Every Friday, we choose an alum who has been making headlines—for better or for worse.
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2/25/11: Robert Lopez ’97

Robert Lopez ’97 “sang in church choirs throughout college and always suspected he’d return to sacred music,” says the bio on the website of the new Broadway musical The Book of Mormon. Lopez is the work’s cowriter.

Whether or not Lopez really sang in church choirs (we confirmed that he did sing in the a cappella group Spizzwinks(?), he clearly learned some literary tricks at Yale. Irony, for instance: the musical’s scatological satire is about as far from sacred as Salt Lake City is from Uganda. That’s the sub-Saharan setting of the show (tag line: “God’s favorite musical”), in which white Mormon missionaries travel to Africa and, in the words of the New York Times, “blasphemy and cussing” ensue.

Exactly what you’d expect from Lopez’s collaborators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park infamy. They may be the bigger names, but Lopez is no slouch: he picked up a 2004 Tony award for Avenue Q, the puppet musical. At Yale, he studied with lit-crit giant Harold Bloom, who taught him to read the Bible as literature—“a story that can change the world,” Lopez tells the Times, “but in the end it’s just a story.” (And the Book of Mormon? He calls it “Bible fan fiction.”)

Previews began February 24.

Filed under television, theater, singing groups
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