A proud native of the Second City, producer Jenny Lawton joined Studio 360 in 2007. Since then, she's produced the show's American Icons specials on the Disney parks and I Love Lucy, lots of stories in the Aha Moments series, and a portrait of the Japanese tea ceremony from Kyoto. She also serves as the managing editor of studio360.org and coordinates the show's internship program. Jenny started recording interviews as a Watson Fellow in India and Spain, researching the origins of flamenco dance. She cut her teeth in journalism at Chicago Public Radio, where she filed stories on culture, politics, technology, and the environment for WBEZ as well as NPR's Morning Edition and PRI's The World, among other programs. Jenny was awarded a USC-Annenberg/NEA Arts Journalism Fellowship, and lectures about radio and sound design at NYU and her alma mater, Kenyon College.
Sneak Preview: The Book of Mormon Decoded
Wednesday, May 25, 2011 - 06:00 AM
The Book of Mormon is the toast of Broadway (with 14 nominations for June’s Tony Awards) for its “charismatic” performances, “sublimely kitschy” choreography, and inspired use of poop humor (“blasphemous, scurrilous and more foul-mouthed than David Mamet on a blue streak”). But it’s also striking how the music carries the show — there's very little dialogue — propelling the story forward efficiently without missing an opportunity to be silly, artful, joyful.
The genius of the score is that it's both a parody of the form and a stellar example in its own right. Trey Parker and Matt Stone teamed up with Robert Lopez, best known for Avenue Q, the longest-running R-rated puppet show on Broadway, to put the spring in their Mormons' steps. Lopez‘s signature blend of brash lyrics sung to sweet melodies accomplishes something remarkable: it makes Mormon both obnoxious and heartfelt.
Lopez came to the studio recently to talk with Kurt Andersen and noodle around on the piano — pure catnip for a musical theater fan. We'll broadcast the interview the weekend of the Tonys, June 12.
But here’s a preview: Lopez deconstructing “All-American Prophet,” which mashes up a disco groove with a Bible lesson. He explains how the song came to be and revives hooks previously lost to the cutting-room floor.
Listen to "All-American Prophet" performed by the Broadway cast:
The cast of the Broadway production of The Book of Mormon (Photo by Joan Marcus)