Savior of the World: His Birth and Resurrection
Submitted by Julie Eardley, Savior of the World Publicity
Savior of the World, a musical production celebrating the birth and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, returns to Elko this Easter season. All are invited to celebrate and experience the sacred story of Jesus Christ’s birth, life, and glorious Resurrection through drama and music that bears testimony of the Son of God, the Savior of the World.
Savior of the World was first presented in Elko in 2015, with full houses for each performance. The production was again set to be presented in 2020, however after being postponed due to COVID, the show ultimately had to be cancelled.
“We felt that the timing is right to offer the production again this year and have once again been blessed by the participation and contributions of so many from a variety of backgrounds and beliefs,” says President Shawn Jones, president of the Elko Nevada East Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who is sponsoring this production.
“The Savior of the World is one miraculous production, says Annette Marshall who plays Elisabeth, mother of John the Baptist, in this year’s production. “I had not been exposed to the Savior of the World play prior to moving to Elko County and planned on attending the musical in 2020 before it had to be cancelled. This last Fall I decided to tryout for this year’s production. It is an honor to have been chosen for this role in this incredible production.
“The script itself is incredible. One moment I find myself laughing and the next I’m crying. One of my favorite moments is when Zacharias is attempting to tell me that we are going to have a child. Elisabeth finally understands the miracle that he is telling her, and I cry. It is a beautiful and poignant moment.
“The beautiful musical score alone is worth coming to see the play. The score hits all the right notes to make you feel the emotions related to the story of Christ.”
“The cast for Savior of the World is an incredibly engaged, large cast. Every person in the cast is donating their time and talents to be involved with this beautiful production. The ages range from young children to those of us that are ‘seniors’ like me. At each rehearsal it amazes me how with all these people, of varied ages, everyone is engaged in making this production amazing. The environment during rehearsal is one of reverence. When I have been involved with musicals with a large cast in the past, the director and supporting staff spent a vast majority of their time wrangling the cast. Not with this cast. When the director, Marianne Johnson, is working with the cast during rehearsals, the cast follows what she asks them to do. Each person pays attention and follows direction.
“Last but not least is the director and her supporting staff. The director and stage manager spend endless hours working on this production. They are precise and thoughtful at the same time. No shouting or angry words are ever spoken. The costume people have done a wonderful job of producing and managing all the costumes for the cast. The sound people are working hard to make sure that the sound system will work perfectly so that the cast can be heard, and the music is timed perfectly. The music directors share their love of music with the cast and keeps all of us on time and on key. There are so many individuals involved behind the scenes that I am unable to list each of them. All of them are stars within their own rights.”
The role of Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, has been a humbling experience for Carrie Snyder. “I have loved getting the chance to hear and learn of the birth and Resurrection of our Savior through the eyes of a mother, and, more specifically, through the eyes of His earthly Mother. I have felt the Spirit at rehearsals and at home as I have practiced memorizing lines and the music to express the feelings of Mary’s heart. We can only dream of what she might have gone through mentally, emotionally and I am doing my best to express that through the written word and musical form, and I know it was a lot she went through. She was human after all. I can’t even imagine what I would have done in such a situation.
“My most memorable moment was when we first started rehearsing when Mary was praying, and the angel Gabriel appeared to her. She was feeling unprepared to take some major steps in her life (marriage to Joseph) and she approached the Father to: unburden herself, find strength, find peace? Maybe all of that. And then, an incredible and unlikely thing happened—an angel appeared to tell her she would be the vessel through which the Savior would come to the Earth.
“Wow, so many emotions went through me—confusion, fear, inadequacy, shock. I have no idea what Mary went through, but in my mind, it may have been something similar. It hit me as I sat there listening to the words of scripture how incredible and even scary such an experience that would have been. But, despite all of that, she was faithful and accepted the calling God presented to her. I am teary thinking of all the times in my life I have been presented with ‘callings’ from my Heavenly Father and I responded with fear or resistance. I realized I can learn from Mary and her example. She went to her Father to seek peace and to share her troubles of her upcoming marriage and then moved forward with faith to do His will regardless of how confusing, scary, or unexpected it might have been.”
Sean Miklovic, who plays Joseph, had some similar feelings. “As I have been learning my lines and putting my feet in Joseph’s shoes, I have thought largely of the journey and role he took in the Savior’s life.
“How much faith he had knowing the law of Moses and trying to fulfill this law because of his love of God and the want to bless his future family. Then to be shaken just enough for him to take leaps of faith into helping bring the Savior into the world. This man, through pouring his heart out to God in prayer, was shown God’s will and was blessed with the opportunity to be the Savior’s Earthly father.
“What would it have been like to be the earthly father of the Savior? Thoughts that have occupied my mind have been of the example Joseph would have had to model of a loving Father and husband and keeper of commandments. It reminds me often to emulate these good characteristics so that I, myself, can be a good father and husband for my own family and serve Joseph as the Father of the Savior the best I can.”
Carrie Billin, along with her young son, Dirk, are part of the choir and ensemble. She says, “Being part of this production has helped me feel closer to my Savior and reaffirmed what I already knew about Him: He lives! He loves us! I know that those who see this production will feel the same. What a beautiful and positive message to send out into the world. I am so grateful to be part of this special event.”
Three performances are scheduled for April 14 and 15 at the Elko Convention Center. Performances are at 7:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday evening, with a 1:00 p.m. matinee on Saturday. Admission is free, but tickets are required.
Tickets are available at the Edward Jones office at 1028 Idaho Street, Suite 120, in Elko. Tickets can also be reserved online at tinyurl.com/SOTWElko2023 for pick up at the Edward Jones office by April 13, or at will-call before each performance. More information can be found at https://www.facebook.com/SotWElko23
Jones invites, “I am grateful for the cherished friendships in a community of many religious denominations that collectively love our Savior. We need one another! We invite all to come and see.”