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HELLO BROADWAY FANS. It’s almost here. Broadway’s Biggest night is almost here and 8 DAYS AWAY. You are once again waking up to some of the best performances from the past 74 years of the Tony Awards on our TOP 50 TONY AWARDS COUNTDOWN. What an incredible way to be celebrating the return of Broadway with the 74th Annual Tony Awards. Here comes another showstopper!!
At # 8 on our countdown is another one of Broadway’s current long running hits which this one gets people laughing. It tells the crazy adventures of 2 unlikely missionaries who team up, travel to Uganda to try to share their scriptures with the residents there. However, hell breaks loose for them!! We of course are talking about…. The Book of Mormon. With a score and book by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, and Matt Stone, it’s inspired by an episode of South Park.
From the 2011 telecast, Tony nominee Andrew Rannells as “Elder Price” along with members of the cast perform the powerhouse anthem I BELIEVE.
THE BOOK OF MORMON was first conceived in the Summer of 2003. Trey Parker and Matt Stone were already becoming household names for their creation of the smash hit TV series South Park and were developing the marionette comedy film Team America: World Police. To get inspiration, Rudin encouraged Parker and Stone to see Avenue Q. After seeing it, Parker and Stone met Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx (the composers of Avenue Q and super South Park fans) and went out for drinks. While talking, the 2 groups all shared something in common…. They wanted to write a comedy involving the story of Joseph Smith and the first Mormons. To learn more about Smith, they decided to take a trip to Salt Lake City interviewing missionaries. The timing was accommodated with Parker and Stone’s schedule with South Park. They continued working on the show and being inspired from a previous South Park episode about missionaries. In 2006 while still working on the piece, Trey Parker and Jeff Marx got into a little disagreement that caused Marx to drop from the production. From there, the show continued to be worked on with Lopez, Parker, and Stone. With Jeff Marx directing and then later dropped out, replaced by Tony winner Casey Nicholaw (a Tony nominee this year), the show went through numerous years of readings and workshops.
The show did not have a traditional out of town tryout heading straight to Broadway opening at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre in 2011. The critics and audiences went crazy crying their eyes out for how hilarious it was. The show continues to sell out and it is still hard to get a ticket. It’s grossed over $500 million dollars since opening and has played over 3,000 performances. Under the direction and choreography by Casey Nicholaw, the cast consisted of…
Tony nominee Andrew Rannells (later Nic Rouleau, Matt Doyle, Gavin Creel, Kyle Selig, David Thomas Brown, and Kevin Clay) as “Elder Price”,
Tony nominee Josh Gad (later Jared Gertner, Cale Krise, Jon Bass, Cody Jamison Strad, Ben Platt, Christopher John O’Neill, and Brian Sears) as “Elder Cunningnam”,
Tony winner Nikki M. James (later Asmeret Ghebremichael, Nikki Renee Daniels, and Kimberly Exum) as “Nabulungi”,
Michael Potts (later Stanley Wayne Mathis, Daniel Breaker, Billy Eugene Jones, and Sterling Jarvis) as “Mafala”,
Tony nominee Rory O’Malley (later Matt Loehr, Grey Henson, and Stephen Ashfield) as “Elder McKinley”,
And more.
The show was nominated for 14 Tony Awards in 2011 winning 9 including Best Musical. It also won the Grammy for Best Musical Theater album and the Olivier Award for Best New Musical.
The show (now celebrating 10 years) was playing to packed houses all around the world. Along with NYC, it was being performed in London’s West End (where it won the Olivier for BEST NEW MUSICAL), on tour across America, in Australia, and on tour across the UK. However, they all were abruptly shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, they’re all set to return this Fall.
The Broadway company of The Book of Mormon will make audience BELIEVE that TOMORROW IS A LATTER DAY once again beginning November 5th, 2021 at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre. Other productions of the show set to reopen will also include its London company and UK/ Ireland Touring productions. More companies will be going out as well.
When the show does return, there will be some tweaks and updates to the script made. All of this has come following last year’s events of the Black Lives Matter protests. During that time, the show itself received so much backlash with its portrayal of Africans (since about 85% of the musical takes place in Uganda). Work will be made to the show’s score and book by its creators (Trey Parker, Matt Stone and Robert Lopez) to make it less offensive. These changes will go also to all future companies as well.
In addition, it returns without its main head producer Scott Rudin. Earlier this year, the producer had dropped from all his Broadway projects following recent reports of his horrific, arrogant, abusive, monstrous, ugly, and tyrannical behaviors towards people in the work place.
Mike Haber
Author: Mike Haber

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