In its simplest form, The Book of Mormon is a religious satire, following the journey of two Mormon missionaries as they attempt to convert native Ugandans to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS).
Story opens at LDS Missionary Training Center in Utah
The devout and arrogant Elder Kevin Price is head of his missionary training class, praying he'll be sent on his two-year mission to sunny Orlando, Fla. His hopes are dashed, however, when he and the overweight, insecure Elder Arnold Cunningham are assigned as a pair to Uganda.
Upon arrival, the two face a village beset with famine, poverty, AIDS, and a violent warlord
Elders Price and Cunningham soon realize converting the villagers will pose more of a challenge than they thought, as the previous local missionaries have had no success. Soon after arrival, Price and Cunningham learn they have a week to help the locals before the vicious general will raid the village.
While Price is plagued by failure and fear, Cunningham steps up to fulfill his missionary duty
Although he had never read The Book of Mormon, Cunningham concocts an on-the-spot sermon of scripture and science fiction to win the villagers' devotion. Through the rest of Act II, the missionaries and locals work with faith, fear, and a decent amount of fabrication to save the village from the impending invasion.
The Book of Mormon has been classified as a religious satire, due to its comic treatment of the organized Mormon religion. The musical comedy also parodies styles of previous Broadway hits throughout its musical numbers.
See The Book of Mormon Live
Broadway: The original production opened at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre on March 24, 2011, and is settled in there indefinitely.
Chicago: On stage at the Bank of America Theatre, this production has been extended three times, running through Sept. 8, 2013.
London: This West End production at the Prince of Wales Theatre is currently scheduled through Jan. 14, 2014.
On Tour: The North American tour is scheduled through June 22, 2014, and will travel to major cities, including Toronto, Cleveland, Dallas, New Orleans, Atlanta, Baltimore, and Indianapolis.
Box Office Success
Since opening in 2011, The Book of Mormon has earned over $200 million in the U.S. alone.
The musical only took nine months to earn back its production costs (an estimated $9 million).
London's The Book of Mormon made theater history by earning the highest one-day gross of all time in either Broadway or the West End. Total sales were over $3 million.
The Chicago production made history for the Bank of America Theatre, when the first week of performances set a house record, grossing over $1.4 million.
The Book of Mormon Soundtrack
Trey Parker and Matt Stone became famous in the comedy world for their hit animated TV series, South Park, for which the duo created a movie musical and have written several original songs.
The two writers met in college at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Having grown up just across the border from Utah, headquarters of the LDS Church, Parker and Stone shared an interest early on in Mormonism.
Robert Lopez was best known as composer on the Tony Award-winning Avenue Q before teaming up with Parker and Stone to create The Book of Mormon.
Original Broadway Cast
Andrew Rannells (Elder Kevin Price) | Earned Tony nomination for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical. Has since crossed over to television, appearing as a regular (Elijah) on HBO's Girls and starring in the sitcom The New Normal.
Josh Gad (Elder Arnold Cunningham) | Shared Tony nod with Rannells for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical. Had been a regular on The Daily Show prior to casting in The Book of Mormon, and has since appeared in sitcoms like Modern Family and New Girl.
Nikki M. James (Nabulungi) | Won the production's sole acting Tony for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical.
Rory O'Malley (Elder McKinley) | Earned Drama Desk and Tony Award nominations for Featured Actor in a Musical.
Michael Potts (Mafala Hatimbi) | In addition to his many stage appearances, he's also had minor roles in a variety of films and TV shows.
Lewis Cleale (Mission President) | His extensive Broadway career includes parts in Spamalot, Mamma Mia!, and Swinging on a Star, among others.
Brian Tyree Henry (General) | Outside of Broadway, has been featured in episodes of The Good Wife and Law & Order.
The two stars of the original U.S. national tour, Gavin Creel as Price and Jared Gertner as Cunningham, are reprising their roles in the original West End production.
The Book of Mormon has received near-universal praise from critics. The 2011 original Broadway production won nine Tony Awards including:
Best Book of a Musical
Best Original Score
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical
Best Direction of a Musical
Best Scenic Design
Best Lighting Design
Best Sound Design
The original production also won five Drama Desk Awards, and the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Musical. The original Broadway cast recording received a GRAMMY Award for Best Musical Theater Album.