Andrew Rannells and Josh Gad Andrew Rannells and Josh Gad

Broadway's Tony-winning musical The Book of Mormon opened its L.A. run Wednesday night at the Pantages Theater with a star-studded celebration that drew such A-listers as Cher, Viola Davis, Neil Patrick Harris, Jason Alexander, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Lisa Kudrow, Julie Bowen and Jesse Tyler Ferguson. But the two faces that attracted the most attention were the Broadway company's original stars — The New Normal's Andrew Rannells and Josh Gad, whose NBC sitcom 1600 Penn is slated for mid-season.

Rannells was lucky to get a night off to take in the premiere. "It's totally surreal, but we're very, very excited to see the show," said Rannells, who considers his Mormon successor, Gavin Creel, "one of my oldest and best friends."

Drawing parallels between The Book of Mormon and his NBC sitcom Rannells said, "The overarching message of Book of Mormon is about faith and how all things sound ridiculous and silly and made up, but if it preaches acceptance and love, then what's the harm? I don't think we ever converted anyone to Mormonism through that show, but we made people smile. In a different way with The New Normal I hope we get to show audiences an honest portrayal of the challenges of being gay parents."

Gad, meanwhile, just wrapped his third day of work on 1600 Penn's second episode. "We have some very exciting episodes coming up that keep getting better and better," he said. "We have Stacy Keach coming on as a very Conservative bigoted senator who has to vote on legislation that Jenna Elfman's character is trying to pass."

Cougar Town's Busy Philipps was one of the lucky ones who got to see both Rannells and Gad's original Broadway production and the L.A. engagement that features Creel and actor Jared Gertner (now playing Gad's role). "It was my favorite thing I'd ever seen and I'm so excited to see it again in L.A.," said Phillips, who was overwhelmed by the premiere's star turnout. "I was feeling a little demoted, like maybe they should have sent a car for us. And then I saw Andrew Rannells walk up after parking in our same parking lot. If he didn't get a car, we didn't need one either."

Book of Mormon's L.A. run continues through Nov. 25. For more information visit

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