Stone: No, not that. At one of the first previews there were some Mormons there, and the ones we talked to, they loved the show. Maybe it’s happened, but no one’s told us that. What’s actually really cool, and I’m not kidding, is the Mormons who come up to us who’ve been on a mission and they say, “Yeah, there are parts of that that really captured the feelings that I had, the confusion.” They’re still Mormons; it’s not like they gave up their faith. But they’re like, “I showed up in this foreign country and it was like, what the [expletive] am I doing here?” Which is part of why they send them. They send them to proselytize, but they also send them to toughen them up. It’s really smart of the church to send kids to foreign countries and let them struggle for a little bit.
Parker: It’s interesting. There’s a lot of Mormons that I think feel validated by this in a way because they love their church and they love their family, but they’ve always kind of felt inside that “Maybe this is all a bunch of [expletive] but I still love it.’’ And I think there’s a lot of Mormons who come to the show and say, “That’s exactly how I feel,” and come out of it actually feeling better about being Mormon. And that’s why a lot of Mormons see this as their “Fiddler on the Roof.”
Q. But I’ve seen many complaints from Mormons in comment threads on stories about the show and about that comparison. People who didn’t like it saying, “They haven’t talked to me,” and noting that Jewish people wrote “Fiddler on the Roof,” so it’s different.
Parker: We’re talking about the Mormons that will actually come to the show in the first place, first of all, which is a pretty select group of Mormons.
Stone: We’re dealing with pretty cool Mormons. The reason I don’t think it’s totally fair — it’s true that we’re not Mormons — but we had a Mormon story line in [the movie] “Orgazmo,” which was in the ’90s. We’ve been on the Mormon thing for a long time, since before Mitt Romney showed up on the scene and people started getting interested in it. We grew up in Colorado, and we grew up with Mormons. Mormons lived on my street. So, we have some personal experience, not just book experience with them. We’ve spent way too much time going to Salt Lake City to Temple Square. We’ve been to Palmyra [N.Y., childhood home of church founder Joseph Smith]. We’ve been to Rochester and the festival up there. We’re not on the inside, but we are white Americans from the western part of the United States, and we know that culture a little bit.
Parker: Most of the Mormons we know, we really like. We weren’t ever coming at this from [a place of] “Let’s take these people down. We hate these people.”
Q. There are also some topics that a portion of the consuming public are never going to be comfortable with having comedy around, like AIDS and female circumcision, even if the “jokes” aren’t specifically about those things.
Parker: If it was only meant to be a joke, then it would be a problem, but it’s actually important to the story to see where that goes and what that transforms into.
Stone: Our stuff has always been the sort of stuff that 20 percent of people really like it and 80 percent of people really don’t like it. [Laughs] So we’ve been comfortable with that. “Book of Mormon,” I think, is more than 20 percent. We’ve been edging up our percentages. “Book of Mormon” ’s [appeal] is much broader than we ever thought it would be. We thought there would be a group of people that really, really liked it and a bunch of people that just hated it, and it’s turned out to be the opposite of that.
Q. Trey, you performed in musicals when you were younger. Was there ever a moment during the process where you got the strong itch to go onstage yourself as opposed to staying behind the scenes?
Parker: It is really true, whenever you’re writing, you’re always imagining yourself as the lead, but I’m far too old and . . . I’d be too expensive.
Q. Is there part of you that secretly had a Broadway dream at some point, though?
Parker: Yeah, I think so, but that dream changed pretty quickly when I saw how much more lucrative writing was.
Q. Do you think you guys will EGOT? You’re so close, having won Emmys and Grammys for “South Park” and Tonys for “Book of Mormon,” and you were nominated for an Oscar for “South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut.”
Parker: I don’t think we’ll ever get the O.
Stone: I think we’re going to have an EGT. [Parker laughs.]
Q. Let’s talk about ticket prices. They’re high to begin with, and the scalping is insane. Recently, I watched someone pay a scalper in New York $600 apiece for two tickets. Continued...