The Book of Mormon
The play opened at the Eugene O'Neil Theatre on March 24, 2011. The musical has been so popular that the theater has had problems with the sale of counterfeit tickets, through Craigslist, on multiple occasions. The musical is written and created by, of course, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, who also created of South Park, Team America: World Police, and BASEketball. The duo received song writing help from lyricist and composer Robert Lopez, co-writer of Avenue Q. The Book of Mormon is co-directed by Trey Parker and Casey Nicholaw, who has choreographed The Drowsy Chaperone and Monty Python's Spamalot.
The musical follows two "odd couple" missionaries: Elder Price, played by Andrew Rannells (Hairspray); and Elder Cunningham, played by Josh Gad (The Rocker). The missionaries are sent to Uganda (much to Elder Price's dismay), where they find the villagers living in absolute misery. Many other missionaries have tried unsuccessfully to convert the villagers, but the natives are so miserable that they have nothing to believe in. A young tribe member, Nabalungi (played by up-and-comer Nikki M. James), suggests that the missionaries simply take them away from their horrible conditions, but the missionaries employ their own tactics to help the villagers. Elder Price uses an arrogant, condescending approach that is quickly rebuffed by the villagers. Elder Cunningham -- who has little knowledge of actual Mormon doctrine -- uses the few things he knows about Mormonism and injects them with fantastical elements of Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. In the end, The missionaries discover that religion isn't about accepting a single truth, but giving people the hope they need to help themselves.
The Book of Mormon has been sarcastically called "an atheist's love letter to religion"; and while the musical is chock-full of parody (and some explicit language), it is also touching at times and ends with a hopeful message that even the most conservative tastes will enjoy.