'Book of Mormon' coming to Omaha


Editor’s Note: This story was originally published on Omaha.com

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By Michael O’Connor


Big crowds, glowing reviews and a slew of Tony awards.

“The Book of Mormon” drew all of those, and now the Broadway smash is heading to Omaha.

The first national tour of the musical, winner of nine Tony awards in 2011, will play a nine-day, 11-performance engagement Oct. 12-20 at the Orpheum Theater. The musical will open the 2013-2014 Omaha Performing Arts’ Broadway Series. The rest of the series will be announced this spring.

“We try to bring the most critically acclaimed and award-winning shows to Omaha,” said Joan Squires, president of Omaha Performing Arts. “We are excited to get it.”

The musical snagged Tony awards in such categories as best musical and best original score.

Omaha native Andrew Rannells starred in the “The Book of Mormon” on Broadway and was nominated for a best-actor Tony. Rannells is not part of the cast that will perform in Omaha, according to a spokesman for the touring company. He now stars in “Glee” creator Ryan Murphy’s NBC sitcom “The New Normal.”

“The Book of Mormon” tells the story of two mismatched missionaries who are sent to a remote Ugandan village. Their confidence and idealism run up against a populace ravaged by poverty, hunger and AIDS.

The musical was written by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of the Comedy Central animated TV series “South Park,” and Robert Lopez, a co-creator of the Broadway musical “Avenue Q.”

“The Book of Mormon” does contain explicit language. The show, while at times profane and irreverent, surprised theatergoers with a balancing sweetness in what it has to say about religion’s place in society.

Squires declined to comment on whether “The Book of Mormon” will draw big crowds like “The Lion King” and other Broadway hits that played in Omaha in recent years.

“We don’t compare shows,” she said. “We just want to bring the best (productions) to Omaha. Omaha is a pretty theater-savvy town. Audiences know what the hits are.”

“The Book of Mormon” started an engagement at the Des Moines Civic Center last week that runs through Feb. 3.

Tickets for the Omaha production will be available to purchase as part of the Broadway Season Ticket package through omahaperformingarts.org in March. Single tickets will go on sale later in the year.

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