Everything you need to know about ‘The Book of Mormon’ in London
A 21st century musical smash, audiences continue to spread the word about The Book of Mormon at the Prince of Wales Theatre. It’s become one of the longest-running Broadway transfers in the capital, following two Mormons who are sent on a lifechanging mission to Uganda.
With a book, music and lyrics by Frozen’s Robert Lopez and South Park’s Matt Stone and Trey Parker, The Book of Mormon was always going to impress. But, it’s definitely going down in theatre history as one of the musical greats.
Here’s our complete guide to the West End production of The Book of Mormon, with The Book of Mormon tickets available on LondonTheatre.co.uk.
What is The Book of Mormon about?
The Book of Mormon dramatises the coming-of-age journey that young Mormons face when going on their mission to spread the word of Jesus Christ. In this musical, it’s Elders Kevin Price and Arnold Cunningham, unexpectedly paired together to serve two years at a missionary in… Uganda. Flying halfway across the world, the religious duo are immediately thrown in the deep end; any talk of God in the Ugandan villages isn’t exactly optimistic.
As the pair share biblical prose, Elder Cunningham falls in love with a local, the leader’s daughter Nabulungi. At the same time, Elder Price struggles to convert the General and questions whether he can do his job. But, as the two Elders develop their strategy to convert communities to Mormonism, the pair realise they’ll have to come together in order to get the job done.
When did The Book of Mormon premiere?
The Book of Mormon was first performed at the Eugene O’ Neill Theatre on Broadway on 24 Feb. 2011, before an opening night on 24 Mar. 2011. After two years on Broadway, The Book of Mormon then transferred to London. The first London performance was on 25 Feb. 2013, with an opening night on 13 Mar. 2013.
Who wrote The Book of Mormon?
The Book of Mormon’s book, music and lyrics is a collaborative effort between Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone.
Trey Parker is an American actor, voice actor and creator, who is perhaps best known for creating the animated sitcom South Park. For The Book of Mormon, Parker is joined by his South Park co-creator Matt Stone. Together, the pair have worked on numerous satirical projects, notably Team America: World Police which made light of global politics.
For The Book of Mormon, Parker and Stone were joined by Robert Lopez, an American songwriter who had previously written music for Avenue Q. Now, Lopez is best known for penning songs in Frozen and Coco, and is the youngest EGOT recipient of all time.
Who is in The Book of Mormon cast in London?
The current cast of The Book of Mormon includes Dom Simpson as Elder Price, who makes his West End debut in the role. Tom Xander plays Elder Cunningham, who also makes his London debut in The Book of Mormon.
Leanne Robinson plays Nabulungi, with Steven Webb as Moroni/Elder McKinley, previously starring in The History Boys at the National Theatre. Richard Lloyd King plays Mafala Hatimbi, Dean Maynard as Joseph Smith and Michael Moulton as the General.
The Book of Mormon ensemble is currently completed by Thomas Audibert, Philip Catchpole, Portia Harry, Olivia Hibbert, Jed Hoyle, M-Jae Cleopatra Isaac, Cal-I Jonel, Ryan Kopel, Jack McNeill, Paige Miller, Sean Parkins, Kirk Patterson, Luke Redmore, Stephen Rolley, Fred Smiley and Patrick Sullivan.
Who was in the original The Book of Mormon cast in London?
The original London cast of The Book of Mormon starred two Broadway performers, both reprising their roles.
Gavin Creel played Elder Price, who’d previously starred in a London revival of Hair at the Gielgud Theatre. Since then, he’s played Dr. Pomatter in Waitress at the Adelphi Theatre opposite Sara Bareilles.
Jared Gertner played Elder Cunningham, taking on the role full time after understudying Josh Gad on Broadway.
Are there any popular culture references in The Book of Mormon?
Throughout the show, the character Nabulungi is referred to by many different names, instead of her given character name. She’s called a variety of names beginning with ‘N’, as well as words and phrases that are popular at the time of the performance. Names are often changed in order to reflect the audience; British choices including “Brexit”, “Meghan Markle”, “Natwest” and “Nectar Card.” Other references include “Covfefe”, “Nanny McPhee”, “Neville Longbottom” and “Oprah.”
What theatre in London is The Book of Mormon playing at?
The Book of Mormon is currently playing at the Prince of Wales Theatre. The Book of Mormon has continuously played there since the musical began performances in March 2013. Previous shows at the Prince of Wales Theatre include Let It Be and Mamma Mia! before it transferred to the Novello Theatre.
