We’ve got exciting news from SOUTH PARK creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone and Avenue Q co-creator Robert Lopez are heading to London with THE BOOK OF MORMON. It won nine Tony Awards including Best Musical and the Grammy for Best Musical Theatre album as it follows a pair of Mormon boys sent on a mission to a place, that’s a long way from Salt Lake City. Tickets are due to go on public sale on 23 September 2012 for the London production will begin preview performances at the Prince of Wales Theatre on 25 February 2013.
THE BOOK OF MORMON also opened in LA yesterday where Trey and Matt attended a Q&A to speak about its success. We’ve picked some of the best parts out for THN readers:
Q: There’s a recurring gag with the “I’ve got maggots scrotum” line. At what point in the writing process did that come about and what were the lines that were thrown out?
Trey Parker: Before we even knew it would be a show about Mormons we said, “Let’s write a musical with maggots in the scrotum!” (laughs) Actually it’s funny, that line started as a song that used to be called “The Bible is a Trilogy,” the one that’s now “American Prophet.” It used to go, [singing] “The Bible is a trilogy!” and it made movie references and was kind of a joke about how the third part of a trilogy is always the best movie and how the third “Matrix” was actually the best, which is, of course, a great joke. So it ended up being that the African guy kind of stepped forward and said, “Can you imagine if ‘The Matrix’ had ended [singing] after the first one?” And then another African guy said, “[singing] I actually thought the third ‘Matrix’ was the worst one!” It was this thing we had for the longest time and we finally decided we couldn’t do “The Bible is a Trilogy.” It didn’t make sense with the story anymore so we changed it to this other song.
Q: I was wondering about the character Butt F–ing Naked. How did that name come about?
Parker: We had the warlord really from the beginning.
Matt Stone: Really, he was based on Joseph Kony. Luckily we didn’t, but we toyed with just making it Kony. I mean, it is in northern Uganda where Kony has done his deeds. But now after the whole Joseph Kony thing this year I was so glad we didn’t do that because it sort of changed the context of it. That’s who it’s based on, though. The warlords in Liberia have such colorful names and we were reading about the one named General Butt Naked. We just ripped off his joke, basically.
Parker: We were like, “What’s better than Butt Naked? Butt F–ing Naked!”
Q: Can you talk about your plans to make “Book of Mormon” into a movie?
Parker: We don’t have any. The only thing is that, when we first started working on it seven years ago, we kind of toyed with the idea of it being a Broadway show or being a movie and, obviously, since Matt and I knew how to make a movie we were just like, “Let’s make a movie! We can do that pretty quickly!” But we stuck with it and after we saw our first few workshops with an audience, we were like, “Nah, this would be cool as a stage thing.” As we were doing scenes, I was always kind of visualizing it as a movie because that’s just what I knew. So I don’t think it would be a really difficult thing, but it would also have to be a pretty different animal when we’re done with it. We don’t talk about it too much right now or think about it, but it’s very possible one day.
Q: Since there’s a chance we could have a Mormon president this time next year, have you guys reached out to Governor Romney and invited him to the show? What do you think his reaction would be?
Stone: He’s been invited. He said he’s gonna come when he has time. If he gets elected, it’s because of us. If he doesn’t get elected it’s because of us. (laughs)
Q: You guys did a recent episode of “South Park” that was about breaking into musical theater. Was it autobiographical, based on your experiences working on “Book of Mormon”?
Stone: It was an episode that Bobby Lopez came out to L.A. and worked on. That was fun. It was like a week of working together, klind of being in the same room and doing “Book of Mormon” again, but on a different kind of schedule. That was really fun.
Q: Is there anything in the Mormon religion you wanted to stay away from?
Parker: Yeah, the only thing was the polygamy, and that’s only because it’s just not — we wanted to do your everyday Salt Lake City Mormon and we obviously do a stereotype of that, too. But it’s sort of a misconception among a lot of people. “Oh, Mormons, they’re polygamists!” It’s like, “Well, no, they’re not, actually,” but they obviously have that in their history and there are some fundamentalists that still are. Because of “Big Love” and because of all of these things, the jokes have been done.
Stone: I think that’s probably the main reason Mormons like the show. They’re so sick of that lazy joke. It’s definitely part of their history and it’s not like it’s not there, but it just doesn’t apply to mainstream Mormons anymore. I think that, in staying away from that, they’re just so appreciative that there’s something mainstream that doesn’t have them saying, “No, that was a hundred years ago.” It just doesn’t fit most of them.
Parker: And we wanted Mormons to buy tickets and take out ads in Playbill. (laughs)
For the entire interview, head over to ComingSoon and for more details of the London production, just keep scrolling down. It’s good to know that the unique West End production will also offer a limited number of top price stalls tickets at £20 for each performance. These seats will be available through The Book of Mormon lottery and entries to the lottery will be accepted in person at the Box Office two and a half hours prior to each performance, names will then be drawn at random two hours before each performance.
The Book of Mormon is produced in the West End by Anne Garefino, Scott Rudin, Important Musicals and Sonia Friedman Productions.
And now, for all your booking information! You can call the Prince of Wales Theatre Box Office on 0844 4825110 and the first booking period is 25 February – 4 May 2013. For even more information, visit their website: www.bookofmormonlondon.com