The secret behind the hit musical by the creators of South Parkby Avi Steinberg / February 20, 2013 / Leave a comment
Published in March 2013 issue of Prospect Magazine
The Book of Mormon: “I usually become suicidal when a grinning idiot on stage breaks into song, but the musical numbers are sheer pleasure” © Joan Marcus/AP/Press Association Images
Nobody who is familiar with the work of Trey Parker and Matt Stone is surprised that their Broadway musical, The Book of Mormon, has found an audience. As the profane auteurs behind the animated TV series South Park and numerous other projects, the duo don’t seem capable of anything less than devastatingly accurate aim. For over 20 years and three American presidencies, they have deployed armies of half-dimensional dolls in the service of satire. Parker and Stone have become America’s public champions of clear-eyed common sense.
Even so, nobody predicted the magnitude of the show’s success. The Book of Mormon began on Broadway in 2011 and tells the story of two young Mormon missionaries in Uganda. It soon became a wild hit, leaving critics sputtering with praise and the creators awash in awards. In 2012, the show hit the road, making stops throughout the American heartland. It is catching on faster than the Mormon religion itself did back in the 1830s. In February, the show will open at the Prince of Wales theatre in London.