Mesa Easter Pageant Kicks Off Season of Church Productions
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“Mesa Easter Pageant Kicks Off Season of Church Productions,” Ensign, Mar. 2009, 77–78

Mesa Easter Pageant Kicks Off Season of Church Productions

After months of preparation and hard work, participants and viewers of the Mesa Arizona Easter Pageant will experience through music, dance, and drama the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.

The Easter pageant, titled Jesus the Christ, is held on the lawn of the Mesa Arizona Temple Visitors’ Center. More than 400 participants reenact the King James Version of the Bible’s account of the Savior’s birth, ministry, death, and Resurrection.

“I see over and over again the cast experiencing a joy that they have never felt before as they share their testimonies in a direct way with so many people,” said Nanci Wudel, director of the pageant.

Preparations for the pageant begin months previous to the performance. Volunteers of all ages, including individuals and families, participate as cast members, offer backstage support, and join in work crews to help put on the production. Casting for the 2009 production began in November 2008.

The Mesa pageant started as a sunrise service in 1928 and has since grown into one of the world’s largest annual outdoor Easter pageants.

“I hope every person in our cast and audience leaves the pageant with his or her burdens lightened, a feeling of deep peace, and a strong desire to know more about the Savior and His plan of happiness for us,” Sister Wudel said. “Everything we do for the pageant is to bring people closer to the Savior.”

The Mesa Arizona Easter Pageant is set to begin with a public dress rehearsal on March 31, 2009, and will run April 1–2 and 7–11 in English and April 3–4 in Spanish. It is the first of many official Church pageants to be held in 2009.

An actor portrays the Prophet Joseph Smith in the Nauvoo Pageant.

The Mesa Arizona Temple grounds are the scene of the annual Mesa Arizona Easter Pageant.