The epic story of Moses comes to life before thousands in Sight and Sound's Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, theater. The newest musical stage production raises the bar on visual effects, acting, entertainment and message.
First time visitors are in for an eye opening experience as they travel through rural Pennsylvania farmland and enter into the more than 2,000 seat theater. The larger than life statue of Moses in the atrium is a prelude to the quality of the production to come. Those who have seen one of Sight and Sound's biblical productions will be familiar with the incorporation of live animals and the impressive staging on the 300 foot wrap around stage. Moses continues this tradition by having a variety of animals to include, horses, camels, goats, birds and more, entering through the theater and interaciting with performers on stage.
The challenges to credibly depict the monumental events of Moses' life were many, and as a part of the audience I wondered how they would pull this off without detracting from the story. As a recap to some of the major visual events in the story there is the burning bush and the ten plagues: turning the water to blood, frogs, lice, diseased livestock, boils, storms of fire and more. The one event that concerned me as to how they would handle was the parting of the Red Sea. I am happy to report that the technical and creative levels were beyond Broadway. The acting, the costumes, and musical numbers were all flawless and the story true to the Biblical account in Exodus.
Throughout the performance I caught myself comparing this story with other visual presentations of Moses. Throughout the last 68 years the standard to measure stories about Moses has been Cecil B. DeMille's production of the Ten Commandments, starring Charlton Heston as Moses, and Yul Brynner as Pharaoh. This film advertised the parting of the Red Sea as "the most spectacular scene ever filmed."
For younger audiences there is 1998 Dreamworks Production , Prince of Egypt, an animated musical story of Moses. Like the Ten Commandments the story tells of an Egyptian prince who learns his identity as a Hebrew and later delivers his people.
Both films received several nominations for Academy Awards and both received an Oscar for their achievements. While this cast and crew did an exceptional job on every level there will be no such awards for this outstanding production. In fact there is no curtain call, and no names of the accomplished and talented actors in the program which is in keeping with the mission of the Sight and Sound organization: "to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ and sow the Word of God into the lives of our customers, guests and fellow workers by visualizing and dramatizing the Scriptures through inspirational productions, encourage others and seeking always to be dedicated and wise stewards of our God-given talents and resources."
Performance are scheduled through April 18th 2015. Tickets and pricing is available on the Sight and Sound Theaters' website.