on the town wasn’t without some comedy. Bill was trying to start the car and found that it was completely unresponsive. I had been having some issues with the car starting. I was slightly worried, until I noticed that Bill had forgotten to put the key in the key fob. Oops. Guess his middle aged mind is striking again.
We were a little confused at first, trying to find the entrance to the restaurant. It turned out to be a pretty awesome dining experience, though. We had a great waitress named Gigi who was very aware that we were going to a show and did a fantastic job describing the restaurant’s philosophy. Biga on the Banks is owned by Chef Bruce Auden, who is also running the kitchen. They’ve been in San Antonio for 23 years and the menu changes daily, based on whatever excellent food the chef gets his hands on. Gigi told us that if it wasn’t amazing, the chef would not buy it… The suppliers all know this, so they bring the chef their best.
In all honesty, I believe what Gigi told us. We had an outstanding meal.
I started with a grapefruit martini, while Bill had an Old Fashioned. He likes classic cocktails, while I like fun stuff… I actually debated over the opening cocktail. I considered having a Bellini or a blueberry martini, but the grapefruit martini seemed more refreshing.
I enjoyed a delightful scallop appetizer, paired with a sweet corn relish, pineapple chutney, and avocado. It had a little zing, thanks to the habanero pepper. These scallops were awesome. I don’t usually go for spicy, but there was just enough habanero to give this dish a little kick.
Bill had roasted cauliflower soup. The bowl was brought out with the cauliflower in it; then Gigi poured the liquid in with a pitcher. This was a very velvety, smokey soup. I think I would enjoy it in the winter, even though I have never considered myself a cauliflower fan.
We decided on Frog’s Leap Zinfandel to go with our main courses. As you can see, we got the “Ribbit” cork. All Frog’s Leap wines have them.
While we waited for dinner, I took pictures of Bill…
Handsome guy… We definitely need to take him suit shopping soon, though. All those years in a green uniform have dated his jackets.
I had an excellent rib-eye steak that was served on the sizzling griddle. I asked for a plate, because I feared burning the shit out of myself on the griddle, as awesome as it is to hear sizzling meat. The steak is topped with onion rings that were dipped in a batter made with Shiner Bock beer. My entree came with simple mashed potatoes and green beans sauteed in garlic…
The two pictures above are of Bill’s entree, which was really amazing, especially for a guy who spent his formative years in Arkansas. He loves game meats. I guess it’s the redneck in him. His dish consisted of quail, venison, and a goat cheese tart. I don’t like goat cheese much, but I did enjoy tasting the quail and the venison. Bill really enjoyed his entree, perhaps more than I enjoyed mine. I really need to be more adventurous in places like Biga on the Banks… But I think a certain monthly ritual had me craving beef, chocolate, and red wine last night…
This was my dessert… chocolate mousse. It was absolutely sinful. I wish I could have brought it home with me, but we went to the show, so… It did a great job of soothing the chocolate loving beast in me.
Bill had bread pudding with vanilla ice cream, pears, and raisins. It was very comforting and I probably would have loved it in winter. He sure enjoyed it… though I preferred my chocolate mousse.
After Bill settled the check, which took some doing since the waitress initially gave us two wrong checks, Bill and I walked to the Majestic Theater, which was teeming with people there to see the last San Antonio performance of the Book of Mormon Musical. We had pretty good seats in row T, though there was a lady sitting in front of me who was kind of tall and had big hair. When you’re short like I am, this is a common issue. I could have used a booster seat. I spent most of the show peeking between her and her husband.
This is a picture of the stage…
And the Playbill…
I got a picture of the outside of the theater, too. Unfortunately, I deleted the photos from my card before they were successfully imported. The Majestic Theater is absolutely beautiful. We are lucky to have such a fantastic venue so close to us right now. I look forward to seeing more shows there before our next move… if we ever do leave San Antonio.
The Book of Mormon Musical comes from the people who brought us South Park and Avenue Q. I am not familiar with Avenue Q… but I know that Trey Parker and Matt Stone collaborated with Robert Lopez, who is partially responsible for Avenue Q. I love South Park and have spent my years with Bill learning more about Mormonism, so it was a given I’d want to see this show. It is a very irreverent musical about Mormon missionaries who end up in Uganda, where they try to convert locals to the church. The locals are rightfully more concerned with poverty, AIDS, and dealing with a warlord with an unprintable name obsessed with female circumcision.
The LDS church, for its part, doesn’t seem overly happy about the musical. However, we did notice that the church seems to have a savvy PR person who recognized the potential value in the buzz the show is generating. There were ads in the Playbill inviting theatergoers to read the book… because the book is always better, right? Frankly, I don’t think that’s true in this case; but that’s just my opinion. I do know of at least one person who joined the Mormon church after seeing this show and I am sure she wasn’t the only one.
Ad for the LDS church in Playbill. Kudos to the marketing genius who saw the opportunity to sell the church to theater lovers… Smart move!
Anyone who knows about Mormonism will recognize a lot of the jokes, though not everything is perfectly accurate. For instance, Elder Price and Elder Cunningham talk about being companions for two years. From what I understand, missionaries are usually rotated regularly. One companion is usually more experienced so the newer missionary can learn the ropes. But it would be difficult to explain that to an audience and it would also not be as funny, since Elder Cunningham (played brilliantly by the very funny Christopher John O’Neill last night) is very annoying and it’s fun to think of how the straight laced Elder Price (played by Mark Evans) would cope with such an obnoxious guy for that long.
I did see a lot of elements of South Park-esque humor… with the lead characters sounding a little like a mixture of Cartman, Kyle Brovlovski, and Stan Marsh at times. Christopher John O’Neill’s turn as Elder Cunningham actually reminded me of my best friend from college, who remains my friend today. He really stole the show with genius physical comedy!
I was also really impressed by Samantha Marie Ware, who played Nabulungi, the female lead. The character is a good natured local girl whose father is concerned for her clitoris. She befriends Elder Cunningham and becomes his first baptism, though he constantly gets her name wrong. Ware played her role to the hilt and sang her socks off.
Needless to say, this show is not for those who are easily offended by language or sexual humor. Frankly, I loved it… and it looked like just about everyone else in the theater did, too. The theater was packed and there was a very prolonged standing ovation. Everyone laughed in the right places. I would happily see this show again and will definitely buy the soundtrack. If it comes to your town, you should definitely see it if it’s your kind of comedy. But I can’t stress it enough… the humor is very gross and profane. If cuss words make you blush, pick another show.
Bill and I had a great night on the town. If the government doesn’t shut down this week, we’ll have to do it again sometime soon!