The Book of Mormon opens on Broadway to glowing reviews. Here's a look back.

Categories: Theater

Book of Mormon.jpg
Bring it back home!
Type "The Book of Mormon" into Google right now, and the first thing to come is the eponymous play by Matt Stone and Trey Parker, two Colorado boys who went on to become, we think it's fair to say at this point, the greatest satirists of a generation. From South Park to Team America, they can basically do no wrong, and from the reception The Book of Mormon, which opens today, is getting, it's safe to say they've succeeded in making an old-style musical sendup of the Church of Latter Day Saints work, too.

Oh, and those search results? That would be above the actual Book of Mormon.

It wouldn't be the first time the two, who grew up in and around Denver, tackled Mormonism -- that would be Orgazmo, their first major film, about a Mormon missionary who becomes a porn-star to save money for his otherwise chaste wedding and then becomes a superhero. Released in 1997, the same year South Park debuted, it's pretty dumb -- but being that Parker and Stone seem to just keep getting smarter and more hilarious, it's probably fair to assume The Book of Mormon will be both.

It's also not the first musical the two have worked on -- actually, pretty much everything in their oeuvre has been a musical in one way or another, and it's arguable that getting a musical all the way to the bright lights of Broadway is a kind of culmination of their career. Their first production together, in fact, was Cannibal! The Musical, about real-life historical cannibal Alfred Packer, who got lost near Gunnison and ate his traveling companions. They made a film version while students at the University of Colorado in 1993, which was later staged off-Broadway in 2001.

By all rights, The Book of Mormon seems to be as gleefully crass and profane as everything they do -- and perhaps moreso, since they don't have to deal with the Comedy Central censors (one song, a parody of "Hakuna Matata," features lyrics that translate to "Fuck You, God"). Following the travails of two Mormon missionaries in AIDS-ravaged Uganda, it'd pretty much have to be. All the same, reviewers have also noted its obvious affection for Mormons as people, if not for their sometimes bizarre (the musical makes fun of its weirder aspects) faith. Many Mormons, in fact, have reacted positively to the treatment.

Basically assured of its success, Mormon is booked for a ridiculously long run at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre on Broadway in New York -- it opens tonight at continues through September -- but here's hoping when it goes regional (and that might be a long time from now) the boys will bring it back home.

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