April 14, 2010 / 5:12 PM / 9 years ago

"South Park" makers eye Mormon-inspired musical

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The creators of television’s satirical “South Park” animated show are set to cast their brash brand of humor on the Mormon church in a new musical comedy on Broadway, producers said on Wednesday.

The Emmy-award winning “South Park” creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, will write and direct the musical, called “The Book of Mormon,” according to producers of the show. It is set to premiere on Broadway in March 2011.

It centers on two young Mormon missionaries sent to Uganda to spread the gospel of the church, which is formally known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A subplot revolves around Joseph Smith Jr., the church founder.

Calling it a “a dream come true for us,” Parker and Stone said in a joint statement: “Growing up in Colorado, a lot of our friends were Mormons and we always thought their book would make a great musical.”

Parker, 40, and Stone, 38, previously co-wrote the songs for the “South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut,” a musical movie based on the hit television show. The cartoon series, famous for its politically incorrect humor, debuted in 1997 and will celebrate its 200th episode this week.

The pair will team up with Robert Lopez, creator and composer of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical “Avenue Q.” The show is being produced by Scott Rudin and Anne Garefino, an executive producer of the “South Park” television series.

“It really is in many senses a big traditional musical comedy, with, as you might expect, untraditional subject matter. I can’t wait to see how Broadway audiences are going to react when they experience it,” Lopez said in a statement.

The musical may prove to be controversial.

HBO recently apologized after an episode of its polygamy television drama “Big Love,” starring Bill Paxton as a member of a fictional breakaway Mormon sect who has three wives, prompted calls and e-mails from angry Mormons.

None of the characters from the “South Park” television series, which mostly follows four young boys and their adventures in a fictional town called South Park in Colorado, will be transferred to the Broadway musical, according to a spokeswoman for the show.

Parker received an Academy Award nomination for best song for “South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut.” He and Stone also created the parody “Team America: World Police” that Parker also directed.

The Mormon church is based in Utah and has some 13.5 million members around the world. They follow the Book of Mormon, published in 1830 by Joseph Smith Jr., as well as the Bible and other scriptural texts.

Church spokeswoman Kim Farah declined to comment on the making of the musical.

Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Paul Simao

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