NAUVOO, Ill. -- A core cast of professionals and a supporting cast of hundreds bring history to life again this summer in Nauvoo.
Broadway-quality shows about early Mormon history in the U.S. and England take the stage in a 3,000-seat outdoor amphitheater with the Nauvoo Temple as a backdrop for the story.
The Nauvoo Pageant takes the stage every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday with the British Pageant every Wednesday and Friday through Aug. 3.
A Country Fair begins at 7 p.m. each night, followed by the pageants at 8:30 p.m. The fair, pageants and parking are free, with no tickets required.
Now in its 15th year of production, the Nauvoo Pageant tells the personal stories of the people who settled in 1839 in what was little more than a swamp and built it into a thriving city, competing in size and industry with Chicago.
The British Pageant "Truth Will Prevail," performed since 2014, tells the history of the reformation in the British Isles and the story of the early Christian reformers who sacrificed much in defense of the truth.
"The Nauvoo and British Pageants reflect the joys of love and friendship and the bonding borne of hardship. In these pageants, we come to understand why these vanguard frontier settlers were able to build the largest city in Illinois and construct a magnificent temple only to leave and endure a most arduous trek to colonize the West," Pageant President John Ricks said. "These are remarkable stories that will touch your heart."
Twenty-three professional actors perform in the lead roles, and five separate family casts of about 130 people volunteer their time for two weeks to rehearse and run the Country Fair, then perform on stage. About 100 additional volunteers come to help with costumes, security, children's activities, office work and stage operations, with some serving for nearly two months.
Last year, cast members and volunteers traveled from across the U.S. as well as Japan, China, Mexico, Canada and England.