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Mar232014

Story of ‘Jonah’ wows crowd with tech, relevant message


BRANSON, Mo. – To say the Sight & Sound Theatres production of “Jonah” is a dramatic and spiritually moving retelling of the biblical story would be an understatement.

A preview of “Jonah,” an original musical by the production company, was held for media and members of the Branson business and civic community March 21, one day prior to its official opening.

A press release for the show provides an accurate summary: “This epic production brings the familiar Bible story to life as the audience witnesses Jonah’s tribulation and God’s grace and enduring love.”

Sight & Sound Theatres is known for wowing audiences through the use of technology and elaborate sets – and the $3 million “Jonah” production is no exception.

A few highlights of the production include: 

- Special effects to create an underwater experience with glowing jellyfish, coral reefs and a gigantic fish.

- 71 set pieces, including the largest single set piece ever built by Sight & Sound – a 30,000-pound boat that is 50 feet long, 28 feet high and 50 feet wide (when the hull doors open).

- A cast of nearly 50 professional actors in elaborate costumes.

- A script that is uplifting, entertaining and full of adventure, all while offering a powerful and timely message.

“Jonah” premiered in 2012 at the Sight & Sound theatre in Lancaster County, Pa. The production broke all previous attendance records, as it was seen by more than 850,000 people during its one-season run, according to the production company.

As Jonah’s adventure takes him through a terrible storm, an enormous whale hovers over audience members – encompassing practically the entire lower level of the huge Branson theatre.

Soon, Jonah finds himself in the wicked empire of Nineveh and faces numerous struggles while learning to trust the Lord.

“Sight & Sound has always offered shows for the whole family, but ‘Jonah’ is perhaps our most family-friendly script ever,” said Josh Enck, chief creative officer for the production company. “Children are familiar with the story as a favorite from Sunday school and really enjoy the immersive quality of the show.”

Sight & Sound Theatres, founded in 1976, is the nation’s largest Christian theatre company, according to a press release. While it is a ministry, the company is not affiliated with any external organization or any particular church denomination. It is a family-owned and operated, for-profit organization that accepts no charitable support.

 “Jonah” will run from March 22 through Dec. 31, 2014. More information is available at www.sight-sound.com.

– Arkansas Baptist News staff review

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