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LDS pageants in N.Y., Nauvoo making headlines

Published: Thursday, July 12 2012 3:34 p.m. MDT

Jesus Christ ascends in the Hill Cumorah pageant in 2001. (Tom Smart, Deseret News archive) Jesus Christ ascends in the Hill Cumorah pageant in 2001. (Tom Smart, Deseret News archive)

Our Take: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints puts on several annual pageants around the country. The Hill Cumorah Pageant starts off its 75th year this Friday, and newspapers as prominent as the Wall Street Journal are publishing articles on it. The Wall Street Journal picked up an Associated Press article about the Hill Cumorah Pageant, and the pageant was also reported on by Rochester, N.Y.'s local newspaper, the Democrat and Chronicle. This year's Nauvoo Pageant began Tuesday, July 10, and was reported on by the local news station.

Hill Cumorah Pageant

Let’s put on a show.

Sometime in the 1930s, a Mormon leader said words to that effect, perhaps taking his cue from Mickey Rooney or some other emerging movie star.

Some of the cast from the annual Hill Cumorah Pageant in Palmyra, New York, perform during one of the performances held in July 2011. Photo by Darren Mathews. (Courtesy Hill Cumorah Pageant Public Affairs, LDS Church News) Some of the cast from the annual Hill Cumorah Pageant in Palmyra, New York, perform during one of the performances held in July 2011. Photo by Darren Mathews. (Courtesy Hill Cumorah Pageant Public Affairs, LDS Church News)

The leader didn’t have song-and-dance numbers in mind. Rather, he wanted to dramatize some of the stories and beliefs central to his religion.

And so it was that in 1937 the first performance of what has become the Hill Cumorah Pageant was staged in the town of Manchester, a few miles south of the village of Palmyra in Wayne County, N.Y.

Altered, amplified and streamlined, the show goes on 75 years later. Thursday’s dress rehearsal will be followed by Friday’s opening night. Thus endures what is, according to its organizers, the “longest-running outdoor religious drama in the country.”

To read more, visit democratandchronicle.com.

Nauvoo Pageant

NAUVOO, Ill. — Thousands of people are on their way to Nauvoo this week as the town kicks off its 8th annual Nauvoo Pageant.

Cast members for the Nauvoo Pageant play the parts of Joseph and Hyrum Smith in November 2010. (Photos courtesy Kris Larsen, Stage Manager Nauvoo Pageant) Cast members for the Nauvoo Pageant play the parts of Joseph and Hyrum Smith in November 2010. (Photos courtesy Kris Larsen, Stage Manager Nauvoo Pageant)

The pageant celebrates the legacy of the early Latter-day Saints.

The pageant emphasizes the mission of Joseph Smith and honors the sacrifice, faith and courage of the Saints who gave their all to build a city and a temple to their God.

To read more, visit connecttristates.com.

Email: mgarrett@desnews.com

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