The famed Hill Cumorah Pageant will not be performed this year for the final time.
The Pageant, which was slated to end in its 83rd year last year, was postponed for its final season to July 2021. However, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced that “due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hill Cumorah Pageant…has been canceled and will not be held in the future.”
In lieu of the July 2021 performances, the Church announced that it will instead broadcast the 2019 Hill Cumorah Pageant. The broadcast will commemorate the contributions of tens of thousands of volunteer participants through the years. The broadcast can be viewed beginning on July 9, 2021 on broadcasts.ChurchofJesusChrist.org. The video will be dubbed in Spanish and Portuguese. “It’s with a heavy heart that we don’t have the opportunity to continue to present the pageant,” said Neil Pitts, pageant president. “The pageant has had a long and successful run. The world is in a place today where we just cannot continue.
“Many, many lives have been blessed by this pageant. People in the cast, people on the staff, people in the audience who have come and watched it. Many people have gained a closer association with Jesus Christ having viewed the pageant. But, there will be many opportunities for people to come visit the historic sites. The spirit is still here and they can still come and feel the spirit of the place.”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which has hosted the pageant in Western New York annually since 1937, announced in October 2018 that it would end its flagship pageant in 2020 with several others around the country.
The Hill Cumorah Pageant evolved from a small production using car headlights to light the stage to a Western New York tradition. It was last performed in 2019 with a cast of 760 and 150 staff members, all volunteers from around the world, who came to New York to perform scenes from the Bible and Book of Mormon in the cradle of their faith. The Church was founded in Fayette on April 6, 1830.
“What a blessing to have worked in the pageant,” Pitts said. “(The cast and staff) are a community that is tied together in love. We will certainly miss the opportunity to be with our friends and family. The best thing about the pageant is the sense of community that is felt in putting on that production.”
The Visitors’ Center at the Hill Cumorah remains closed to visitors, though the outdoor sites in Palmyra and Manchester remain open for self-guided tours.
For updates on the status of Church visitor centers, please refer to https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/article/coronavirus-update.