Book of Mormon, from "South Park" and Avenue Q Creators, Rings Broadway's Doorbell Feb. 24

By Adam Hetrick
February 24, 2011

The Book of Mormon, the new Broadway musical by Emmy Award-winning "South Park" creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone and Avenue Q Tony Award winner Robert Lopez, begins converting audiences Feb. 24 at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre.



Parker co-directs with Tony Award nominee Casey Nicholaw (The Drowsy Chaperone, Spamalot), who also choreographs. Book, music and lyrics are by Parker, Stone and Lopez.

The musical about two young Mormon missionaries who have their faith and sanity tested when they are sent across the world to spread the word of Joseph Smith to AIDS-ravaged Uganda will officially open March 24. Lead producers are Scott Rudin and Anne Garefino.

The creators have said despite the unlikely subject matter and a healthy dose of four-letter words, The Book of Mormon takes inspiration and its form from traditional Broadway musicals, with plenty of heart in store.

"Actually, if you look at what we've done in our career, it makes total sense to take on Broadway," Stone told Playbill.com. "It's such a great form. You can do twice as much in the amount of time with a musical, because you can go in-depth and you have people go, 'I feel this!'"

"We're basically riffing on The Music Man," Lopez added, "where someone comes into a town with a lie to sell and changes the town and, actually, the lie turns out to be true in a way."

Josh Gad ("The Daily Show with Jon Stewart") and Andrew Rannells (Jersey Boys) star as Elders Cunningham and Price, respectively, with Rory O'Malley (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee) as Elder McKinley, Nikki M. James (All Shook Up) as Nabalungi and Michael Potts (Grey Gardens) as Mafala Hatimbi.

The cast also includes Lewis Cleale, Scott Barnhardt, Justin Bohon, Darlesia Cearcy, Kevin Duda, Asmeret Ghebremichael, Brian Tyree Henry, Clark Johnsen, John Eric Parker, Jason Michael Snow, Benjamin Schrader, Michael James Scott, Brian Sears, Lawrence Stallings, Rema Webb, Maia Nkenge Wilson, Tommar Wilson, Graham Bowen, Ta’Rea Campbell, Jared Gertner, Tyson Jennette and Nick Spangler.

The Book of Mormon has designs by Scott Pask (sets), Ann Roth (costumes), Brian MacDevitt (lighting) and Brian Ronan (sound). Orchestrations are by Larry Hochman and music supervision is by Stephen Oremus.  

Parker and Stone have earned four Emmy Awards and a Peabody Award for "South Park," which is now in its 15th season. Their films include "South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut" (Academy Award nomination for Best Song) and "Team America: World Police."

Lopez co-created Avenue Q, earning the 2004 Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Score and a Grammy Award nomination for Best Cast Album. He has also penned Finding Nemo: The Musical with his wife Kristen Anderson-Lopez, as well as the Broadway-bound original musical Up Here, which will play the La Jolla Playhouse this year.

For tickets, $59-$137, phone (212) 239-6200 or visit Telecharge. The Eugene O'Neill Theatre is located at 230 West 49th Street.

Here's Playbill.com's interview with the Book of Mormon authors: