It’s like the 116 pages all over again — only this time it’s not translation, but musical attempts to teach doctrine. It was only a matter of time. Behold, suddenly a BYU MDT degree has gained a modicum of practicality:

The long-rumored Broadway writing debut of South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone finally has a date: The Book of Mormon, described as a traditional musical comedy with untraditional subject matter, will open in March 2011. Parker and Stone, who earned an Oscar nomination for the musical genius they displayed in the big-screen South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut, are penning the book, music, and lyrics with Robert Lopez, a Tony winner for Avenue Q. (Lopez has said the South Park movie was one of his major influences writing the gloriously perverse puppet show.) Parker will direct with Jason Moore, who earned a Tony nomination for Avenue Q and most recently staged the irreverent Shrek the Musical. The show will be produced by Scott Rudin and Anne Garefino. The cast will be announced at a later date.

What do you think? I couldn’t be more excited. We know Parker and Stone are familiar with the subject matter — both from their 1998 film Orgazmo (about a Mormon with martial arts skills who enters the world of adult films to pay for his wedding) and the 2003 South Park episode “All About Mormons.” We also know Broadway truly has always been a dream of theirs. Music has been a part of everything they’ve ever done — from their very first film together, 1996’s Cannibal! The Musical (which is now available in its entirety on Hulu!), through 14 seasons of South Park (their 200th episode airs tonight at 10 p.m. ET on Comedy Central). What’s your favorite musical Parker and Stone moment? After the jump, just a few of mine… (from EW)

Perhaps they can get Steven Fales and Will Swenson to headline this (Swenson can reprise his role as Captain Moroni). And I’m sure there are scores of Broadway divas chomping at the bit to play the harlot Isabel — Swenson is currently dating Audra McDonald, maybe she’s game — that’s a Tony award waiting to happen, for sure. I’d personally like to see Marc Kudisch as Kishkumen, perhaps Shuler Hensley as King Noah. It’s too bad that Ethel Merman is dead, because she’s the only one with a big enough stage presence to pull off the Act I finale as King Benjamin way up on top of that tower. We may have to settle for Liza Minnelli.

They can workshop it this summer at the Hill Cumorah Pageant. Then, once it’s an established hit (since, fortuitously, the Jewish requirement will be more than satisfied), they can have Rod Meldrum head up the national tour to all of the important historical sites in the Heartland Model; and with Meldrum’s participation, I can only imagine that Kieth Merrill is waiting in the wings to direct the big screen adaptation.

Hopefully the Church will have the sense to cash in on the marketing. It would be a shame if the Penguin Classics Book of Mormon managed to release a musical tie-in edition before Shadow Mountain. Some might find this idea slightly crass, but — in all seriousness — I don’t think it’s too far off from the majority of the other stuff that Deseret Book sells these days.

I personally can’t wait to see how they musicalize Nephite weights, measures, and currency. Maybe when Nephi has his vision of everyone that has ever lived, he can walk through the audience and give each spectator that mission president are-you-worthy look. Most importantly, I hope they can get the rights to “Book of Mormon Stories” for the title song (have they no respect for canon?). Then maybe some of the kids on Glee would cover it.

Outrage, merriment, and dream casts in the comments. Discuss.