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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jesus the Christ
Written by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Date premiered 1928
Subject Creation of the world, Fall of Adam and Eve, and life of Jesus Christ
Genre Religion
Setting Evenings on the North lawn of the LDS Temple visitor's center in Mesa, Arizona, USA Official site

The Mesa Arizona Easter Pageant Jesus the Christ is an annual production of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) staged on the grounds of the Mesa Arizona Temple. One of the six LDS pageants, Jesus the Christ began in 1928 as a small sunrise Easter presentation. The pageant is now the "largest annual outdoor Easter pageant in the world."[1] With a 450-member cast, the 65-minute pageant depicts the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ using song and dance.

The pageant runs each evening for ten nights, usually at the beginning of April, performing two of the nights completely in Spanish. No donations are accepted and no tickets are required, although seating is first-come, first-served.



The production began in 1928 as a sunrise Easter service.[2] During its ten-day run in 2005, the pageant performed for more than 150,000 people. It is now the "largest annual outdoor Easter pageant in the world."[1]

The four-story, multi-level stage used for the pageant is a temporary installment on the temple grounds. It takes three weeks to assemble and is disassembled after each Easter season.[3]

Cast and crew

A crowd gathering for auditions in 2007, the stage to the right and the temple in the background

Auditions are required to participate in the pageant, and all cast and crew positions are voluntary. Over 800 people auditioned in 2007 while only 450 (the largest cast to date) were invited back. While the cast is mostly composed of members of the LDS Church, members of several other religious faiths participate in the production each year.

Participation in the pageant is meant to enrich both the viewer and the cast and crew. Before each performance, the cast and crew gather in the chapel adjacent to the Temple grounds for an hour-long devotional. A portion of the cast and crew is also assigned to visit with the crowd before and after the production each night.[1][4]

Cast and crew alumni include Taitusi "Deuce" Lutui, offensive lineman for NFL's Arizona Cardinals, who played the role of a Roman soldier.[1] The director as of November 2008 is Nanci Wudel.[5]


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