What is the running time of The Book of Mormon?
The running time of The Book of Mormon in London is 2 hours and 20 minutes. During the show, there is a 15 minute interval.
What songs are in The Book of Mormon?
Some of the most popular songs in The Book of Mormon include “Hello”, the opening number sung by all the Mormons as they greet families while going door to door. There’s also “Sal Tlay Ka Siti” sung by Nabulungi, a play on words inspired by the Utah state capital. Arguably, the musical’s piece de resistance is “I Believe”, a ballad sung by Elder Price as he tries to convert the General.
Here’s all the songs in The Book of Mormon:
"Hello" – Mormons
"Two by Two" – Price, Mormons
"You and Me (But Mostly Me)" – Price, Cunningham
"Hasa Diga Eebowai" – Mafala, Price, Cunningham, and Ugandans
"Turn It Off" – McKinley, Mormons
"I Am Here for You" – Cunningham, Price
"All American Prophet" – Price, Cunningham, Joseph Smith, Angel Moroni and Company
"Sal Tlay Ka Siti" – Nabulungi
"I Am Here for You" (Reprise) – Cunningham
"Man Up" – Cunningham, Nabulungi, Price, Doctor, Company
"Making Things Up Again" – Cunningham, Cunningham's Dad, Joseph Smith, Mormon, Moroni, Uhura, Darth Vader, Hobbits, Ugandans
"Spooky Mormon Hell Dream" – Price, Lucifer, Hitler, Genghis Khan, Jeffrey Dahmer, Johnnie Cochran, Ensemble
"I Believe" – Price, Ensemble
"Baptize Me" – Cunningham and Nabulungi
"I Am Africa" – McKinley, Cunningham, Doctor, Mormons
"Joseph Smith American Moses" – Ugandans
"Hasa Diga Eebowai" (Reprise) – Nabulungi
"You and Me (But Mostly Me)" (Reprise) – Price and Cunningham
"Tomorrow Is a Latter Day" – Price, Cunningham, McKinley, Nabulungi, Company
What are reviews like for The Book of Mormon in London?
The Book of Mormon was praised by critics, however issues were raised about its portrayal of religion, culture and accusations of anti-Africanism. The Book of Mormon received five stars from LondonTheatre.co.uk, saying: “It is cleverly written and extremely well-produced, and the excellent, energetic performances give the impression that the cast are loving every minute of it. It is enormously enjoyable, and the laughs keep coming even when the story-line 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.”
For The Guardian, Euan Ferguson said: “The Book of Mormon is far, far cleverer, far kinder, far more nuanced than that, and one of its many surprises is that it sent an enraptured, ecstatic audience home with an odd sense of having come, somehow, to really like Mormons.”
In The Telegraph, Charles Spencer praised the creative team, commenting: ““The show is staged with witty panache by Parker and Casey Nicholaw, the latter also responsible for the lively choreography. The songs, though mostly pastiche, have undoubted flair and the production is stylishly and wittily designed by Scott Pask.”
What awards has The Book of Mormon won?
As well as impressing critics, The Book of Mormon has wowed awarding bodies too. Here’s all the awards that global productions of The Book of Mormon has won.
Best New Musical
Best Actor in a Musical - Gavin Creel
Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical - Stephen Ashfield
Best Theatre Choreographer - Casey Nicholaw
Best New Musical
Best Book of a Musical - Robert Lopez, Trey Parker and Matt Stone
Best Original Score - Robert Lopez, Trey Parker and Matt Stone
Best Featured Actress in a Musical - Nikki M. James
Best Direction of a Musical - Casey Nicholaw and Trey Parker
Best Orchestrations - Larry Hochman and Stephen Oremus
Best Scenic Design - Scott Pask
Best Lighting Design - Brian MacDevitt
Best Sound Design - Brian Ronan
What are some fun facts about The Book of Mormon?
Creating The Book of Mormon proved to be a struggle. It took eight years for the musical to be fully developed from first ideas to being on the stage.
To seek inspiration for the musical, Parker, Lopez and Stone travelled to Salt Lake City to experience life in the Utah city.
Members of the Latter Day Saints seem to be pleased with the musical. In fact, the religion is promoted in programmes and playbills worldwide.
How do I get tickets for The Book of Mormon in London?
The Book of Mormon performances are currently scheduled in London from 12 Jul. 2021 to 8 Jan. 2022.
The Book of Mormon tickets are available now.
Photo credit: The Book of Mormon