The Book of Mormon, Way Off Broadway

Jul 11, 2013

With its cast of 750, more than a thousand costumes, and special effects to rival a James Cameron film, the annual Hill Cumorah Pageant is back in town.

It’s been touted as the way off-Broadway version of the Book of Mormon, but this one’s the real deal.

The show, held in Palmyra, is a retelling of the history of Mormonism involving hundreds of cast and crew members.

People travel from across the country and around the world to be involved, but they’re not just here to entertain.

Cast members Heather and Eddie Gist have been coming with their family for years, and each year they take some time to give back to the local community.

“We will be going out to do whatever the community asks us to do next week, one day, so we’ll spend an entire day out doing service wherever they need us. And that’s the entire cast. Everyone gets one day where we go out in the community and do a service project, I mean that’s everybody.”

Pageant service coordinator Susan Garrow says the cast and crew will be helping groups throughout the Rochester region next week, doing things like cleaning middle schools, gardening, painting and building.

And, she says local organizations are always grateful.

“They’re just really happy that we can come and do it, and some rely on us coming every year to do it, like the schools where we’re moving things and cleaning lockers. They’d have to hire more people I would think if they didn’t have us doing that work.”

The pageant opens Friday night, with several performances throughout the next week.