THE BOOK OF MORMON opened Thursday, March 24 at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre. THE BOOK OF MORMON features book, music and lyrics by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone. Parker and Stone are the four-time Emmy Award-winning creators of Comedy Central's landmark animated series, "South Park." Tony Award-winner Lopez is co-creator of the long-running hit musical comedy, Avenue Q. The world premiere musical is choreographed by three-time Tony Award-nominee Casey Nicholaw (Monty Python's Spamalot, The Drowsy Chaperone) and directed by Nicholaw and Parker.
Let's see what the critics had to say...
Ben Brantley, The New York Times: This is to all the doubters and deniers out there, the ones who say that heaven on Broadway does not exist, that it's only some myth our ancestors dreamed up. I am here to report that a newborn, old-fashioned, pleasure-giving musical has arrived at the Eugene O'Neill Theater, the kind our grandparents told us left them walking on air if not on water. So hie thee hence, nonbelievers (and believers too), to "The Book of Mormon," and feast upon its sweetness.
Elysa Gardner, USA Today: This buoyancy is enhanced by a game young cast, under Parker and Casey Nicholaw's sprightly direction. Andrew Rannells is picture-perfect as the square, hyper-ambitious Elder Price, whose frustrated wish to transfer to Disney/boy-band capitol Orlando is a running joke. As Cunningham, Price's portly, socially inept partner and foil, Josh Gad overdoes the sloppy-sidekick shtick a bit, but not so much that he doesn't make us laugh and, eventually, cheer his progress. In fact, regardless of your spiritual inclinations - or lack thereof - you're likely to leave The Book of Mormon a little happier for the experience. Seriously.
Steve Suskin, Variety: Given the key contributors that "South Park" creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone teamed with for their first Broadway outing, one might expect "The Book of Mormon" to show the influences of "Spamalot" and "Avenue Q." As it happens, this raucously funny new show surpasses both of those Tony winners, and handily so: Every song enhances the hilarity, expert staging heightens every gag, and the cast of fresh faces is blissfully good. Broadway hasn't seen anything like it since Mel Brooks came to town with "The Producers," only "Mormon" has better songs.
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter: The entire cast is terrific, and Gad and Rannells make a dynamite pair, exchanging leader and follower roles with equal conviction. Gad (a correspondent on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart) may be giving the single funniest, most endearing performance on Broadway. But Rannells is not far behind, his character's righteousness at war with his inflated ego.
Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly: A: Teaming with Avenue Q co-creator Robert Lopez (South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker) to wrote a perfect book, music, and lyrics, they honor the traditions of great song-and-dance musical theater in all the best ways: Every detail of the production - choreographed with typical brilliance by Spamalot's Casey Nicholaw and codirected by Nicholaw and Parker - serves a purpose.
Mark Kennedy, Associated Press: "The Book of Mormon," which opened Thursday at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre, is inventive and slick and subversive. It is funnier and smarter than "Monty Python's Spamalot," managing to offend, provoke laughter, trigger eye-rolling, satirize conventions and warm hearts, all at the same time.
Joe Dziemianowicz, NY Daily News: It's a show where you catch yourself laughing one minute, mouth agape the next, eventually wiping away tears, and, finally, cheering. Stone and Parker are famous for their take-no-prisoners, nothing-is-sacred approach to humor. And Lopez knows about thumbing his nose at contemporary conventions. They all share credit for the book, music and lyrics. Silly, soulful and (no surprise with these guys) seriously rude, the score is consistently chipper and clever and keeps the pages in this "Book" turning smoothly.