The Book of Mormon, the Tony-winning musical comedy by Trey Parker, Matt Stone and Robert Lopez, will resume Broadway performances at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre on Friday, Nov. 5, producer Anne Garefino announced today. But there might well be some changes.
The show’s writers will begin rehearsals with the cast in the Fall, having agreed to discuss and possibly adjust elements of the show deemed racially problematic. Several months ago, twenty actors from the original and most recent Broadway casts signed their names to a letter asking the writers and producers to reevaluate aspects of the show.
The irreverent show’s depiction of Africans has been a much-discussed topic in theater circles since matters of Broadway’s entrenched racism took on renewed scrutiny following last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests. In a People TV interview last July, original cast member Josh Gad, asked about a potential film adaptation of the musical, said, “I don’t know that that show could open today and have the same sort of open-armed response that it did then. It’s not to say that it’s any less significant or wonderful or incredible a musical, I just think it’s the nature of art to adapt. I would certainly hope that with a future adaptation there would be that growth. Because I think it’s a cool opportunity for growth.”
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Any changes would also apply to other productions of the musical: Mormon will resume performances at the Prince of Wales Theatre in London’s West End on Nov. 15 and resume touring the UK on Oct. 12 at the Donald Gordon Theatre in Cardiff, Wales.
The topic was not specifically addressed in the reopening announcement. “When Broadway shut down, so many amazing and talented people were put out of work, many of whom had become family to us,” the authors said in a joint statement. “As writers and as fans we are so ready for the ‘Great Broadway Comeback’ and are so glad that our show can be a part of it. Can’t wait to be back with the entire team and our wonderful cast, crew, and orchestra.”
Casting for Broadway, West End and the UK tour will be announced in coming weeks. Tickets for the Broadway production go on sale June 28.
The Book of Mormon, choreographed by Casey Nicholaw and directed by Nicholaw and Parker, opened in 2011 and quickly became one of Broadway’s most popular shows, setting house records at the O’Neill more than 50 times and winning nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The London production opened in 2013 at the Prince of Wales Theatre, won four Olivier Awards including Best New Musical, and the UK tour launched in 2019 in Manchester, UK.
The musical joins more than 30 productions currently set to open or reopen on Broadway by the end of 2021, with most beginning performances in September (Springsteen on Broadway kicks things off this month).
Scott Rudin, previously a lead producer on Mormon, is no longer on the production team, making Mormon the fourth formerly Rudin-produced production to announce a return or opening without him, following The Lehman Trilogy, To Kill a Mockingbird and The Music Man. Rudin announced his “step back” from Broadway in April amid accusations of workplace abuses and bullying.
The formerly Rudin-produced West Side Story has not yet announced a return date
The Book of Mormon is produced by Anne Garefino, Roger Berlind, Scott M. Delman, Jean Doumanian, Roy Furman, Important Musicals LLC, Stephanie P. McClelland, Kevin Morris, Jon B. Platt, Sonia Friedman Productions and Stuart Thompson.