On the heels of the milestone accomplishment of airing the 200th episode of “South Park,” creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker have announced that they will be hitting Broadway in March of 2011 with the production “The Book of Mormon.” It’s a project the duo first announced back in 2008, after the passage of the gay-marriage-banning Proposition 8 in California (for which the Mormon Church campaigned heavily).
According to a press release, the Colorado duo wrote the book, music, and lyrics with Tony award-winner Robert Lopez, one of the creators of the hit musical “Avenue Q.” While no cast announcements have been made, Parker will direct alongside Jason Moore (another “Avenue Q” alumnus) with Scott Rudin and Anne Garefino listed to produce.
“Growing up in Colorado, a lot of our friends were Mormons and we always thought their book would make a great musical,” Parker and Stone said in a statement. “We loved ‘Avenue Q’ and are having a blast working with Bobby Lopez. Having a show on Broadway is a dream come true for us and we can’t wait to share ‘The Book of Mormon’ with everyone.”
“The Book of Mormon” tells the story of Joseph Smith, who founded the Latter Day Saints movement in the early 1800s, while also following two modern-day Mormon missionaries sent to Uganda, according to BBC News. The idea for the production has apparently been percolating for a while. Back in 2003, the controversial, musical “All About the Mormons” episode of “South Park” satirized the founding of the religion.
While this is the first major stage production for Stone and Parker, the two are no strangers to musicals. Aside from writing the music and lyrics for the occasional “South Park” song, Parker directed, wrote and starred in the 1996 cult-classic “Cannibal! The Musical” alongside Stone. The pair even garnered a songwriting Oscar nomination for “Blame Canada,” from their 1999 film “South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut.” Parker’s music writing credits also include collaborating on many of the tracks for their 2004 marionette action movie, “Team America: World Police.”