UMHB to host 73rd Annual Easter Pageant
Tuesday, 10 April 2012 by Keith Bahlmann
On Wednesday, April 4, the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor will host its 73rd Annual Easter Pageant. There will be three performances in front of the Luther Memorial arches on Vann Circle Drive at 12:30 p.m., 3:00 p.m., and 5:30 p.m.
UMHB's Easter Pageant is a free event that has become a tradition for many Central Texas families, drawing nearly 5,000 spectators each year. Nearly 200 university students participate in the pageant as actors, director and even costumers. A number of children from the community also take part in the performance.
The production features many moments from the life and ministry of Christ, including His triumphal entrance into Jerusalem, the Last Supper, and His trial by Pontius Pilate, crucifixion, death, and resurrection.
Each year Dr. Randy O'Rear, president of UMHB, chooses an outstanding student for the honor of portraying Jesus. This casting is based less on acting ability than on a strong Christian faith and attitude. This year Coley Taylor of Kingwood, TX, will play Christ.
O'Rear also decides which female student will play the role of Mary, mother of Christ. This year, the role went to Bethany Franz of New Waverly.
The rest of the cast is selected by Tracie Bird of Canyon, TX, who O'Rear chose as this year's director for the pageant.
The tradition of the annual Easter Pageant began in 1940 when it was held during the afternoon on Easter Day.
At that time, the school was not co-ed, so all of the roles were played by women. Over time, the production expanded to include male students and extra performances.
"We are really trying to encourage as many people as possible to attend the first two showings," Mike McCarthy, director of campus activities said. "The 5:30 p.m. show is always the most popular, and we are expecting a large turnout."
Portraying the disciples will be Adam Long as Peter, Connor Buchanan as James (son of Zebedee), Cody Henley as John, Jake Hans as Andrew, Riley Davis as Bartholomew, Bobby Myer as James, Braden Buchanan as Matthew, Ryan Frusha as Thomas, Ryan Murphy as Thaddeus, Brandon Edwards as Phillip, Spencer Turner as Simon the Zealot, and Chase Riggs as Judas Iscariot.
The Sadducees will be depicted by Mitch Goodman, Nathan Rusu, and John Michael Toller. The Pharisees will be portrayed by Nathan Gilmore, Luke Cielonko, and Patrick Krone.
The Herodians will be played by Tommy Pierce, Matt Wines, and Brian Hufines. Portraying High Priest Caiaphas will be Tobin Davies, and portraying High Priest Ananias will be Eddie Khaler.