When The Book of Mormon first hit the stage on Broadway in February of 2011, theater goers were not sure what to expect? Neither were many people involved with the production with the exception of writer’s Matt Stone and Trey Parker. Stone and Parker, also the creators of South Park, are known for their twisted take on religion as evident in their Comedy Central hit, which is now in it’s 16th season. Many said the new musical would offend the Mormons and others said it would cause protests outside of the Eugene O’Neill Theatre. Stone and Parker said it would be cool and it was “cool”, very cool! The Mormons pretty much said it was a funny take on their beliefs but not accurate.
Nine months after the productions debut, investors recovered the $11.4 million they put up in good faith. On 9/2/2012, The Book of Mormon broke a house record for the 40th time with weekly revenue of $1,667,593. As of 9/30/2012, the production had gross revenue totaling over $114 million. This is through 662 shows with 723,091 Book of Mormon tickets sold. The production could be on it’s way to being the No. 1 show of all time.
The “King” of Broadway productions is none other than The Lion King. The production started in 1997 and became the all-time leading revenue producer earlier this year passing The Phantom of the Opera. As of 9/30/2012, The Lion King has grossed over $900 million.*
How does The Book of Mormon stack up to the Lion King through 18 months of productions? Very well indeed. The Book of Mormon through 78 weeks has grossed over $104 million vs The Lion King’s first year and a half of $63.5 million. But keep in mind the tickets to Book of Mormon cost more than they would have in 1997-98.
Book of Mormon tickets will continue to be in high demand. The recent launch of The Book of Mormon tour starting in Denver and now at the Pantages Theatre in LA opens up a whole new revenue stream for the creators, which also includes Avenue Q composer Robert Lopez.
Andrew Rannells and Josh Gad, the original Broadway leads who played Elder’s Kevin Price and Arnold Cunningham, have both already left the musical. Rannells is playing a lead role as one half of a gay couple on The New Normal on NBC. Gad recently voiced a role on Ice Age: Continental Drift. He is the new character, a molehog named Louis.
The rest of the cast of principal characters including Tony Award winning actress, Nikki M. James, can still be seen in the Eugene O’Neill Theatre.
Rannells and Gad showed up for the tour’s opening night in LA. Other Broadway notables in attendance were Idina Menzel and Marissa Jaret Winokur. Los Angeles will run the show through 11/25/2012 and then the cast is off to San Francisco, Chicago and numerous other cities.
Gavin Creel is playing Elder Price and former Broadway understudy, Jared Gertner, is currently in the role of Arnold Cunningham on the Book of Mormon tour. The tour is currently scheduled through August of 2013.
It appears that people now not only know what to expect from this brilliant production, but fans of musicals everywhere are eagerly waiting to see this twisted masterpiece. You probably won’t ever find the show in Utah, but those who have seen The Book of Mormon musical know the All-American Prophet never made it to Salt Lake City!
*BroadwayWorld.com was a contributing source to this post.