ORANGE PARK – Former Miss America Runner-Up Kelly Garver Nieto, a successful musician and artist who opened for acts such as Garth Brooks and Willie Nelson, has announced the first dates for the 2016 Lenten tour of the international, award-nominated production. The Cross and the Light opens in Orange Park, FL the weekend of March 3, 4, 5, and 6, 2016 for six shows at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church. Now in its fifth season, the production is a larger-than-life, multi-sensory experience centered on Christ’s Passion through Pentecost. The ‘rock-your-faith’ musical first opened in Detroit’s Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in 2011.
Uniquely, the production uses Environmental Projection technology to project incredible video imagery onto the walls of the church, 150 foot wide by 30 foot tall. This performance will reach thousands in our local community! “We’re incredibly excited and humbled to host this amazing production,” notes Fr. Ignatius Plathanam, CMI, pastor of St. Catherine. “Through God’s grace we’re offering a dynamic performance to bring youth and many groups throughout Clay County and the Diocese of St. Augustine to experience Christ’s passion in a completely new way—it’s the perfect event for Lent this year.”
Upon consecutive 3-week runs with multiple sold out shows and a total attendance of over 22,000 in 2011 and 2012, The Cross and the Light opened at Detroit’s famed Music Hall in 2013, where it was met with unexpected praise from secular reviewers and eventually nominated for a coveted Wilde award.
“It’s Les Miserable in Jerusalem!” exclaimed nationally syndicated talk show host and author Teresa Tomeo upon seeing the performance. Tomeo was one of several high-profile audience members who came from across the country to witness the Broadway-caliber production highlighting the most important parts of Christ’s ministry. “We wanted to create a musical adaptation that could transform hearts and minds during Lent by making the Passion and Pentecost something that could capture the audience’s imagination and touch their hearts,” says Nieto. “What’s truly amazing is the response we received.”
“This is a whole new style of ministry for the Church,” says the production’s creator, Kelly Garver Nieto, an acclaimed performer, who herself opened for Garth Brooks, Willie Nelson and many more acts across the country before converting to Catholicism. This will be a major family friendly and community event that will immerse participants into Jesus’ story of love and has proven to affect audiences through an amazing audio/visual sensory experience. “This is what is meant by an ENCOUNTER. We saw over 1,000 youth in awe and amazement upon experiencing this story during past runs” Nieto says. Though the presentation is religious, the state of the art technology and Broadway caliber performers make this production a cultural experience for all people. Nieto encourages people of all faiths to see the production. “This is certainly a sacred tradition in the lives of Catholics all over the world. But this musical transcends to non-Catholics and non-believers alike,” she said. “It’s a form of entertainment in the way the movie The Passion of the Christ with Mel Gibson was.”
Tickets are available online and discounts are available for groups of all sizes with February purchases.
Those interested in learning more can visit http://www.stcatherineop.com/the-cross-and-the-light/