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Great Passion Play closed, up for sale

By Brenda Bernet

This article was published December 4, 2012 at 11:13 a.m.

special-to-the-new-york-timesstephen-b-thornton-the-7-story-tall-christ-of-the-ozarks-towers-above-eureka-springs-on-the-grounds-of-the-great-passion-play-complex

Special to the New York Times/STEPHEN B. THORNTON The 7 story tall Christ of the Ozarks towers above Eureka Springs on the grounds of The Great Passion Play complex.

Gates are shut at the Great Passion Play in Eureka Springs, and the Christ of the Ozarks statue no longer stays lit after dark.

The play closed after the final performance Oct. 27 and is up for sale, said John Cross, chairman of Cornerstone Bank in Eureka Springs.

Despite a call for donations this fall, the Elna M. Smith Foundation, which owns the play and the nearly 700-acre property, did not receive enough to reopen the play in the spring, Cross said. The statute goes dark at night to conserve electricity.

Cross said he is trying to interest another organization in reviving the Great Passion Play.

Executive Director Sam Ray said in October that the play was facing financial problems from declining ticket sales. Ray said the play had been seen by 7.5 million people.

The play's property is being foreclosed by Cornerstone Bank in Eureka Springs. The complex includes about 600 acres and attractions such as the Christ of the Ozarks statue, the Sacred Arts Exhibit and the Bible Museum, with more than 6,000 bibles.

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Displaying 1 - 7 of 7 total comments

qbyford says... December 4, 2012 at 11:46 a.m.

This is soo sad another Arkansas icon gone, hate to see that happening, we loved going there.

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RBBryant says... December 4, 2012 at 12:28 p.m.

I'm so very sorry to learn this... I saw the play for the first time just last year & loved it. It's also a really beautiful place.

( | suggest removal )

rainbowharold55 says... December 4, 2012 at 1:09 p.m.

Evicting Jesus...wonder what that does for your karma?

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YoungHog says... December 4, 2012 at 1:20 p.m.

sad..

whats the asking price?

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Kangaroo says... December 4, 2012 at 1:20 p.m.

@rainbowharold55 -- Considering that karma has nothing to do with Christianity, the eviction will not affect anyone other than the owners of the property.

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HisAngel says... December 4, 2012 at 2:02 p.m.

I love that place and was looking forward to taking my son for his first time this Spring. I went when i was a child and have been at least 3 other times. My son is 11 and i am now 50. How sad! Perhaps the right group or person will buy and liven it up again!! And as for Karma, you could say, "What we sow, we reap", and that has much to do with Christianity.

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malice06220956 says... December 4, 2012 at 11:54 p.m.

I'm glad to see this go under - the foundation that founded the Passion Play is Christian-In-Name-Only. Gerald Smith used money to spread Anti-Semetism. For that reason, I was never allowed to attend the play when I was a child or a teen.

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