Gammage hosts Broadway’s ‘Book of Mormon’

The musical, created by the minds behind “South Park,” has received rave reviews


Courtesy of John M. Quick

Opened in 1964, the Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium is named for a former president of Arizona State and is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

Leon La Jeunesse, Reporter, Scottsdale Chronicle

Every year, Arizona State University’s Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium in Tempe hosts Broadway Theater tours and shows many musicals and plays.  The latest to come to the Valley is the Tony Award-winning “The Book of Mormon,” which will run at Gammage until Nov. 8.

“The Book of Mormon” was created and written by Trey Parker, Matt Stone and Robert Lopez.  Parker and Stone are already well-known for their hit animated TV show “South Park.”  The show has garnered worldwide recognition for its crude and offensive depictions of celebrities, but it has been made that way on purpose since 1997.  It is meant to draw the attention of the viewers with satire, and have them laughing so hard it drives them to tears. This musical is no different and capture’s the audience’s attention from the first joke.

The musical itself is based on the journey of a young Mormon boy named Elder Kevin Price. While on a religious mission to spread the good word of the Book of Mormon, his life takes a left turn. He and one of his fellow missionaries are sent over to Uganda, where they are exposed to the very worst parts of life as a warlord tears the country apart, leaving it in shambles. On Price’s journey his faith begins to weaken but instead of letting go of his faith and running, he rallies around it and continues on to share the teachings of Joseph Smith (the founder of the Mormon faith).

Theatergoer Emile Kassir recently saw the musical with his family in New York City. He had nothing but good things to say about the production.

“Me and my family were in New York and we wanted to see something on Broadway,” Kassir said. “Because I was such a huge ‘South Park’ fan, I just had to see it.”  

Kassir was surprised at just how enjoyable the musical was and how it was a departure from Parker and Stone’s previous material.

“I very much underestimated it because I did not think that Matt and Trey would ever do something like this,” he said. “Not only was it hilarious, but it was also just an amazing show altogether.”  

Kassir indicated that he would recommend the production to anyone.

“Oh yeah, of course,” he said. “But only if they’d be interested in humor like that.”  

“The Book of Mormon” is a spectacle for fans of musicals and for fans of “South Park,” and there is still plenty of time to see it at Gammage.