BWW Special: THE BOOK OF MORMON Production History
The Book of Mormon is a musical that was written by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, most famously known for creating the animated comedy series South Park. Few playwrights have ventured into the world of religion-based musicals, but the duo is so skilled and well-rehearsed at telling stories and pleasing audiences, few in the entertainment business were surprised that they were able to pull of such a feat. The famous duo was joined by lyricist and musician Robert Lopez, who helped merge the ideas of Parker and Stone with the practical elements of staging a musical production.
The play has been running on Broadway since March of 2011, and it has already gained its foothold in the incredibly competitive live theater scene in New York City. Tickets to the Book of Mormon on Broadway are highly coveted, and performances regularly sell out days in advance. Several other productions of The Book of Mormon have blossomed in major theaters all over the nation and are currently in various phases of production.
The two-act play focuses on the character arc of Mormons Kevin Price and Arnold Cunningham, two young devotees that present a striking contrast in looks, confidence and potential. Desperate to preach their message to anyone that will listen, the duo soon finds themselves in war-torn Uganda, where the theme of contrast continues.
Over the course of two next two hours, the play unfolds in an entertaining and heartwarming manner, giving vivid glimpses into the perspective and motivations of each of the main characters. One cannot help but notice and feel the underlying commonalities of the characters despite their differing beliefs, customs and quality of life. Tickets to the Book of Mormon may be hard to find, but audiences overwhelmingly leave the theater having been wowed.
The Broadway show was put together at a breakneck pace, and due to the demands of their other jobs, Stone and Parker actually didn't see the play live until less than a week before it opened to the public. It has played to rave reviews from folks that were lucky enough to get their hands on The Book of Mormon tickets, having successfully toed the line between telling a story infused with hot bottom issues and not being offensive or heavy handed toward any one group of people. People who buy The Book of Mormon tickets on a whim without any background information about the production are often pleasantly surprised by its charm and message.