Great Passion Play opens 2015 season on May 1

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Great Passion Play opens on Friday and Saturday, May 1 and 2, to start its 48th season.

Featuring a cast of more than 175 actors and actresses, the play is performed amid a 550-foot historically accurate stage and brings to life the thrilling epic drama surrounding Christ's last days on earth, including his death, resurrection and ascension.

The play is offering specially discounted tickets for locals. Residents of Carroll County can get tickets for only $5 for performances of the Great Passion Play on opening weekend as well as May 8 and 9. Simply show proof of residence in Carroll County and enjoy the play, the Bible Museum, the Sacred Arts Museum, free music concerts, David the Shepherd, and the Parables of the Potter.

The Great Passion Play runs 1 hour and 45 minutes, featuring an original musical score composed by Phil Perkins and performed by the world-renowned National Philharmonic Orchestra of London. This year's performance will also feature horses, donkeys and dozens of birds as well as three camels donated by the "Wild Wilderness Drive through Safari" in Gentry, Arkansas.

"This year, we hope to see even more people attend the performances and sites that we have on the grounds," said Randall Christy, the Passion Play's chief executive officer. "We also hope to raise funds to restore the Christ of the Ozarks memorial statue."

Christy said almost 100,000 tickets were issued to visitors to the grounds last year, and it is estimated that more 250,000 people came to see the statue, the play, and other onsite attractions in 2014. Christy also mentioned that the play would be hosting trails rides on May 15 and 16 as well as a Gospel Music night on October 8.

Kent Butler, a cast member and director of marketing for the play, also mentioned that people who have seen the play in the past can be guests in the production.

"We are excited to give people an opportunity to become a part of the experience," he said. "A limited number of people per performance will actually be able to walk the streets of Jerusalem and join us in recreating the events in the last week of the life of Christ. To take advantage of this opportunity, simply mention that you would like to be in the play when you make your reservation via phone -- regular ticket prices still apply -- and the reservation assistant will direct you to the right person.

"We have backstage tours during the day," Butler said, "but this is more like a backstage experience because you actually help bring Jerusalem to life. We provide the costumes, but just make sure that you bring your own sandals. The dressing rooms usually have extra sandals available, but that is where I personally draw the line."

The 2015 season will run from the first weekend of May through the last weekend of October. Ticket reservations, performance schedules and special event information are available online at GreatPassionPlay.org or by calling toll free 800-882-7529. Residents can use the coupon code CARROLLCOUNTY to make reservations online and present valid photo ID or proof of residence when you pick up your tickets for Friday, May 1 or May 8, and Saturday, May 2 or May 9.

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