51st Mormon Miracle Pageant opens with new director, changes

 

Linda Peterson

Staff writer

6/15/2017

 

MANTI—The residents of Manti and the surrounding area have once again come together to pull off the miracle of the Manti Pageant, which opens tonight.

Even after more than 50 years, the dedication of the Mormon Miracle Pagaent’s cast and crew dedication  has not waned, and their enthusiasm has been passed down to younger generations.

“You have inspired me, moved me, given me chills, left me in awe and have brought tears to my eyes,” Mormon Miracle Pageant President Milton Olsen told the cast in a recent Facebook post.

Olsen is one of several who have been asked to fill new positions in the presidency and directorial crew in this, the first year of the pageant’s next half-century.

The presidency is made up of Olsen, First Counselor Norman Jensen, Second Counselor Troy Shelley, Executive Secretary Ken Lindsay, Secretary Jean Bradley and Financial Secretary Meagan White.

Denise Hagemeister (who until last year was the secretary in the pageant presidency) is the pageant’s new director; she has selected others to fill new production-staff positions: Assistant Director Todd Jorgensen, Choreographer Tomica Boehrer, Costume Designer Amy Cox, Stage Manager Emery Kis-Illes and Technical Director David Parrish.

With these changes comes a fresh perspective, and while the pageant will stay true to its roots with the familiar script and sound track, organizers hope that new perspective will enhance the pageant’s message.

For Olsen, the process of putting this year’s pageant together has been an emotional and spiritual experience.

“I have seen the pageant many times and I have been in it many times. I have truly felt more emotions this year than any I can remember,” Olsen says.

Director Hagemeister hopes audiences will have similar experiences.

“The cast and crew have worked really hard and have rededicated themselves to trying very hard to help the audience have a great experience. We thank God for tender mercies,” Hagemeister says. “I think pageant-goers will have whatever experience they are looking for. Hopefully, they are looking to see and feel something, to be drawn nearer to Christ.”

Local residents may want to head on down to the temple grounds earlier than normal for some new pre-pageant activities.

Last year for the pageant’s 50th anniversary, the pageant committees included some pre-pageant entertainment. It went over so well, they’re bringing it back this year with all local artists. Local Vocals, a vocal performing group of high school- and college-aged from Sanpete County, will perform every night at 7 p.m. Following them at 8 p.m. will be a different entertainment act each night: the Mike and Jennifer Frischknecht family; Michael Dowdle; Ultimi ( made up of Isaac Hurtado, Tyler Nelson and Brian Stucki); Matt and Kristin Weidner; Snow College music students; Greg Boothe; Skyline Drive (Ross and Luc Christensen); and Cherie Call.

Also prior to the pageant every night from 4-8:30 p.m. the LDS Mt. Pleasant Utah Stake is sponsoring a “family history tent” in front of the church’s Family History Center west of the temple. There, people will be able to find out all kinds of fun facts about their family history.

The pageant will run June 15-17 and 20-24 at 9:30 p.m. each evening.