BRANSON, Missouri – “Let My people go.”
Throughout the history of the Hebrew nation, the story of how God delivered the Israelites from slavery into the Promised Land has been inspiration for Jews and Christians.
That story is being brought to life daily here in the Sight & Sound Theatre’s spectacular musical production of Moses.
One of the most familiar stories in the Old Testament, the life of Moses was almost ended just after it began. Pharaoh issued a decree to kill all the male babies born to Hebrew slaves. Moses’ mother crafted a reed basket and placed him in it in the Nile River. Through God’s help, Pharaoh’s daughter spotted the baby, took pity and then hired Moses’ mother to care for him until he was weaned.
For 40 years, Moses, lived the good life in the palace of Pharaoh. But then he murdered an Egyptian soldier who was beating a Hebrew, and Moses had to flee for his life. He spent 40 years in the wilderness, hiding from Pharaoh and trying to discover purpose in his life.
God speaks to Moses from a burning bush and commissions him to go back to Egypt and to lead the Hebrews out of slavery and into Palestine. After a succession of plagues against Egypt, including the death of every first-born, Moses leads the people to the Red Sea where God miraculously parts the water to allow their safe crossing while drowning the Egyptian army, which was in pursuit.
Like previous productions at Sight & Sound, including Joseph, Noah, The Miracle of Christmas and Jonah, the music is top notch, the sets are incredible and the acting is perfect.
In Moses, not every detail of the play is in the Biblical text. The gaps are filled in but the core of the story is exactly as described in the Bible.
When you go to see Moses, expect to be surprised.
Dozens of live animals – horses, camels, donkeys, sheep, goats and even trained rats – are part of the show. While handlers wrangle the horses and camels, the sheep and goats are trained to perform sometimes on their own.
Before the show, I wondered how they would present the burning bush (it burned but did not burn up) and the parting of the Red Sea. I won’t spoil it by revealing how it was done but it was unlike anything you will see in any theater in the nation.
The burning bush effect took a year to develop. In concert with God’s voice, the dramatic “flame” changes color, texture and temperature.
The voice of God in that scene is not soft but loud and powerful. It is a great example of the omniscience and holy aspect of God’s true character. God is serious, yet He loves His people dearly.
Moses uses more video projection than any previous Sight & Sound production. And while past shows used a three projectors max, Moses uses 13.
You have to wonder how they can move the gigantic parts of the set. Part of it is with a rotating treadmill built into the stage. Some of the sets are 30 feet high.
Moses has 379 costume designs for 882 costumes. Sight & Sound’s seamstresses sewed 16,000 snaps on by hand and used 12,348 yards of fabric— enough to wrap the theatre 46 times. The show features 400 wigs and 125 beards and mustaches.
Bringing Moses to life on stage requires 1,367 conventional lights, 108 moving lights and 60 LED lights for 90 positions on and over the main and side stages as well as over the audience. One million watts of power operate the entire lighting system, requiring more than 14 miles of cable.
The casting call for the show involved hundreds of auditions all across the country and even outside the United States. Don Harper, composer for Moses, is a Hollywood veteran of scores for National Treasure and The Lion King, among many others.
Here’s one thing I love about this multi-million dollar company and its outstanding production. They don’t do it to make money – it is a Christian ministry. At the end of Moses, Jesus Christ joins the Old Testament prophet and the message is clear – Jesus is the True Savior. Cast members are ready in the lobby after the show to explain how to have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
Tickets for Moses are $45 for adults, $19 for children ages 3 to 12. For more information, go to www.sight-sound.com.