What was supposed to be the final Hill Cumorah Pageant has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The July run of the pageant was to be its 83rd and final performance. However, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Thursday that concerns over the COVID-19 virus would push the final performance to July 2021.
“The Hill Cumorah Pageant brings people from all over the world, and this just isn’t the time to do that,” Pageant President Neil Pitts said. “We are happy to know that it has been moved to another year. It would have been heartbreaking to have ended with a cancellation.”
The Hill Cumorah Pageant has been staged annually in Manchester, NY by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 1937. The Church announced in 2018 that it would halt production on several of its large-scale productions, including the Hill Cumorah Pageant.
Its 82nd season wrapped in July 2019 with around 46,000 people attending the pageant.
The production started as a humble reenactment of the Book of Mormon and Bible by local missionaries on makeshift stages lit by car headlamps.
It has grown to be the largest outdoor theatrical event in North America and is a Western New York tradition attended by more than visitors from around the world.
An all-volunteer cast of about 750 and 150 staff and technical crew work to stage the production annually. Local service groups in the Palmyra and Manchester areas provide concessions during the pageant, and it serves as those groups’ largest fund-raiser.
The final Hill Cumorah Pageant will run July 8-10 and 13-17, 2021.