Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Mormons, Musical Theater, and Belonging in America$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Jake Johnson

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780252042515

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252042515.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM ILLINOIS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Illinois University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ISO for personal use.date: 27 June 2022

Exoticized Voices, Racialized Bodies

Exoticized Voices, Racialized Bodies

Lineage and Whiteness on Stage

(p.83) 3 Exoticized Voices, Racialized Bodies
Mormons, Musical Theater, and Belonging in America

Jake Johnson

University of Illinois Press

Just as Mormons used musical theater to purchase whiteness in the early twentieth century, so too do Mormons begin in the 1960s to use musical theater to associate other racial minorities with white American values. By allowing certain groups the opportunity to voice whiteness through the conventions of musical theater, Mormons reimagined the genre as a tool to transform some minority members into exemplars of whiteness. This chapter first details the history of Mormonism in Hawaii and the musical theater productions at the Mormon-owned Polynesian Cultural Center that began there in 1963. Importantly, Mormons have long understood dark-skinned Polynesians, like themselves, to be a chosen people, rather than cursed--displaced Jews, in fact, whose origins are explained in The Book of Mormon. The chapter then analyzes the Mormon musical Life . . . More Sweet than Bitter, billed as a sequel to Fiddler on the Roof, for its narrative explicitly connecting Mormons to Judaism. The musical stage thus becomes for modern Mormons a reckoning device to demonstrate belonging and acceptance in exotic terms--“whitening” the dark-skinned Polynesians and demonstrating fluidity between Mormonism and Judaism.

Keywords:   exoticism, lineage, Hawaii, Polynesian Cultural Center, Fiddler on the Roof, Judaism, musical theater, voicing whiteness

Illinois Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.