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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Award-Winning Broadway Musical The Book of Mormon Is Coming to S.F.

Posted on Wed, Feb 15, 2012 at 1:00 PM

The Tony and Grammy award-winning Broadway musical The Book of Mormon -- co-written by the creators of South Park and featuring the lyric "fuck you, God" -- will run for five weeks at San Francisco's Curran Theater starting in November, according to a statement from SHN, operator of the Curran.

The play has been at New York City's Eugene O'Neill Theatre since March 2011, according to entertainment sources, and is competing with Broadway blockbusters Wicked, Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark, and The Lion King. The Book of Mormon is the first show to be announced for the 2012-13 season by SHN, which also operates the Golden Gate and Orpheum theaters and brings Broadway productions to San Francisco.

No specific dates have been announced, but considering the play starts in November, it may come just in time to give San Franciscans a way to process some anger and dismay if Mitt Romney, himself a Mormon, is elected to the White House.

Original cast members (left to right) Rema Webb, Andrew Rannell, and Josh Gad in The Book of Mormon. - JOAN MARCUS
  • Joan Marcus
  • Original cast members (left to right) Rema Webb, Andrew Rannell, and Josh Gad in The Book of Mormon.

The Book of Mormon is a religious satire written by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone along with Robert Lopez, who co-wrote the Broadway musical Avenue Q. In the play, two young missionaries visit a Uganda village, where a military dictator threatens the populace. The two men attempt to share their religious scriptures, but it tends to be lost on the Ugandans, who are concerned about AIDS, hunger, and poverty.

In the song "Hasa Diga Eebowai," a Ugandan teaches the missionaries what his people say to the almighty when they're handed misfortune. (Their response is the title of the song.) "Does it mean 'no worries for the rest of our days?'" one missionary asks. The answer is no. Rather, it translates to, "Fuck you, God."

Despite its seemingly blasphemous content, some critics have said the musical nonetheless shows sympathy for the missionaries and embraces and explains Mormonism as much as it ridicules it.

Wrote New York Times critic Ben Brantley, the play is "blasphemous, scurrilous and more foul-mouthed than David Mamet on a blue streak. But trust me when I tell you that its heart is as pure as that of a Rodgers and Hammerstein show. "

The Book of Mormon will almost certainly still be on Broadway in November, so the San Francisco production will probably have a touring cast rather than the original. The statement released by SHN doesn't mention the cast or whether its members have been chosen.

Prices for tickets were not announced; the SHN statement specifies that people can guarantee tickets by becoming subscribers of SHN. Otherwise, individual ticket sales will be announced later. Subscriber ticket prices start at $197.50 and increase to $567.50, according to the SHN website. The site also says individual tickets could cost more than subscriber rates.

Demand for the show in New York remains high. Although tickets are available for upcoming shows on the Eugene O'Neill Theatre website, the cheapest in the house is $336, while the most expensive is $788.

For more events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section. Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF and like us on Facebook.

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