Page 2 of 2 Previous
“Mormon” is not the first word in religious musicals
“Mormon” travels down a religion-themed musical path forged by other well-known titles. “Fiddler on the Roof” is set in a Russian shtetl in 1905 and orbits Tevye, a symbolic keeper of Jewish culture. “Godspell” resets the story of Jesus and his apostles to 1960s and ’70s New York. “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” a community-theater staple, tells the biblical story of Joseph’s betrayal by his brothers. Then there’s “Jesus Christ Superstar,” the rock musical about Judas’ betrayal of Jesus.
But there have been many more failed efforts of musicals with religious stories. One of the biggest was “Ben-Hur: The Musical,” which cost $8 million and played around Florida in 1999 but never made it to Broadway.
Perhaps that show was too earnest. In addition to making a boatload of money for its creative team and producers, “Mormon” proves that a bracing religious satire can be a spectacular success.
Rohan Preston • 612-673-4390 •On Twitter: @RohanPreston