The business angle of all this has something to do with the lore of the tight ticket. “Mormon” is playing in a comparatively small house for a Broadway musical, the 1,100-seat Eugene O’Neill, while “Lion King,” “Wicked” and “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” entertain 1,700, 1,800 and 1,900 a night, respectively, according to The Broadway League. “Mormon” seats are simply harder to come by.
Who knew the show would be in such high demand when they landed the cozy O’Neill? Lopez, in fact, monitored the online ticketing agency nightly during the run-up to opening. Scoring 20 tickets was discouragingly easy.
“I was worried,” Lopez says. (The sellouts began, he recalls, with preview performances and word-of-mouth.)
At the same time, “Mormon” has plainly cultivated a strategy of scarcity. Evans says you’ll find far fewer illicit YouTube peeks of “Mormon” than of “Wicked,” and in this online age little official video has been released. Lopez says that means fans wanting to experience the show again need to head back to the theater.
On tour, Stone acknowledges that they’ve been careful not to overstay the show’s popularity. “We didn’t want to limp out of any city,” he says.
Stone also believes in the effect of full houses on performers. “We want them to keep putting on a good show,” he says, contending that the buzz of a sellout keeps the actors’ energy up. “When the cast does the show well, whatever cast it is, it’s a great show.”
“That’s it,” Stone concludes. “That’s my revelation.”
The Book of Mormon
Book, music and lyrics by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone. Tuesday through Aug. 18 at the Kennedy Center Opera House. Call 202-467-4600 or visit www.kennedy-center.org.