Here's why you need to see 'The Book of Mormon' in London

The Book of Mormon continues to wow West End audiences with its contemporary take on religion in society. See the Olivier-winning musical at the Prince of Wales Theatre.

Sophie Thomas
Sophie Thomas

The Book of Mormon is a satirical take on the missionaries who serve the Church of Latter-day Saints. And to put it simply, this show will change your life.

The musical follows Elder Price, a cookie-cutter missionary who dreams of serving a two-year mission in Orlando. Instead, he’s sent to Uganda with Elder Cunningham, a nerdy young man who conflates science fiction with religion. The pair are tasked with sharing the gospel in a village, but can they convert a hostile community to Mormonism?

The Book of Mormon musical is the brainchild of South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, as well as Avenue Q creator Robert Lopez. Their musical first took over the world on Broadway, winning nine Tony Awards. The word took over London too, and the seven-time Olivier-winning musical celebrates its 10th anniversary in the West End in 2023.

The show's success is due to its witty writing, sociopolitical commentary, and catchy songs. Here’s why you should say “hello!” to the West End and become an all-American prophet at The Book of Mormon.

The Book of Mormon is at the Prince of Wales Theatre.

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The Book of Mormon has an award-winning creative team

Before the musical, two of The Book of Mormon’s creators already had a track record for writing shows with provocative storylines. Trey Parker and Matt Stone previously collaborated on South Park, a satirical comedy focusing on four friends in a town. They bring the same levels of friendships into two Mormons: Elder Price and Elder Cunningham, as well as the Ugandan locals and their fellow Elders.

Parker and Stone teamed up with Robert Lopez for the musical. Aside from The Book of Mormon, Lopez worked on Avenue Q, Disney films such as Finding Nemo and Frozen, and the Marvel series WandaVision. In fact, The Book of Mormon helped Lopez achieve “EGOT” status: he achieved his first Grammy with the show (Lopez is also the only person to double "EGOT").

Trey Parker teams up with Casey Nicholaw to co-direct the show. Nicholaw's a Tony-winning director, and as well as The Book of Mormon, he's also directed and choreographed Something Rotten!, Mean Girls, Tuck Everlasting, and The Prom. The show features design by Scott Pask, costumes by Ann Roth, lighting by Brian MacDevitt, and sound by Brian Ronan.

The catchy musical numbers will stay in your head

Forget learning the Ten Commandments, you’ll want to learn all the songs in The Book of Mormon. The score features a range of musical styles, from the earworm “Hello!”, a friendly introduction to Mormons knocking door-to-door, to the story-led “All American Prophet” detailing the Mormon origin story.

There are tender moments too, especially in Nabulungi’s “Sal Tlay Ka Siti,” as well as comedic love in “Baptise Me” and Elder Price reaffirming his faith in “I Believe.” Plus, there’s plenty of laughter too, in hysterical songs like “Turn It Off” or “Spooky Mormon Hell Dream.” All of the songs will have you tapping your feet and converting to a lifetime of musicals.

It’s a Grammy award-winning show

What links The Book of Mormon with Dear Evan Hansen, Hamilton and Kinky Boots? They all won the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theatre Album. The original Broadway cast recording (featuring Andrew Rannells as Elder Price and Josh Gad as Elder Cunningham) continues to be streamed — the album boasts over 60,000 monthly listeners on Spotify.

The Book of Mormon is a multi-award-winning show

When The Book of Mormon opened in the West End in 2013, the show picked up six Olivier nominations, winning four: Best New Musical, Best Actor in a Musical (for Gavin Creel as Elder Price,) Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical (for Stephen Ashfield as Elder McKinley,) and Best Theatre Choreographer (for Casey Nicholaw).

The show tells an original story based on Mormon ideas

Many West End shows are based on known entities: Mamma Mia! is based on ABBA, Moulin Rouge! The Musical and Pretty Woman: The Musical are based on movies, and A Little Life is based on a book. But The Book of Mormon is an original story with original music.

Early musical ideas came from trips to Salt Lake City, often considered the home of Mormonism. And while The Book of Mormon is informed by real practices and ideas in the Christian denomination, the characters aren't based on any real figures. However, there's mentions of founder and American religious leader Joseph Smith, the angel Moroni, and the golden plates. Want to know more? You'll have to see the show.

The show offers an emotional look at religion in society

While there are lines designed to shock the audience — notably maggots in scrotums, and an expletive-laden General name — the show's witty writing and engaging characters allow audiences to question their own beliefs and assumptions about religion. Throughout the musical, you'll join Nabulungi as she questions her future in a troubling world. Elder Price also has a crisis of confidence while in Africa and finds comfort in religious teachings. During the show, you'll giggle at the silly moments, but pack a tissue for your tears.

There's plenty of popular culture references

The Book of Mormon isn’t all about religion. As a sci-fi lover, Elder Cunningham weaves movie references into his sermons. He asks "if the Bible is Star Wars, then The Book of Mormon is Return of the Jedi." Cunningham also confuses Christian teachings with messages in Lord of the Rings and Star Trek to comedic effect.

The musical has worldwide appeal

To date, over 17 million people have seen The Book of Mormon worldwide. But there's nothing like seeing the Mormons tap dance in pink sparkly sequin jackets in the West End.

The stories of Elder Price and Cunningham have been told in many countries: productions in Australia, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Cologne. Sweden even said "Hallå" with the first non-English production.

The Book of Mormon is a raucous comedy

The combination of South Park-style humour, zingy songs, and hilarious scenes make this show a laugh-out-loud hit. Listen out for the running joke on Nabulungi's name — she's often referred to in other ways, typically influenced by popular events.

In our five-star review, we said: "it is cleverly written... and the excellent, energetic performances [make it] enormously enjoyable... the laughs keep coming even when the storyline seems about to run out of steam. Like the contents of the Book of Mormon itself, this show could well end up being the stuff of legend." Now discover the legend for yourself with The Book of Mormon tickets in London.

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Photo credit: The Book of Mormon (Photo courtesy of production)

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