Queen Esther, the Sight & Sound Theatre’s spectacular retelling of the Biblical story, is the must-see show in Branson Missouri now through Dec. 30. The production stays true to the Old Testament book, set in ancient Persia where the Jews were taken as captives. A beautiful young Jewish girl is plucked from the ghetto to become the wife of the powerful ruler, King Xerxes. Esther slowly realizes that God placed her in this position so she can help save her people, as a devious courtier is plotting to destroy all the Jews in captivity.
The story of the courageous young queen is brought to life with terrific special effects, amazing sets, a large and talented cast, wonderful costumes, and live animals on the cavernous stage. On a recent visit to Branson, we took a backstage media tour of the set prior to the show. Dan Culleny, the actor playing King Xerxes in that evening’s performance; technical director Luke Bates; and Marketing Director Kortney Neal led the informative tour.
Queen Esther Offers Unique Theatrical Experience
A highlight of the backstage tour was meeting Sully, one of the King’s favorite steeds, and his handler. We were all in awe on meeting Flo, the realistic-looking elephant who carries Queen Esther in a climactic parade. The 2,000 seat, state-of-the-art Sight & Sound Theatre offers an immersive and unique theatrical experience. It features a massive, 300-foot panoramic stage with sets up to four stories tall surrounding the audience on three sides. During the performance, King Xerxes was almost close enough to touch as he rode Sully down the center aisle on his way to war.
For Queen Esther, over 11,000 square feet of set construction covers the stage, with the City of Susa rising an impressive four stories. Queen Esther herself wears 16 gowns, while nearly 1,000 costumes containing more than 24,000 yards of fabric were used in the production. Camels, donkeys, miniature horses, Afghan hounds, parrots and other birds, along with the majestic mechanical Elephant, are featured in the show. Cast members with solo numbers, including Queen Esther and King Xerxes, had lovely voices that complemented their acting abilities. The musical score, which was recorded in Prague, also adds a lot to the production.
Tickets to Queen Esther are priced from $29 for children to $59/$64 for adults, with group discounts also available. For tickets or more information, visit Sight-Sound.com.
Sight & Sound Ministry
Sight & Sound Ministry’s mission is to bring the Bible to life through live theater, TV and film productions. Founded by Shirley and Glenn Eshelman in 1976 with creative slide shows, the first full-length Biblical production, “Behold the Lamb,” opened in 1986 at the Living Waters Theatre in Lancaster, PA. Sold-out crowds kept coming to see the shows, so in 2008 the family opened a second, almost identical theater in Branson. Now, more than one million people walk through the Sight & Sound Theatre doors each year. Sight & Sound ministry outreach has expanded to include TV and film productions as well as the live performances of Biblical stories in their theatres. For more information, please visit Sight-Sound.com.