“The Book of Mormon” might try to offend all sides, but the musical comedy could do nothing to turn off the Tony Award voters.
The “South Park” creators’ debut Broadway show garnered 14 Tony nominations this morning — just one short of the record.
Animators Trey Parker and Matt Stone [left] have often courted controversy with their Comedy Central show — routinely skewering religion and drawing international attention last year when they tried to depict Muhammad.
Mormonism, it turns out, is a less dicey satirical target for Parker, Stone and co-creator Robert Lopez, whose potty-mouthed puppet show “Avenue Q” also won much acclaim. As Parker and Stone are learning, Broadway can be a welcoming home for the safely subversive.
“Book of Mormon” is about missionaries who try to win converts in Africa. “It has skirted significant criticism about racial and religious insensitivity by virtue of its humor,” Reuters writes.
Post theater critic Peter Marks gave the production a rave, saying of Parker and Stone: “You’ve discovered your true calling — as the wit-spewing class clowns of Broadway.”
“Book of Mormon” could yet become the most Tony-decorated show ever. ”The Producers” — from Broadway class clown Mel Brooks — basked in 12 Tonys out of a record-tying 15 nominations in 2001. (“Billy Elliot” also received 15 noms, in 2009.)
Another musical with cartoon ties, the much-debated, much-delayed “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark,” was not eligible for consideration because the $65-million-and-counting show now isn’t scheduled to officially open till June 14, a half-year since it first began previews.
The Tonys — run by the Broadway League and American Theatre Wing — toast Broadway shows from the 2010-11 season. The televised Tony ceremony will be June 12 at New York’s Beacon Theatre.
To see the entire list of nominees, you can check out the Tonys site.