‘The Book of Mormon’ Opens at Benedum; Pittsburgh Opera’s ‘As One’ Continues (Tues., 2/21/17)

In 'The Book of Mormon,' missionaries Kevin and Arnold have a feeling they're not in Utah any more. (The photo is from the 2013 touring production.)

In ‘The Book of Mormon,’ missionaries Kevin and Arnold have a feeling they’re not in Utah any more. (The photo is from the 2013 touring production, courtesy of Joan Marcus.)

1) If you missed The Book of Mormon last time it was in town you’ll know to reserve tickets early. The show won nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical, in 2011; it has been called one of the best musicals ever. In an age when few things can shock an audience, this work by the creators of the “South Park” TV series is shockingly (and hilariously) irreverent while also being surprisingly uplifting. Two naïve young Mormon missionaries are sent to win converts in a remote part of Africa where the locals are, shall we say, skeptical. It’s like The Poisonwood Bible meets the Marx Brothers but naughtier than either, and unless you want your kids to hear songs like “Hasa Diga Eebowai,” don’t bring them. The North American touring company performs The Book of Mormon at Benedum Center. 7:30 p.m. Continues through Sunday. 237 7th St., Cultural District. (MV)

2) Along with big productions of longtime favorites from the repertoire, Pittsburgh Opera stages new and adventurous works. A highlight this year is Laura Kaminsky’s chamber opera As One, which has generated significant buzz since premiering at Brooklyn Academy of Music in 2014. As One traces the story of a transgender woman, Hannah, by having a male singer as “Hannah before” her transition and a female as “Hannah after.” The roles are sung here by baritone Brian Vu and mezzo-soprano Taylor Raven. In the early scenes, Hannah is a small-town youth striving to be the “Perfect Boy” (the title of one aria). The opera then follows her through the tumultuous process of realizing her true identity—often, with the two singers chiming in alternately to convey Hannah’s conflicting thoughts and emotions. As One, with a libretto by Mark Campbell and Kimberly Reed, is presented in the performance space at Pittsburgh Opera headquarters. 7 p.m.  Performances through February 26. 2425 Liberty Ave., Strip District. (MV)