'Book of Mormon' Musical Called Surprisingly Sweet
Stack, Peggy Fletcher, National Catholic Reporter
NEW YORK * "Salvation has a name--Salt Lake-y City," croons a character in "The Book of Mormon," which opened for previews at the Eugene O'Neill Theater in February and ended with a standing ovation.
The lyrics are ironic, of course, as is much of the story written and directed by "South Park" creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, in conjunction with Robert Lopez, who helped compose the award-winning musical "Avenue Q."
Many believers would see it as a blasphemous assault on scriptures, much like the pair's animated TV series. But the satire and tone of the production, which opened March 24, were not as hostile as many Mormons feared.
"I was expecting to be offended," said Anne Christensen, a 22-year-old Mormon New Yorker, "but was pleasantly surprised by how incredibly sweet it was."
Parker and Stone have said they love Mormons "and it showed," said Graceann Bennett, a Mormon from Chicago. "It was like loving teasing. I don't think you could get to that sweetness in today's world without a serious dose of irreverence."
Bennett especially liked the fact that the characters were "real Mormons," not fringe groups such as polygamists. There was not a single mention of plural marriage, "Big Love," Mitt Romney or Proposition 8.
There are brief appearances by Latter-day Saints figures, but the main characters are missionaries in white shirts, ties and those ever present nametags. …