“The Book of Mormon,” Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s musical satire about the Mormon church, has been breaking box office records on Broadway since opening in 2011. But this week, the Tony-winning musical did something it’s never done before: it opened in Salt Lake City, Utah.
That’s right -- “The Book of Mormon” hit the heart of the Mormon church for the first time since its national tour launched in 2012, for a two-week, sold out run at the The Capitol Theatre. And according to reports, the foul-mouthed comedy’s first performance was met with a rousing reception from a mixed audience of non-Mormons, ex-Mormons and practicing Mormons.
No protesters or mass walkouts occurred on opening night, and audiences laughed loudly, even during some of the show’s more biting moments. Standing ovations were given. The production’s program even included three advertisements from the Mormon church, whose temple was just two blocks away from the theater.
Actor Billy Tighe, who plays Elder Price in the touring production, called the Salt Lake City opening an “epic evening.” “I’ve never experience an audience so eager to share a laugh,” he said. “Truly one of the most memorable nights of my life.”
Creators Parker and Stone weren’t there, but told the Associated Press that having the show there felt like a full-circle moment. “It just feels very much like it’s coming home,” Stone said. "It's like playing 'Fiddler on the Roof' to a bunch of Jews," Parker added.
Neither Parker nor Stone have ever received blowback The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whose leaders have stuck with one statement about the show over the years.
It reads: "The production may attempt to entertain audiences for an evening, but the Book of Mormon as a volume of scripture will change people's lives forever by bringing them closer to Christ."
For more information about “The Book of Mormon” and its tour, visit bookofmormonbroadway.com.