Passion Play Fans Rejoice: Fund Drive Will Keep It Going

The Great Passion Play in Eureaka Springs, which faced foreclosure last fall, is back up and running after a successful fundraising campaign led by a Gospel radio ministry in Oklahoma, according to the Lovely County Citizen newspaper:

According to the Rev. Randall Christy of the Gospel Station Network of Ada, Okla., the race against the deadline was tight because, although more than the $75,000 required to pay off interest on the Play's mortgage was raised ahead of the Wednesday afternoon deadline, some funds had only been pledged at that point, and the full amount in cash was necessary to meet the bank's requirements.

"The bank has assured us they will continue to work with us, as we will them," Christy said Wednesday night. "The Passion Play is definitely going to open for the season."

In September, the play's executive director, Sam Ray, said the nonprofit tourist draw needed about $500,000 to keep the doors open. In December, the Citizen cited several anonymous sources that said the play owed on a $1.2 million note and couldn't "afford the mortgage payments."

Ray had said tourism dipped during tough economic times, leading to the cash crunch.

The play portrays the last few days of Jesus Christ's life with a dramatic cast and live donkeys, camel and sheep. Its grounds also include a portion of the Berlin Wall and the 65-ft. Christ of the Ozarks statue, built in 1966.

More: Bill Bowden has this report today in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

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