Utah liquor laws prohibit drinking while watching ‘Book of Mormon’ musical

SALT LAKE CITY -- "The Book of Mormon" musical has returned, this time playing in the new Eccles Theater, located a block from Temple Square.

But patrons will have to chug their beer, because Utah liquor laws prohibit them from bringing it into the theater for this particular show. State law prohibits liquor licensees from serving alcohol and showing anything with nudity or depicting sexual acts.

In "The Book of Mormon," there's a risque scene where a prop male genitalia is shown and a sexual act is simulated. As a result, the Eccles Theater is not allowing patrons from bringing beer into the theater space itself.

A sign in the lobby of the Eccles Theater informs patrons they cannot take alcohol into the theater itself for "The Book of Mormon" musical. (Photo by Ben Winslow, FOX 13 News)

"Utah State Liquor Laws have clear regulations about alcohol consumption during events with mature themes. In compliance with the regulations, we are limiting alcohol consumption to the lobby and the Bistro," Cami Munk, communications manager for the Salt Lake County Center for the Arts, which runs the theater, said in an email to FOX 13.

"During the run of 'The Book of Mormon,' we encourage patrons to come and enjoy a pre-show dinner and drinks at the Encore Bistro.  The dinner menu includes Funeral Potatoes, a perennial Utah favorite."

Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control spokesman Terry Wood told FOX 13 on Friday that the change in where people can drink is to ensure compliance with state law.

"The Book of Mormon" is advertised outside the Eccles Theater in downtown Salt Lake City. (Photo by Ben Winslow, FOX 13 News)

"The Eccles Theater is currently in compliance with its licensing agreement in state law as far as serving alcohol during 'The Book of Mormon' play," he said.

Once the show finishes its run August 20, it can ask the DABC to expand its area for alcohol service back into the theater.

This isn't the first time the Eccles Theater has had to make changes to comply with state liquor laws. When the theater first opened, it had to install a "Zion Ceiling," a version of a "Zion Curtain" because the open-air lobby enabled patrons to look down from above and see drinks being poured in the bistro -- a violation of state law at the time.

Utah is currently being sued over it's law on nudity and sexual content and liquor service. The Salt Lake City movie theater Brewvies is facing revocation of its license for showing "Deadpool," which features nudity and sexual content. The theater is suing the DABC over the law on First Amendment grounds.