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The Book of Mormon Play: 10 Things You Probably Don’t Know About The Musical

The Book of Mormon tickets

The Book of Mormon Play: 10 Things You Probably Don’t Know About The Musical

When it comes to The Book of Mormon everyone knows at least three things.  One, it was created by South Park originators Trey Parker and Matt Stone.  Two, it’s an uproarious satire of Mormonism.  And three, it’s not for the faint of heart.  The Book of Mormon contains language that would make a sailor blush.

There are however many other things people probably don’t know about the hilarious Broadway show.  To fix that, BSTLV looks at ten unfamiliar Book of Mormon tidbits.  If you’ve actually seen the production at the famed Eugene O’Neill Theatre then a few of the following informational nuggets won’t be so enigmatic.  If you’ve never had Book of Mormon tickets then this article is a great way to be introduced to one of the century’s best musicals.

The Book Of Mormon Captured Nine Tony Awards
You probably know that The Book of Mormon won a congregation of Tony Awards.  Do you know it won nine?  It picked up trophies in major categories like Best Musical, Best Original Score, and Best Direction.  Do you also know that it won Tony Awards for Best Orchestrations, Best Scenic Design, and Best Sound Design too?

The Book Of Mormon Contains Delightful Phrases
In the musical, the Ugandan villagers frequently sing the phrase “Hasa diga Eebowai.”  That axiom roughly translate to “F**k you, God.”  That’s classic Parker and Stone.  The villagers, who endure everything from AIDS to starvation, sing “Hasa diga Eebowai” to ease their suffering.

The Book Of Mormon Is A Record Breaker
Where ever it plays, The Book of Mormon breaks box office records.  As of Sept. 1, the TBOM tour has demolished 37 house records in 18 venues.  On Broadway, TBOM has broken house records at the Eugene O’Neil Theatre more than 40 times.

The Book of Mormon Took Years To Reach The Stage
Bringing a musical to the Broadway stage is an arduous and time consuming proposition.  The Book of Mormon opened on the Great White Way in March of 2011.  You can trace its origins to at least the summer of 2003.  That’s when Parker and Stone met Avenue Q composer Robert Lopez.  They went out for drinks and realized they all wanted to do a project on Mormon founder Joseph Smith.  What are the odds?

Trey Parker Has A Musical Theatre Background
Piloting a musical may have surprised fans of Trey Parker but the 43-year-old actor was heavily involved with his local theatre scene when was a teenager.  In high school, Parker sang in the chorus of his community theater and starred in productions of Flower Drum Song and Grease.  He also played the piano and helped with set construction.

Star Wars Appears In The Book Of Mormon
Don’t worry, a Wookie doesn’t do a song and dance number and no elder uses “The Force” (although there is a brief tribute to Yoda).  The character Arnold Cunningham is not caught up on his Mormonism and fills in the parts he doesn’t know with elements from science fiction and fantasy franchises like Star Wars, Star Trek, and The Lord of the Rings.

The Original Broadway Cast Recording Did Really Well At The Cash Register
The original Broadway cast recording is the “fastest-selling Broadway cast album” in the history of iTunes.  It peaked at number two the day it was released.  That’s really impressive for a Broadway album.  The cast recording peaked at number three on the Billboard 200.  An original Broadway cast recording hasn’t done that well on the main album charts since the 1970s.

The Book of Mormon Is Running In More Cities Than New York
I’ve already alluded to the national touring production of The Book of Mormon, but I’ve failed to mention that there are two traveling companies putting on the show.  In the near future, the tours will visit San Antonio, Austin, New Orleans, Denver, and Orlando.  On Jan. 21, Los Angeles welcomes The Book of Mormon to the famed Pantages Theatre.  TBOM will run at that venue through March 16, 2014.  The show is also running on London’s West End and in Chicago (until Oct. 6, 2013).

Original Actors Had Their Own Television Shows
Andrew Rannells originated the role of “Elder Price” and Josh Gad originated the role of “Elder Cunningham.”  In 2012, they both starred in their own NBC sitcoms.  Rannells was in “The New Normal” and Gad anchored “1600 Penn.”  Both shows were pretty funny but neither was renewed for a second season.

TBOM’s Success Has Surprised Its Creators
Matt Stone has publically said he thought “South Park” fans would flock to The Book of Mormon but not musical theater fans.  Meanwhile, Robert Lopez told reporters that he’s “mystified” that people enjoy TBOM so much and he never expected to duplicate the success of his previous work, Avenue Q.  Their humility is refreshing and is probably a big reason why their musical is so popular.

By David B.