Ding Dong! Book of Mormon Gets Ready for Its Salt Lake City Premiere

News   Ding Dong! Book of Mormon Gets Ready for Its Salt Lake City Premiere
The national touring company of The Book of Mormon will play its first official engagement in the state of Utah July 28. The show pokes fun at the Mormon religion, which is headquartered in Salt Lake City, and features a song about the metropolis, "Sal Tlay Ka Siti."

The Latter Day Company of The Book of Mormon, which has been touring since 2012, will bow at the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre in Salt Lake City July 28 and continue through Aug. 9.

A scene from <i>The Book of Mormon</i>
A scene from The Book of Mormon Photo by Joan Marcus

The satirical Tony-winning 2011 musical has book, lyrics and music by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone. The show has its opening scene in Salt Lake City, and tells the story of two young acolytes, Elder Price and Elder Cunningham, who are sent to spread Mormonism in a distant African nation, where they quickly run into trouble.

In early 2011 the the Mormon Church, formally termed the Church of Latter Day Saints, issued the following comment on the musical: "The production may attempt to entertain audiences for an evening, but the Book of Mormon as a volume of scripture will change people's lives forever by bringing them closer to Christ."

According to the Deseret News of Salt Lake City, tickets to the 16 performances went on sale the morning of April 20 and were virtually sold out by that evening. The paper wrote, "Tickets for the show, which its website said 'contains explicit language' and others have called 'vulgar"' or said is an example of aesthetic bigotry, were gone by 5 p.m. except for obstructed views." Production spokesman John Gilmour told Playbill.com that no special events or promotions are planned for the Salt Lake City engagement.

The Deseret News website reported that the church has taken out three ads in the upcoming show's program, "In one ad, the picture of a Latter-day Saint man is accompanied by the words, 'I've read the book.' In another, an LDS woman's smiling image is the setting for the phrase 'The book is always better.'"

Similarly, a third ad contains a photo of Mormon musician Alex Boye with the words, "'You've seen the play, now read the book.'"

The ads include a QR code that links to an official church website.

Part of the joke in the musical is the fact that Elder Cunningham has never actually read the Book of Mormon, and winds up teaching the natives a religion he makes up on the fly from pieces of "Lord of the Rings," "Star Wars" and other pop-culture icons. This proves more popular than the actual Mormon religion.

To get a flavor of the show, here is a clip from the Broadway production. Andrew Rannells, as Elder Price, sings "I Believe" the night the show won the Tony Award as Best Musical:

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