The Great Passion Play in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, kicks off a new season on May 1st. Began in 1968, The Great Passion Play at Eureka Springs, has become the largest attended outdoor drama in the United States with over 7.5 million visitors. It’s a popular religious stage production that depicts the last days of the life of Jesus Christ, his death, and resurrection.
The Eureka Springs play is supposedly based on the historic passion play, held every ten years in Oberammergau, Germany. The story of this German passion play begins in 1633 during the Thirty Years War. This was a time when an outbreak of the bubonic plague was sweeping across the country. The small town of Oberammergau, in Bavaria, vowed that if God were to spare them from the ravages of this horrific plague they would perform a play depicting the life and death of Jesus every ten years.
Apparently the small village was spared a large number of deaths, and so believing God had indeed spared them, kept their vow by performing the first passion play in 1634. The last play took place in 2010, and marked the 41st performance of what is now the world famous, Oberammergau Passion Play. The Bavarian play is held April through September (the next will be 2020) and over 2,000 village residents take part in the plays performance.
This year also marks the 43rd year for the Great Passion Play in Eureka Springs. Tucked amongst the beauty of the Ozarks, this epic performance takes place in a 4,100 seat outdoor amphitheater, just outside of Eureka Springs. Dressed in authentic costumes, a cast of about two hundred performers brings the two-hour drama to life. The play re-tells the story of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Dramatic sound, lighting, and music make this a memorable performance for the audience.
Also on the grounds of The Great Passion Play is another popular attraction, the Christ of the Ozarks statue. Towering 1,500 feet into the air the statue can be seen for miles. Eureka Springs, with all of its Victorian charm, can be seen in the valley below. The statue’s sculptor, Emmet Sullivan, was also a sculptor on Mount Rushmore. The Christ of the Ozarks statue is open to the public 24 hours a day at no charge.
The 2016 season of The Great Passion Play at Eureka Springs begins on May 1st. for 85 performances through October 31st. The play is performed every night except Sundays and Wednesdays. Special Sunday performances are held on Memorial and Labor Day weekends. Tickets start at 26.50 per person for adults. Prices vary for youth and kids. Package deals are also available that include a Holy Land tour, and a buffet meal.
Also located on the grounds are other religious exhibits, Christian gifts and clothing, “The Texans,” Gospel Music Dinner Theater, and an original ten-foot by ten-foot section of the Berlin Wall.
For more information, or to order tickets for, The Great Passion Play at Eureka Springs, visit www.greatpassionplay.com or call 1-800-882-7529 to order tickets. For other attractions around Eureka Springs or for available lodging visit www.eurekasprings.com.