“Jesus the Christ” in its 64th year at Mesa Arizona Temple Visitors’ Center Grounds
MESA, Ariz. (March 1, 2002) – Mesa will once again be home to the world’s largest annual outdoor Easter Pageant as “Jesus the Christ,” a dramatic musical production, is presented on the grounds of the Mesa Arizona Temple Visitors’ Center of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For the first time ever in the pageant’s 64-year history, there will be two weekend Spanish performances.
The free outdoor pageant opens Thursday, March 21 with an English performance and continues March 22-23 with Friday and Saturday night Spanish performances. The pageant then continues March 26-30 in English. All performances begin at 8 p.m.
“Our Hispanic audience has grown each year to the point where we can’t accommodate all Spanish speaking persons who want to attend during one performance,” said Ron Evans, producer of the Mesa Arizona Easter Pageant. “It’s a wonderful thing to not only have two Spanish language performances, but have them take place on opening weekend. We hope more and more people come to see this truly magnificent event – and hear it in their native tongue,” said Evans.”
In years past, busses have been chartered from as far away as Sonora, Mexico,” said Georgina Uribe, cast member and East Valley resident originally from Mexico City. “Having both Spanish language performances on a weekend will give those that travel far distances a much better chance to see the pageant,” she said. “When the Spanish performance was held on Thursday, many people couldn’t come from far away because of having to work on Friday. Now hundreds more Hispanics can come and enjoy what I have come to cherish in performing in the pageant these past two years,” she said.
With a cast of more than 400 people and a variety of animals, the 75-minute production portrays the powerful and poignant moments of the life of Christ from His humble birth to His glorious resurrection as recorded in the Holy Bible. Nearly 100 volunteers serve on the stage crew and countless others assist in costuming, make-up, construction, lighting, sound and security.
Additionally, the pageant features a soundtrack of original music and orchestrations written by Arizona composer Wanda West Palmer and others and performed by The Mormon Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra and the Utah State University Chamber Singers.
The Mesa Arizona Temple Visitors’ Center is located at 525 E. Main Street in Mesa. Parking is free and is available in adjoining parking lots or on neighboring streets. Wheelchair seating, signing for the hearing impaired, Spanish interpreters and public restrooms are available. Ten thousand chairs are set up on the lawn, with open seating (no tickets required). Spectators may also bring blankets to sit on. Picnic dinners and food are also permitted. Guests are encouraged to anticipate cooler evenings.
For more information about the Mesa Arizona Easter Pageant, and for parking information, call the Arizona Temple Visitors’ Center at 480-964-7164, or check online at www.easterpageant.org.