It’s pageant season again! On the heels of ESO’s excellent rundown on the particulars of attending perhaps the most well known of them all, the Hill Cumorah Pageant, I’d like to turn the spotlight to one of its fledgling younger siblings:

Corinne; The Gentile City

[Don't ask me why they use a semicolon.]

corinne_utah_1869.jpg

A comedic pageant featuring some of Corinne’s colorful history

Friday June 26 and Saturday June 27, 2009

Corinne City Park

5 Miles West of Brigham City / I-15 Exit #365


Yes, Corinne, the erstwhile “City of the Ungodly” or “Dodge City of Utah” — population 621, that’s right folks, so small it’s actually a suburb of Brigham City — has decided to cash in (to the extent that “collecting non-perishable food items” for donation to Brigham City food pantries is “cashing in”) on the unquenchable Mormon thirst for pageants.

With book, music, and lyrics by former resident Diana Jeppesen, this pageant is truly one of a kind. In a 2005 article in Ogden’s Standard Examiner quoted on the production’s website, pageant committee member LaNan Donovan remarks: “No other Utah community has a history like this one. Corinne was raising a city in opposition to all the Mormons.”

Let us venture into Carlos Argentino Daneri‘s basement and consult the Aleph (Wikipedia) for a little historical context:

In its heyday, Corinne had about 1,000 permanent residents, not one of whom was a Mormon, according to the boast of the local newspaper. As an end-of-the-trail town, Corinne reflected a very different atmosphere and culture from the staid and quiet Mormon settlements of Utah, nurturing not only a number of commission and supply houses but also fifteen saloons and sixteen liquor stores, with a gun-fighting town marshal to keep order in this “Dodge City” of Utah. The permanent residents of Corinne did their best to promote a sense of community pride and peaceful, cultural pursuits but had a raucous and independent clientele of freighters and stagecoachers to control.

Driving through “downtown” Corinne today, you would never guess. It is perhaps most notable for having one gas station, a speed trap, and a sign directing you to the Golden Spike National Monument. It is also predominantly Mormon.

Among other things, the pageant features the town’s infamous “divorce machine,” where couples could obtain a hasty divorce at the bargain price of $2.50, only to discover later that it wasn’t legal. At the pageant’s conclusion, Brigham Young curses Corinne and the Lucin Cutoff denies the town of its importance as a railway depot, draining its population and condemning it to Mormondom.

I have to admit that, plot-wise, these two items alone make it sound more interesting to me than any other pageant I have ever seen. What’s more, the cast list even has an entry for “can-can girls”… Yet, despite all the potential gentile content, one has to wonder if there is any actual cursing.

No word yet on whether anti-Mormon protestors deem it worthy of their attention.

Let this be a lesson to anyone foolish enough to doubt the efficacy of a prophetic curse. The irony of these independent minded gentiles being immortalized by Mormons in the most Mormon of all mediums amuses me immensely. The doctrinal implications scare me out of my wits.