As proven by the frequent (and seemingly intentional) controversies ignited over the years by their crass cartoon television show South Park, Trey Parker and Matt Stone have zero qualms with poking a little fun here and there. So when news broke the brilliant, mischievous duo was writing a musical about the Mormon Church, well, you could understand how some feared they might take things too far. And while the resulting production, The Book of Mormon, holds no punches in satirizing Mormonism, it does so with a loving spirit, not a vitriolic one. Along with songwriter Robert Lopez, the two met with Mormon leaders while doing research for the play. The Church of Latter Day Saints has even bought ads in the show’s playbill. The show follows the story of two young missionaries, Elders Kevin Price and Arnold Cunningham, as they attempt to spread the teachings of Mormonism founder Joseph Smith to a village in Uganda, while simultaneously fighting their own internal doubts.
The Book of Mormon opened on Broadway at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre in March 2011, and quickly became a hot ticket for both tourist and local veterans of theater. Its success was validated at that year’s Tony Awards, as The Book of Mormon was nominated for 14 Tonys and took home victories for nine of them, including Best Musical and Best Original Score. The show has remained fresh over the years, consistently having earned thumbs up from critics who returned for second helpings. The show is currently touring the United States, with engagements scheduled in cities such as Salt Lake City, Miami and San Francisco.
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