Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Book of Mormon Broadway Musical Scores Grammy Nomination

Matt Stone and Trey Parker's Broadway musical, "The Book of Mormon" has been very successful for them. The won nine awards at the Tony Awards last year. for Today, they were nominated for a Grammy award for best musical theater album:  
 "South Park" creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone are competing against timeless composers Cole Porter and Frank Loesser for a 2012 Grammy Award. In the category of musical theater album, their new Broadway blockbuster "The Book of Mormon" was nominated Wednesday along with the albums for revivals of Porter's "Anything Goes" and Loesser's "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying."
The musical theater category honors the composers and lyricists for a show, as well as the producers and principal cast members.
"The Book of Mormon," released by Ghostlight Records, features songs by Stone, Parker and Robert Lopez. Cast members Josh Gad and Andrew Rannells also were included in the nomination. The hit comedy won nine Tony Awards this year, including the award for new musical.
Not only has the "Book of Mormon" been success musically, but also financially since they have recouped all the cost of making the play and are now generating a profit from the play:
The critically acclaimed Broadway musical “The Book of Mormon” has recouped its roughly $11.4 million capitalization after just nine months of performances, its producers said on Tuesday. “Mormon” is the first commercially successful musical from the 2010-11 season, which had an unusually large number of original musicals open, including the still-running “Sister Act” and “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” and flops like “Catch Me If You Can” and “Wonderland.”
Since starting preview performances in mid-February, “Mormon” has broken the weekly box-office record at the Eugene O’Neill Theater 22 times. The show is regularly among the five highest-grossing productions on Broadway in spite of running in a theater with hundreds of fewer seats than most major musical theaters.
The producers make up for a small house by charging premium ticket prices of up to $477; as a result, theatergoers pay far more on average to see “Mormon” – about $170 during Thanksgiving week – than for other Broadway shows.
Given that people are willing to shell out money to pay premium to see this show, people obviously like the work of Matt Stone and Trey Parker and were confident that they would get their money's worth in seeing this play. But it was also a risk for them to be charging such high prices but the gamble paid off for them handsomely. 
Many LDS people are unhappy with this play because its disrespectful to our religion. I say, let them poke fun at us. We are a unique religion and there's no denying that. Rather than getting our feathers ruffled over it, let them laugh at us. Its ok. Some people will not want to learn about our Church because of this play. Perhaps a few people will. Overall, I think the result of this play is a positive one for the LDS Church and its members. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Lawsuit Seeks To Ban LDS Church From Giving Its Input On Utah Alcohol Laws

A lawsuit has been filed in Utah to prevent The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints from giving its input on new or proposed alchol laws:
A trade group for bars and restaurants is asking a federal judge to block Utah legislators from considering input from the Mormon church when drafting future liquor laws.

The Utah Hospitality Association contends that considering the views of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is unconstitutional under federal laws separating church and state.

The claim is part of an amended lawsuit filed last week in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City.

"We know the LDS church wields a lot of influence with the Legislature, especially as to liquor policies in this state," association board spokesman Kenneth Wynn said on Tuesday. "I think we've felt this for a long time. The church ought to butt out of state business ... we're just bringing it to the forefront."

Hospitality association attorneys originally filed the lawsuit in June. It targets Senate Bill 314, which bans daily drink specials and ties the number of liquor licenses to population totals and the number of state-employed police officers.

Association attorneys say eliminating discount pricing for alcohol amounts to price-fixing that harms both consumers and businesses. They contend such limits on competition in liquor sales and distribution places an unfair restraint on trade that violates federal antitrust laws.

Passed by lawmakers earlier this year, most of the new laws became effective in July. The portion of the so-called "quota system" tied to the number of law enforcement officers takes effect July 1, 2012.

Named as defendants in the lawsuit are the state of Utah, the governor and the Department of Alcohol and Beverage Control Commission.

The Mormon church is not a defendant, but the lawsuit cites examples of the Utah-based church's influence with lawmakers, including remarks from Sen. John Valentine, R-Orem, who sponsored SB314, about the church's support for the bill.

The lawsuit also contends that a pair of church lobbyists had "warned" lawmakers that "there would be repercussions" if they disagreed with the church's position on the legislation. Court papers don't specify what those repercussions would be.
This is an interesting lawsuit and I'm interested in the outcome of this case. The LDS Church is free to give its opinion on laws and to lobby in support or opposition of a law just as much as any other organization is free to do. However, they are alleging that the LDS Church has a greater influence on laws crafted in Utah than most regular lobbying groups do. It will be interesting to see how the Plaintiffs prove that given that most of the members of Utah Legislature is LDS.