It is still a new production, but already it is an established tradition in the Church, an integral part of the Christmas and Easter seasons for many Latter-day Saints who rely on it to help foster a spiritual dimension in their holiday observances.
"Savior of the World," will again be presented this Christmas season on the stage of the Conference Center Theater. Tickets will be available beginning Oct. 22 through the Church's Internet site, www.lds.org. They may be obtained also by telephone at 240-0080 and 1-800-LDS-TIKS, or at the Conference Center ticket window, Door 4.
"Even with 30 performances, the production sells out very quickly," said Stephen Hall, supervisor of administrative services for the theater. "With such a high demand, we're pleased patrons will be able to obtain them easily through the Internet."
The musical production was the inaugural performance for the new theater when it debuted during the Christmas season of 2000. More than 100,000 people have now seen it.
William Darger, Westchester 1st Ward, Westchester New York Stake, is not officially associated with the production but praises it from a professional perspective as one who works in marketing of theater and has worked with Broadway and off-Broadway plays.
"The show is very successful at teaching and testifying of the birth and resurrection of the Savior," he said. "It invites the audience to revisit events that are central to our belief and consider the reactions of those who were actually there. It also lifts and inspires with a musical score that is astoundingly beautiful and yet very humble."
He said the music is a central part of the beauty, simplicity and power of the message, yet it does not draw attention to itself. The production has drawn upon the talents of professionals; former lead actor Dallyn V. Bayles, for example, is now playing in the role of Enjoras in the touring production of the Broadway musical "Les Miserables."
"Savior of the World" was one of the greatest spritual and performing experiences of my life," he said. "The people and events in the scriptures came to life. They were more than just names and stories on a page; they were real people with remarkable attributes who experienced great and wonderful things. They became my heroes."
He added that it is "more than just a dramatic musical with a good moral. It is pure testimony given by the actors to the audience of the reality of the Savior of the world and of the events and people surrounding His life, death and resurrection."
A hallmark of the show is that it makes use of the talents of volunteers, particularly families.
While the current cast has 92 members, 261 Latter-day Saints have been cast since the first production.
The Orchestra at Temple Square provides a 24-piece ensemble for each presentation, performing original music composed by a team commissioned by the Church.
The script, as well, was written by a commissioned writing team consisting of seven Church members from Utah, Illinois, New York and Arizona.
Performances this year run from Nov. 22 to Dec. 28. Admission for evening performances is $7, and matinees are $4. Children ages 8 and older are welcome. The theater seats 850, and parking for theater patrons is available at the Conference Center.
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