Mesa Easter Pageant a tradition for tens of thousands

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by azfamily.com

GMAZ interview by Scott Pasmore and Tess Rafols

Posted on April 9, 2014 at 11:05 AM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 9 at 11:20 AM

Mesa Easter Pageant
North lawn of the Mesa Arizona Temple Visitors' Center:
525 East Main St., Mesa
English performances:
April 9-11 and 15-19, 8 p.m.
Spanish performance:
April 12, 8 p.m.
ASL:
April 9-12, 8 p.m.

MESA, Ariz. -- For decades, the message of Easter, taken from the Bible, has been shared in elegant pageantry, music and dance as part of the Mesa Easter Pageant.

The Mesa Easter Pageant features a cast of nearly 500 volunteer actors, as well as an additional 400 volunteers who work behind the scenes to make the pageant a reality. The 65-minute pageant depicts Christ's birth and scenes from the various miracles he performed, concluding with his crucifixion and resurrection. Music and dance, along with the colorful costumes and impressive staging, make the pageant enjoyable for all ages.

With a huge cast of nonprofessional performers and a volunteer artistic staff, the task can seem daunting.

"We have the task of portraying the life of the savior in a way so that hundreds of thousands of people can feel the spirit in the beautiful Easter message," pageant director Jenee Wright Prince said. "We're so excited to give this great gift to the community. Every year it just gets bigger and bigger."

While the pageant is sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint, it is written based on the King James Bible and presented for all faiths, cultures, religions and ages. The nine free performances are open to everyone. No donations will be accepted.

  • English performances: April 9-11 and 15-19, 8 p.m.
  • Spanish performance: April 12, 8 p.m.
  • ASL: April 9-12, 8 p.m.

"It's a wonderful gift to the community, and we're so excited to be able to present it every year," Prince said.

Nightly performances draw anywhere from 5,000 to 13,000 attendees with Friday and Saturday nights garnering the largest crowds.

Volunteers have set up almost 10,000 chairs on the north lawn of the Mesa Arizona Temple Visitors’ Center. Those seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis, and tend to fill very quickly. There are no reservations.

Pageant organizers suggest you arrive at least an hour early during the first week of performances, and two to three hours early during the second week.

Attendees are welcome bring blankets or chairs to sit on around the perimeter of the general seating area.

Free parking is available on adjacent streets, with handicap parking and tour bus parking in the lot east of the Visitors' Center, which is located at 525 E. Main St.

For additional information, visit www.easterpageant.org or call 480-964-7164.

In addition to the Easter Pageant, the Mesa Arizona Temple is known for its spectacular display of Christmas lights.

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