February 15, 2013
Pentecostal Bid for 'Book of Mormon'-Type Boost Bombs
(UPDATED) Foursquare Church loses $2 million on 'Scandalous' Broadway musical.
Broadway may love scandal, but it did not love "Scandalous: The Life and Trials of Aimee Semple McPherson," a Foursquare Church-backed production that recently flopped on stage.
The charitable arm of the L.A.-based denomination reportedly invested $2 million into the show that depicted the life of McPherson, the Pentecostal movement's founder. Now the Foursquare Foundation is rearranging its board after top members quit following the show's failure.
According to the Los Angeles Times, "The foundation's executive director, Greg Campbell, left the church within days of the show's closure.... In addition, the church replaced all but one of the foundation board members in part because of dissatisfaction with the decision to invest in a Broadway musical."
However, the church stated "the departures of Mr. Campbell and most of the board were 'unrelated' to the show."
"The real story should be that a denomination is taking bold risks to find new ways of getting the gospel to all the world," said Brad Abare, Foursquare's director of communications. "And sometimes those efforts don't always go as planned."
The failed play and church investment contrast with how the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has capitalized on the success of "Book of Mormon," placing ad campaigns in theater programs. And unlike the Foursquare investment, this campaign has been "praised for being 'bold' and 'savvy.'"
Editor's note: This post has been updated with a response from Foursquare spokesman Brad Abare.