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The Book of Mormon
If you have been looking for an interesting musical comedy to enjoy, The Book of Mormon is the best bet for you! The musical recaps the journey of two Mormon missionaries who travel to Uganda to preach their religion.
The play is big on satire that focuses on the practises of the Mormon Church as well as the encounters of the duo in Africa. The musical’s script, music and lyrics were developed by trey Parker, Matt Stone and Robert Lopez. The development of the play began in 2003, but it would take seven years for it to be opened on Broadway on March 2011. Scott Rudin was the producer.
The response following its Broadway opening was hugely positive in the resultant criticisms. As a matter of fact, the show set records in terms of sales of tickets for the Eugene O’Neill Theatre. The show’s original cast recording on Broadway even shattered the ceiling for becoming the highest-charting Broadway album in more than 40 years. It actually managed to reach position 3 on the Billboard Charts!
And the musical’s successes do not end there! it went on to win not one or two but nine Tony Awards! Among these Tony Awards were for the best musical, best book of a musical as well as best original score! It garnered other different awards like the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Awards for best musical as well as a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theatre Album.
Matt Stone and Trey Parker were both raised in Colorado and were familiar with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They would meet at the University of Colorado Boulder and become friends, even working together on a university musical. Later on, they would create a film Orgazmo and an episode of the TV series South Park which both comically explored Mormonism. This shows that they had grown up experiencing a lot that concerns the Mormon faith and were therefore rightfully placed to cast it comically. Concerns of offending those who ascribe to the religion were handled early on by the LDS Church which was fairly liberal in its reception to the play and even purchased advertisement rights in the musical’s playbill!
As earlier alluded to, the cast of the musical was following the experiences of two Mormons eager to spread their faith to the natives of Uganda. Their efforts are met by an overwhelming disinterest in the scriptures they wish to share. The inhabitants of the remote village are more concerned by famine, the scourge of AIDS as well as the threat of the warlord, Joseph Kony.
However, there are comical alterations in the original cast of the play with Kony later being referred to as General Butt Fucking Naked. Also, the song The Bible is a Trilogy was rewritten and named the All-American Prophet. The Family Home Evening was cut off from the original cast. There are a lot more comical alterations which include conversations!
The show’s premiere on Broadway in March 2011 was preceded by previews held in February. Casey Nicholaw handled the choreography, Ann Roth the costumes, and Brian MacDevitt the lighting. The original production featured Andrew Rannells and Josh Gad in the two main roles. While everything seemed to have gone right in this original production, stories started surfacing of theatregoers getting duped into buying counterfeit tickets. This was perhaps occasioned by their high demand.
The show would make a killing from its New York’s production, even using the pricing model of airlines and hoteliers; for productions that were in high demand, theatregoers would be charged close to $500 for the most strategic seating locations! For its first year, the show maintained its top-five position of the best-selling Broadway shows, setting weekly sales records for the Eugene O’Neill Theatre.
With its strategic pricing model for seats and the high attendance numbers, the financial sponsors were able to get back their value of $11 million in investments in under ten months of performances.
Gad left the cast in 2012 and was replaced by Jared Gertner. The original cast would be replaced through the years as they left for other commitments. The play has staged two national tours in the US since its premiere and was cast in the West End in 2013.
The Book of Mormon is a good bet if you wish to have a good laugh at a musical. With a couple of satirical lines and enjoyable music, it is no wonder it has grossed significant sums and maintained its appeal to date!
More great information on Broadway Musicals and Plays plus ways to support theatre found here: https://www.tdf.org/
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