Trey Parker and Matt Stone are best known as the co-creators of Comedy Central’s most popular animated show, South Park. These multi-talented producers/musicians/directors/actors have also had success in film over the last two decades, with equally outrageous satirical movies such as South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999) and Team America: World Police (2004) standing out.
But their most successful venture yet is the religious satire musical, Book of Mormon, winner of nine Tony Awards in 2011 (including Best Musical and Best Original Score). The original Broadway cast’s album even netted a Grammy in 2012 for Best Musical Theater Album.
The hit musical was put together by a third major contributor, American composer Robert Lopez, who also composed the score and lyrics for the popular musical Avenue Q, for which he also won a Tony Award. The Broadway debut for it occurred on March 24, 2011, at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre in New York. Since then, it has gone on to have successful national (ongoing) production tours and has even broken ticket sale records in London, England, in recent months. In fact, tickets at London’s Prince of Wales Theatre are already sold out through July.
The plot is based on two young male missionaries – the stud Elder Kevin Price and the lovable, insecure and overweight Elder Arnold Cunningham – who travel to a small village in Uganda to convert the natives to Mormonism. But they are wildly unsuccessful in their mission, with the locals instead wanting to deal with the war and poverty they live in.
The musical spends a lot of time making fun of Mormonism and giving the audience some rather shocking, twisted developments along the way—it turns out that the head of the Ugandan district (Elder McKinley) is a “repressed homosexual.” The comedic musical also makes fun of superstitions about the spread of AIDS and female circumcision beliefs, and contains the filthy, foul-mouthed elements you’d expect from the South Park creators, including a character named General “Butt-F**k Naked.” In other words, though it has its light-hearted moments, the musical isn’t meant for the whole family to enjoy; it’s got plenty of raunchy humor geared toward the younger (Comedy Central) crowd.
Book of Mormon runs two hours and 30 minutes long (with one 15-minute intermission) and is currently on tour with upcoming dates in big cities like New York, Chicago, and other North American areas (in addition to London). It’s been called by the New York Post the biggest hit comedy-based musical since Mel Brooks’ The Producers, so get yourself Book of Mormon tickets and see what all the laughter is all about.