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Irreverent Musical by 'South Park' Creators Tops Tony List

Matthew Broderick and Anika Noni Rose read the nominations for the 2011 Tony Awards, honoring Broadway, in New York, Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Nominations have been announced for the Tony Awards, celebrating New York City's famous Broadway shows, and an irreverent newcomer is at the top.

"The Book of Mormon," a satirical musical not to be confused with the holy scripture of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, earned 14 nominations Tuesday. That is just one nomination short of the record for the most nominations for a single show.

The musical follows two young Mormon missionaries to Uganda, and features songs about AIDS and one that uses profanity as its chorus. It comes from the creators of the irreverent "South Park" cartoon series that has drawn controversy for its own religious-themed story lines, including episodes mocking Jesus, the prophet Mohammed, and, of course, Mormons.

The Church of Latter Day Saints has responded to the play "The Book of Mormon" by saying it may "attempt to entertain" for an evening, but the scriptures of the same name "will change people's lives forever."

The other musical to garner the admiration of the Tony nominators was "The Scottsboro Boys" - a show that only made it through 49 performances before closing. "Scottsboro," which uses the guise of a minstrel show to look at a dark side of U.S. history, earned 12 nominations.

Some other shows to get Tony nods included "The Merchant of Venice," movie-turned-musical "Sister Act," and "Catch Me If You Can." Only musicals and plays produced in one of the exclusive Broadway theaters are considered.

The awards will be presented in a televised ceremony on June 12.