'Book of Mormon': First a Tony, now Grammy nod, next a movie?
“The Book of Mormon” Broadway cast recording scored a Grammy nomination Wednesday night, joining “Anything Goes” and “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” in the musical theater category. “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone and “Avenue Q” co-creator Robert Lopez have already won multiple Tony Awards for the show. Now they have a Grammy nod. Is an Oscar bid next?
After all, fans are praying for a movie version of the musical about two mismatched Mormon missionaries assigned to spread the word in Uganda.
“If we get the Grammy, we’re going to proceed the next day with the movie,” Parker and Lopez joked together, moments after hearing news of their nomination.
While some blogs have reported rumors of a “Book of Mormon” movie, Parker insisted they “haven’t sat down and made an official plan.”
“When we were first writing this, we were going back and forth about whether to make it a movie or a Broadway thing,” Parker said, adding that Lopez persuaded them to go with a musical. Plus, Parker added, “we’d already done a movie.”
“It’s weird,” he added, “because it’s so backwards. Usually it’s a movie and then they make it into musical. If we do make a movie, I want to do a musical of that movie.” Oh, and for those Broadway purists who questioned the casting of Tom Cruise in the movie version of the musical "Rock of Ages," they'll be pleased to know that Parker promises, “I guarantee you Tom Cruise will not be in it.”
Parker and Lopez sounded surprised to be up against revivals from two musical theater giants, Cole Porter's 1934 "Anything Goes" and Frank Loesser's 1961 "How to Succeed." (“How does that work? Didn’t they get nominated the first time around?”), but graciously expressed their happiness for all the nominees: “What’s great is that there’s another group of people who get recognized,” Lopez said.
Parker, who won four Tony Awards for “Book of Mormon” (which picked up a total of nine trophies), has never been up for a Grammy, although he’s a four-time Emmy winner for “South Park” and an Oscar nominee for “Blame Canada,” from the 1999 film “South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut.”
The shift from television to Broadway theater has been an adjustment for Parker, and a Grammy nod is adding to the frenzy. “It’s so crazy to do a Broadway show -– it keeps going and going,” he said. “I’m so used to television where you do your thing, but this theater thing keeps going and going.”
For Lopez, this is his second Grammy nomination. Although “Avenue Q” won the best musical Tony Award, the musical's album lost its Grammy bid in 2005 to “Wicked.” “This is Bobby’s last chance at redemption,” Parker kidded. “Yeah,” added Lopez, “This is my last chance… or forget it.”
Maybe not. This week, "Book of Mormon" recouped its initial $11.4-million capitalization. And now the team is focusing on who will appear in the touring production, which will begin in Denver. “The big thing is you hope the show is good enough that it doesn’t matter” who is cast, Lopez said.
If “The Book of Mormon” wins the Grammy, Parker, Lopez and Stone would share the trophy with principal stars Josh Gad and Andrew Rannells and their co-producers Anne Garefino, Stephen Oremus and Scott Rudin.
But the burning question is: What will the guys be wearing to the Grammy ceremony Feb. 12 at Staples Center?
“I thought I wore something very reasonable at the Tonys,” said Parker, who, with Stone, famously appeared in drag at the 2000 Academy Awards. “You can go a little more rock star at the Grammys, but, no, I’m not going to show up in drag.”
“Maybe I will,” Lopez said, “I need to catch up with them.”
Photo: Andrew Rannells and the Broadway cast of "The Book of Mormon." Credit: Joan Marcus