New Life for the Passion Play | Black Hills Travel Blog

New Life for the Passion Play

Tuesday, August 21, 2018
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Passion Play

Good news for Spearfish, S.D.: The amphitheater where the Black Hills Passion Play had its seven-decade run will become a performing arts center where dramas, big-name music concerts and other events.

Cross Purpose Productions has leased the amphitheater property and will launch its first performance in June.

As you probably know, the Passion Play closed down at the end of last summer’s season. It was a sprawling, classical theatrical production that told the story of the last seven days in the life of Jesus. The stage was about a block long, and its cast included scores of robe-clad actors and extras.

Actor Joseph Meier brought the play from Germany, and the first outdoor Spearfish performance was in 1939. For a long time the Passion Play was one of the most well-known visitor attractions in the Black Hills of South Dakota. His daughter, Johanna Meier and her husband Guido Della Vecchia continued the tradition until last year.

Enter Stage Left: Marty and Deborah Hogen. They’re the folks behind Cross Purpose Productions. I know they’ve been working behind the scenes a long time to put this deal together.

I knew Marty and Deborah – we used to call her Branch back then -- pretty well back in the 1980s. They’re a great couple, and hard-working and creative. I hope it goes well for them.

“The vision is so huge for this place, just focusing on what we can do this year is taking a lot of energy,” Deborah told the Rapid City Journal. By next year, they plan to have a performing arts center in place, providing Branson, Mo., style family entertainment.

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