On the grand scale of musicals that are perpetually playing in Utah, “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” probably ranks third (the first two being “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” and “Forever Plaid”). I can’t speak for when it was originally produced, by the play strikes me as exceedingly perverse. Kidnapping your potential bride is not the sort of activity we would generally expect to find in plays that the Mormons laud (even if written by Sam Shepherd). So, what is the deal?
Do Mormons love it just because it is a musical set in the West that isn’t “Paint Your Wagon”? Are we waxing nostalgic for a period when kidnapping and forced marriage could be seen as innocent fun? Or it is something more sinister?