Mormon Pageant: Fab Or Drab?

Fabness and drabness coexisted peacefully at the 75th Hill Cumorah Pageant, where 750 Mormons acted out the Book of Mormon.

This weekend, BuzzFeed checked out the Hill Cumorah Pageant, an annual elaborate stage show where a huge cast of amateurs act out the story of the Book of Mormon. It all takes place outside Rochester, NY, on the exact hill (which is incredibly steep, making for a great stage) where, in the 1820s, Joseph Smith discovered the tablets that comprise the Book of Mormon text.

Thousands of people attend from all over the country and the world to see the show, which has production values to rival any Broadway show.

Let’s see who was Fab and who was Drab.

ID: 436445

2. Fab: fake bling

Gold rings of the 3 wisemen

ID: 435895

3. Drab: fake fur

A “New World” woman. The Book of Mormon follows a group of people who came from Jerusalem to the Americas. The Jerusalem characters’ costumes look like traditional biblical art depictions of the Old Testament, costumes for the New World characters are Aztec/Mayan American influenced.

ID: 435812

4. Fab: wigs

Wigs in the ladies’ dressing room.

ID: 435800

Drab: real braids

A New World woman gets her hair done.

ID: 435799

5. Fab: blinged out bandana headbands

A young actress in costume.

ID: 435813

Drab: plain old hairbows

A visitor at Joseph Smith’s historic home, located down the road from the Hill Cumorah.

ID: 435789

6. Fab: braces

Two friends who play the same character, the prophet Alma, at different stages of his life. Alma is one of the “good guys”.

ID: 435824

Drab: goatees

King Noah, one of the bad guys. He orders the prophet Abinadi to be burned to death. Don’t worry, Noah gets his in the end.

ID: 435890

7. Fab: Mariachi guitar

Playing outside the Sacred Grove, the wooded area where Joseph Smith had vision telling him to look for the tablets of the Book of Mormon.

ID: 435785

Drab: taking photos with your iPad

Never do this.

ID: 435786

8. Fab: mist machines


Elaborate special effects included a mist with colored backlighting.

ID: 436107

9. Drab: a vengeful god destroying you


During the “destruction scene”, a day prophesied by Samuel, real fire shoots up from the stage.

ID: 436109

10. Fab: Wearing matching headgear

Two college students play Nephi dancers.

ID: 435798

11. Drab: wearing matching t-shirts

ID: 436088

12. Fab: making new friends with your elders

ID: 435790

Drab: making new friends with Elders

ID: 435823

13. Fab: sewing room where the fab happens

ID: 435801

14. Drab: this kid described the fabric of his costume as “a couch and a bedsheet”

This outfit is for the scene that takes place in the 1800s with Joseph Smith.

ID: 435808

15. Fab team in action in the dressing room

A “New World woman” gets her wig and costume ready.

ID: 435802

16. Getting fab

ID: 435804

17. Fab!!

ID: 435805

18. Fab: bespoke tailored suits


Joseph Smith, played by 16 year old Samuel Hatch.

ID: 436090

19. Drab: loose, unfitted robes


Some Jesus guy.

ID: 436089

20. Fab: getting to run off-leash

ID: 435826

21. Drab: snoozing

ID: 435820

22. Fab: Latina babes in regular clothes

ID: 435791

Drab: white babes in Latin American-inspired costumes

ID: 436140

23. Fab: hanging out with members of the opposite sex

He was very nervous and explained, “um, she’s my sister’s friend.”

ID: 435810

24. Drab: Hanging out with your parents

Most of the cast were part of full families that came together for the 2 week combined rehearsal and performances.

ID: 435886

25. Drab: dying

The prophet Abinadi is burned to death. Real fire is used onstaget.

ID: 436135

26. Fab: coming back

YOLO, sike!

ID: 436136

27. Fab: purple and gold headpieces

ID: 435811

28. Drab: coneheads

ID: 435814

29. Fab: Man skirts

Characters Moroni (L) and Laman ®. These are two of the larger roles, with “speaking” parts (all voices are prerecorded by other actors, they just lipsync along).

ID: 435817

30. Drab: mandals

ID: 435818

31. L-R: Fab, Drab, Fab, Drab.

Audience members getting their photo taken with cast before the show.

ID: 435816

32. Fab: saving your seats with an on-trend Navajo print blanket

ID: 435819

33. Drab: saving seats with an animal print snuggie

ID: 435821

34. Fab: Salt potatoes

Salt potatoes, I learned, are a region delicacy in Rochester and Syracuse. They’re small potatoes boiled in extremely salty water, then covered in melted butter. They were sold in the food tent.

ID: 435825

Drab: donuts brought from supermarket

They’re no salt potatoes.

ID: 435803

35. Fab: hi-fiving kids

This kid was so excited to see the actor playing Nephi, because he’s one of the heroes of the Book of Mormon.

ID: 435891

36. Drab: posing with your brother who tries to kill you repeatedly

Nephi (L) and Laman ® are characters who are brothers in the pageant. In real life, they’re just buddies.

ID: 435892

37. Fab: hat!

One of the three wisemen that visit the birth of Jesus.

ID: 435894

38. Drab: no hat

ID: 435893

39. Fab: this guy

This guy plays Mormon, the last of his people, who writes their story onto gold plates and has his son bury the plates. The plates are later discovered by Smith and is called the Book of Mormon, because he wrote it.

ID: 436138

40. Fab: a stage with 750 people

ID: 436091

41. Drab: people protesting Mormons outside the Pageant

Evangelical Christians showed up at the entrance gates with signs and pamphlets with their message that the Book of Mormon is false. They told me their numbers were smaller than usual, because some of their crew had to go protest a gay pride parade in Rochester that same Saturday.

ID: 436098


King Noah’s shoes. The bad guys are always the best dressed.

ID: 436139

Check out more articles on!

  Your Reaction?


    Hot Buzz

    31 Reasons Potatoes Are The Best Thing At Thanksgiving


    17 Mind-Blowingly Delicious Noodles To Try In NYC


    Now Buzzing