Dan Griesenauer of Springdale jumped onto Pilot's Judgment Porch and began saying lines from the play. Dan was immediately taunted by fellow cast members for a bust of Caesar he broke during one of the productions in the 1980s.
Tim and Ellen Garrison of Eureka Springs started a Facebook group titled "Being in the Passion Play way back when." He and his wife started this group expecting to reconnect with a few cast members, but were surprised at how quickly it became popular among the previous and current casts. "I really didn't expect to get more than 10 people to join the group, but to my surprise, more than 350 cast members have and now we're reuniting," Tim said. "While organizing the reunion was very difficult, it has truly become a labor of love."
Melinda and Brett Watson of Baroda, Mich., traveled a day and a half by car to be at the reunion. Melinda was a part of the cast from 1979 -- 982. According to Tim, she was the main driving force of the reunion. Brett also participated in the play as a teenager.
Joann Griesenauer of Berryville started working at the play in the late 1970s and continued until 1983. She was very excited to meet up with all of her old friends. Joann mentioned that most of the couples at the reunion met one another as cast members and then married some years later.
Tim and Ellen met at the passion play, and when asked about it he jokingly exclaimed, "We've been married for 36 blissful years; it's really 39, but I've called back three of them."
While this was a step back in time for some, others like Ezra Hodgson of Eureka Springs never left, "I participated in the production in the early 80s and once I had children they acted in it along side me." Hodgson still works for the production and does the lighting for the play.
Twenty-three cast members made it to the Tuesday afternoon set tour and more than 120 planned to attend the reunion banquet on Wednesday, July 11 at The Inn of the Ozarks. For more information, contact Tim Garrison at (479) 253-5739.