Holy smokes! Coveted seats for the San Francisco run of "The Book of Mormon," also known as the hottest ticket on the planet, just got a little more scarce. Wednesday's limited presale to American Express cardholders sold out within a few hours. That means the demand for the gospel according to Trey Parker and Matt Stone is as popular as ever. The good news is more tickets go on sale Sept. 21.
Exactly how many tickets were sold Wednesday and how many will be available on Sept. 21 was not disclosed by presenter SHN. Tickets that day will be released at 10 a.m. Prices run $40-$250, but dynamic pricing means that top ticket prices may well skyrocket. Call 888-746-1799 or go to www.shnsf.com.
This outlandish satire of musical theater and other religions has been an unstoppable cultural juggernaut since it opened on Broadway last year, where seats are still hard to come by and a $500 price tag is de rigueur. The national touring production of the show also sold out within hours of going on sale in Denver in Parker and Stone's home state. Now the mockery-fueled megahit, which marries "South Park" snark with old-school showmanship, has become the highlight of SHN's fall series.
The show's highly anticipated five-week engagement runs Nov. 27-Dec. 30 at the Curran Theatre in San Francisco.
"South Park's creators are masters at doing the unexpected and providing a searing social commentary at same time," says San Francisco
In the exception that proves the rule, the R-rated musical is nowhere near as red-hot in Los Angeles. Tickets there are selling briskly, but the shows are not selling out, perhaps because the run is quite long (12 weeks) at the Pantages or perhaps because LA just isn't a theater town.
In the culturally savvy Bay Area, buzz about the show has been building for months. From senior citizens to high schoolers, it seems everyone even vaguely familiar with such cultural touchstones as "South Park's" Mr. Hankey and the Christmas Poo, wants to check out "The Book of Mormon."
"People come to the show because they want to laugh, but once they get here, it touches them as well," says cast member Grey Henson, who plays Elder McKinley. "And I think that's what has made it so popular. You don't expect to be moved by the show, but then you are."
Some ticket buyers have also encountered snafus with the ticketing system. Orta, for one, tried to nab tickets Wednesday but lost them because she didn't create a login before making her purchase. By the time she tried again, there were no seats left. Ouch.
"I hardly ever spend that much on a ticket, but this is a musical that I am really excited about," says Orta, "I would be really bummed not to see it. I will definitely try again as a wiser SHNSF ticket buyer."
Lo, it's not just theater buffs who have embraced the phenomenon. Even the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is vigorously spoofed in the musical, has gotten into the act. The Mormon church has taken out several ads in programs for the musical suggesting that fans of the piece check out the original book because "the book is always better."
The winner of nine Tony Awards, including best musical, "Book of Mormon" has not only electrified the culture-vulture set but also galvanized a new generation of ticket buyers weaned on the immortal teachings of Cartman.