The Gospels on Stage
“I loved it so much, as soon as the first show was done I went out and bought tickets to see it again”
- Convenience Store Cashier on the way to Sight and Sound
“I wish I had seen something like this years ago so I could have understood my Bible better this whole time”
- Elderly first-time Sight and Sound visitor sitting behind me.
Sight and Sound Theatres is hard to explain fully if you haven’t been there. Describing the production as plays or musicals fails to convey the entire experience. It is like a play and a musical in that there is acting, singing and dancing. There is much more to it, though. It has some of the aspects of kid’s entertainment as there are live animals used on stage and throughout the theater. It has some of the feel of IMAX movies as there are large screens and effects that transport you into the scenes being depicted. But it also has much of the feel of a great church service as you leave understanding more about God and moved by the stories of the faith. It is a wonderful multifaceted Christian experience from beginning to end. Sight and Sound describes themselves as the place “Where the Bible Comes Alive on Stage”. I agree and we have come to consider Sight and Sound one of our families treasures. We have enjoyed each of the shows we have seen over the years. Their production of Jesus is no exception. From the moment it opens with the calling of the disciples to the ending at Pentecost, it is a joy to behold. I highly recommend it.
Our Sight and Sound Family Tradition
Our family started coming to the Lancaster, PA Sight and Sound location when our teens were small ones. My wife took the two oldest to see a production of the life of Joseph from Genesis. I thought it was comparable to a dinner theater at the time, so I was not upset that I stayed home with our then youngest. I wasn’t surprised when the little ones came back excited about the animals from the show and talking about Joseph being thrown in a well by his brothers. Kids are awesome in their joy over the simplest of things. I was shocked how much my wife loved it. She was brought to tears by a show in the Amish Country of Pennsylvania about a biblical Patriarch? That was very surprising! She explained her reasons and they made sense. Yet, even when we watched a clip of the show, I still did not really understand. It looked like a play. That is, until we went back as a family the following year and saw Jonah and I soaked it all in myself. The story straight from the Bible, the acting, the songs, the animals, it was like the Bible vividly come to life. I was hooked! The tears made sense and I shed quite a few myself over the years that followed as we saw Jonah, Moses, Noah and then Joseph as a whole family. Each show was filled with entertainment, vivid story telling and clear Biblical truth. Even as the kids grew, we all looked forward to the next new show from Sight and Sound.
Jesus on Stage
“Is that really Jesus?”
- excitedly whispered by my 4 year old.
I was excited when they announced the new show focused on Jesus. He is a wonderful subject and worthy of the time and effort. The issue can be depicting Him well and accurately within the confines of the time and medium available. I am happy to report Sight and Sound did an awesome job of it. They presented a wonderful picture of Jesus and the lives transformed around Him beautifully.
The story of Jesus is presented almost in vignette form. Rather than do a strict narrative from His birth, they seemed to focus on individual stories of redemption and change tied together by the thread of Jesus. So we jump right into the production with the calling of Peter, Andrew, James and John from fishermen to fishers of men. Then we are taken through a sample of the stories of redemption in the Gospel highlighting the work of Jesus on the way to the Cross. Jesus is patient, loving and kind as He teaches His disciples and comes to them walking on water. He is tender and gentle with Mary Magdalene and the man possessed by demons in Gadarene. He is a personal Jesus who is also a powerful God. The story itself is wonderfully told as well as impactful. Jesus healing a leper and raising Lazarus from the dead brought the emotions of those events home to me in an entirely new way. They deepened my appreciation of Jesus.
The plot itself was beautifully supplemented with the sets, technology and props. The entirety of the stage is backed by a huge screen that transported us to the setting of ancient Israel. Use of elaborate props as well as water and wind effects in the theater made the scene of Jesus and Peter walking on water one of the best I have seen in a live show. The actors also used the aisles in the theater for themselves and their animal castmates to bring the feel of the show all around us. There is nothing like a mounted Roman soldier on horseback passing a few feet from you to keep your attention. As you are sitting there, you know it is just an actor playing the Roman or the Mary as she weeps for her son Jesus. It is clear the angel flying in the sky is hooked onto cables, but you get a glimpse of what the real thing must have been like….and it is wonderful. When Jesus rises from the dead and the disciples run to see the empty tomb, I wept with joy knowing I was seeing just a portion of the greatness of the original. Watching my children’s faces fill with delight and wonder as the story of Jesus unfolded certainly helped the tears to flow.
Go See Jesus at Sight and Sound
I realize tickets for Jesus are not cheap. I also understand Sight and Sound is not local for many. We traveled about 2 hours to get there. I highly recommend making the trip and spending the money. We would travel much farther if we had to. It is just that good. It is an experience for the whole family that brings the Bible to life in a way that few other things do. It is an encouragement in faith for everyone. Our family has enjoyed and grown in love of God from every show.
As a note, Sight and Sound does use artistic license when telling the stories. There are lines of dialog in the show that are not in the Bible. There are interactions and conclusions put in to tell the story. They are not perfect in doing this as fallible humans. This does not affect the overall quality of the story or its general accuracy. Grace is needed whenever we deal with imperfect people and Sight and Sound is no exception. It is still an amazing show.
Here is our family after the show.
For more information, go to Sight and Sound
They also have a location in Branson, Missouri.