The Broadway production of The Book of Mormon opened at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre in March 2011. After years in the making and a final workshop production in the summer of 2010, Producers took the decision to open directly on Broadway rather than off-Broadway or an out of town tryout. This gamble paid off, as the stakes were raised and the venue was booked, the show began to develop excellent word of mouth within the theatre and wider community. The original production was estimated to cost around $11million, but came in under budget at around $9million, and after four weeks of rehearsals, re-writes and re-development opened on March 24 2011 after previews from February 24.
The musical received vast critical praise from almost all reviewers, including the important Ben Brantley of The New York Times who called it “The Musical of the Century”. It became an instant hit, and thanks to an effective marketing campaign continues to be one of the most popular shows on Broadway, playing to full capacity at almost every performance.
BEST MUSICAL – WINNER
BEST BOOK OF A MUSICAL – WINNER
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE – WINNER
BEST FEATURED ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL (NIKKI M JAMES) – WINNER
BEST DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL – WINNER
BEST ORCHESTRATIONS – WINNER
BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A MUSICAL – WINNER
BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A MUSICAL – WINNER
BEST SOUND DESIGN OF A MUSICAL – WINNER
BEST LEADING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL (JOSH GAD, ANDREW RANNELLS) – NOMINATED
BEST FEATURED ACTOR IN A MUSICAL (RORY O’MALLEY) – NOMINATED
BEST CHOREOGRAPHY – NOMINATED
BEST COSTUME DESIGN OF A MUSICAL – NOMINATED
|“I decided to see The Book of Mormon musical on a recent trip to Manhattan. See, I’m a Mormon and former missionary. So, I was curious. I expected to hate it. I expected to be offended. I expected to not be entertained. But you know what disappointed me the most? I flippin’ * liked it…The performances are superb, if a little over-the-top. The singing is fantastic and the dancing is wonderful… It’s at one moment sweet and the next shocking. Amazingly, as edgy and adult as this show is, it is also very tender and thought-provoking.” POPARITAVILLE read more|
|“I can define the experience as nothing short of spiritual. My jaw hit the floor and my eyes popped out of head many times in the way that I’ve come to expect from Matt Stone and Trey Parker (I’ve been watching South Park for 14 years). I expected to cry from laughing so hard. But I didn’t expect to cry from moments of genuine tenderness. The show reminded me why I love my Mormon roots and my unique (if not odd) culture of faith. The music is catchy and clever and I can’t think of one song I didn’t like. All the songs are fantastic but a few stand out as sublime. “Spooky Mormon Hell Dream” had me in stitches… I left the theater walking on air.”BOY MEETS BLOG read more|
|“The Book of Mormon is one of the most entertaining shows ever written about the Mormon experience… There is one straight forward, inspiring song called “I Believe,” that brings the house down with laughter because it checks off a long list of Mormon beliefs that outsiders find rather odd even though it is doctrinally accurate… The designers had done their research and I was both flattered and proud…. As the cast joyfully sings in celebration at the end of the play, “Tomorrow is a Latter Day!” Ultimately, it made me proud to be a Mormon.”AFFIRMATION read more|
|The Book of Mormon… has everything an audience in search of some dangerous New York City titillation could ask for—dirty words, blasphemy, violence, Mormons, sexual innuendo, frequently all crammed together into catchy production numbers…The Book of Mormon is, above all else, funny—side-splittingly funny… But the show suffers in other ways. Characters behave in inconsistent ways [and] the violence itself plays more like a blatant attempt to shock than an organic element of the plot…This final message about religion’s palliative effects in a grim world did enable me to leave the theater with a smile on my face, but I still can’t shake my conviction that The Book of Mormon is hardly the flawless gem so many people seem to think it is. WILLIAM SHUNN read more|
|“This is to all the doubters and deniers out there, the ones who say that heaven on Broadway does not exist, that it’s only some myth our ancestors dreamed up. I am here to report that a newborn, old-fashioned, pleasure-giving musical has arrived at the Eugene O’Neill Theater, the kind our grandparents told us left them walking on air if not on water. So hie thee hence, nonbelievers (and believers too), to “The Book of Mormon,” and feast upon its sweetness.”The New York Times|
“The show is blissfully original, irreverent, outspoken and hilarious. And all that’s tucked inside good — no, great – old-fashioned musical…It’s a show where you catch yourself laughing one minute, mouth agape the next, eventually wiping away tears, and, finally, cheering….This musical spills over with confidence in the material and cast, a roster of relative unknowns. As Elder Price, a nice but narcissistic missionary, Andrew Rannells has wholesome good looks and a whole lot of talent that shines through in every note and gesture.”
The Daily News
|“The show, co-directed by Parker and Casey Nicholaw (who also choreographed what may be the first number with tap-dancing Mormons), is admirably acted by a cast that understands that effective comedy starts with sincerity…”Mormon” is that rare creature that isn’t based on a book or a play or a movie – it came totally out of its creators’ heads. And what they thought up is one of the most purely enjoyable musicals in years.”The Record|
|“If you’re surprised to hear that Parker and Stone are responsible for re-energising Broadway’s hopes, you haven’t been following their career. The team have been honing their razzle-dazzle chops over two decades. Their first major effort, Cannibal! The Musical, was filmed in 1993, and, in 1999, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut was aptly (if cheekily) praised as the year’s best new musical. More recently, Team America: World Police paid snarky homage to Rent with the parody ballad “Everybody Has Aids”. These showtune-humming pranksters were destined to mock the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in song – an institution that, like the Broadway musical, is a singularly American invention.”The Guardian|
The original production starred Andrew Rannells and Josh Gad as Elder Price and Elder Cunningham, along with Nikki M James as Nabulungi. Standby Jared Gertner took over the headline role of Elder Cunningham, before joining the US tour with Gavin Creel. The pair joined the London production when it opened at the Prince of Wales Theatre in February 2013. Elder McKinley was original played by Rory O’Malley, alongside Michael Potts as Mafala Hatimbi and Brian Tyree Henry as the General.
The original cast recording was released on May 17 2011, and quickly become the fastest-selling Broadway cast album in iTunes history. It went on to become the highest charting Broadway Cast Album in over 40 years after peaking at number 3 on the US Billboard Chat, thanks to the success of the show at the Tony Awards.