Published: June 1, 2011 By

Book of Mormon

CU’s South Park duo conquers Broadway with box office hit.

Going to New York City this summer? Buy your ticket now for the most offensive, irreverent and popular Broadway show in town. The Book of Mormon,which opened in March, is a stunning box office hit created by Matt Stone (Art, Math’93) and Trey Parker (A&S ex’93).

It has received glowing reviews from critics at the Washington PostRolling StoneThe New York Times and Los Angeles Times, among others. Elysa Gardner of USA Today wrote that “the most surprising thing about Mormon . . . may be its inherent sweetness . . . Neither the Mormons nor the Ugandans are mocked for their belief systems; they’re parodied for their mutual human fallibility.”

From Boulder to Broadway, the two alums leave a colorful trail of pop culture work from Cannibal! The Musical and other films to the animated sitcom South Park, Comedy Central’s longest-running and highest-rated program. Raised in Colorado, Stone and Parker became almost inseparable friends and collaborators at CU. The Emmy-Award-winning South Park debuted in 1997 and attacks both sides of the political fence through its characters’ satirical sense of humor and crude language.

Even as they worked on South Park and other projects, the idea of doing a Broadway musical was percolating. When they met Avenue Q composer Robert Lopez in 2003, the three discovered something in common — a fascination with Mormonism. So they decided to team up and take the plunge. Creating one song and scene at a time, it took years for the finished product.

“It was something Matt and I talked about since college,” Parker told Playbill, “and we realized maybe we should be doing this together.”

Matt and Trey

The Book of Mormon follows the misadventures of two young, mismatched Mormon missionaries.

Instead of being sent to their dream destination of Orlando, Fla., they find themselves in an AIDS-ravaged village in Uganda where their experiences with the villagers, a local warlord and other missionaries teach uplifting lessons about their religion and the beliefs of others.

Make no mistake. The Book of Mormon is not for everyone. Some will be shocked by the jaw-dropping language, and others by what they see as blasphemous ridicule of Mormonism. That was never the intent, Parker said in an interview with The New York Times. “We wanted to make this not just cynical and Mormon bashing but hopeful and happy.”

With the musical selling out every performance, Stone’s degree in math should come in handy when calculating his and Parker’s share of the almost $1 million weekly take at the box office.

To learn more or book tickets, go to  or call (212) 239-6200.

Hugh Heckman (PolSci’69) has been writing for the CBS Evening News since 1975. He’s also an actor in New York City.