'South Park's' Trey Parker: 'Book of Mormon' Musical About More Than 'Mormon Bashing'

 Danielle Levitt

CORRECTED

The Book of Mormon creators Trey Parker, Matt Stone and Robert Lopez have opened up about their new Broadway musical, saying the production's main purpose is not to shock and offend.

"We wanted to make this not just cynical and Mormon bashing, but hopeful and happy, because to me that’s what musicals are about," Parker told the New York Times, adding that he’s a fan of Wicked and Jersey Boys.
 
The story centers around two very different Mormon missionaries who journey to Uganda, where dire conditions force them to question their faith. Parker’s co-director Casey Nicholaw described the tone as "wrong in a good way."
 
Although Parker and his co-creators made it clear that they don’t believe in Mormonism -- Lopez, who co-wrote Avenue Q, calls the actual Book of Mormon "Bible fan fiction" -- they said they were drawn to the religion out of curiosity.
 
Stone said he used to wonder about his Mormon neighbors, "Do goofy stories make people nice? What if, in their goofiness, these stories somehow inspire that in the right way. Is that a social good?"
 
As for the consequences of addressing race and religion on Broadway with the same politically incorrect bluntness that made South Park popular, Parker said he and Stone, who have worked together for 20 years, are "just not scared."
 
"We’re just reckless," he admitted.
 
The Book of Mormon opens at the Eugene O’Neill Theater on March 24.
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