The Washington Post

TONY AWARDS: ‘South Park’ creators get 14 noms for ‘Book of Mormon’

Andrew Rannells (center) and Josh Gad both received Tony noms for their performances as missionaries in "The Book of Mormon.” The show’s other noms Tuesday included Best Book, Best Direction and Best Original Score. (Joan Marcus/AP)

The “South Park” creators’ debut Broadway show garnered 14 Tony nominations this morning — just one short of the record.

MANHATTAN, NY, MARCH 18, 2011 Trey Parker and Matt Stone, in gray suit, who wrote the play, " The Book of Mormon" that is showing on Broadway, are seen at The Four Seasons Restaurant in Manhattan, NY. 3/18/2011 (Photo by ©Jennifer S. Altman/For The Washington Post) (Jennifer S. Altman)

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.

Writer/artist/visual storyteller Michael Cavna is creator of the "Comic Riffs" column and graphic-novel reviewer for The Post's Book World. He relishes sharp-eyed satire in most any form.


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