I was immersed in an underwater world. The huge whale, its cavernous mouth opening wide, passed right over my head. I was sitting in Sight & Sound Theatres’ performance of Jonah in Branson, Missouri. With a full-sized sailing ship, wildly boisterous pirates, and amazing song and dance scores, “Jonah,” like the many other Sight & Sound productions, brought the Bible vividly to life.
And biblical accuracy and theological meaning are not sacrificed for the sake of entertainment. While the plays include creative details, as pointed out by the director prior to performances, Sight & Sound clings to scriptural integrity. In Jonah, the prophetic nature of the story is highlighted, demonstrating the Messianic significance of the story in God’s plan for salvation and very clearly presenting the gospel in a way that is of value even for mature believers.
Audiences used to have to travel to Branson, Missouri, or Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to get a chance to become immersed in a Bible tale brought to life through skillfully engineered sets and a highly professional cast. Now, the colorful experience is for the first time becoming available on the big screen. Sight & Sound began filming their stage productions for home viewing on DVD. And, the live filming of Jonah: On Stage will hit movie theaters for a one-night special release May 2, 2017.
Jonah: On Stage, brought to theaters by Fathom Events, will be playing in 600 movie theaters nationwide. Locations and tickets can be found here.
Since its debut in 2012 at the Lancaster Sight & Sound Theatre and in 2014 at the Branson Sight & Sound Theatre, more than one million people have planned special family vacations to include seeing Jonah live in theaters. Now, so many more people will be able to enjoy it just a short drive away from home. An encore season of the live performance also is running in Lancaster from March through October of this year.
Also, live on stage throughout this year are Moses (Branson) and the Miracle of Christmas (Branson and Lancaster). Currently, DVDs available for purchase include Jonah, Joseph, Ruth, Noah, and Moses, as well as a Christmas special, Voices of Christmas. Many of the songs from the productions are also recorded on CD.
Whether in live theater or a movie theater, Sight & Sound does not disappoint. Last year, I was treated to another Sight & Sound performance, Samson in Lancaster, and it was a delight; it also brought new insight and interest in the story of that complicated biblical hero. In the theatrical production, the redemptive angle of that story, although often hard to pinpoint, was cast in the strongest light possible. The salvific message of Jesus Christ was unmistakably proclaimed.
Sight & Sound productions leave the viewer with not just a few hours of entertainment but with what could be a life-changing epoch.