The epic Biblical story, Moses, from Sight & Sound Theatres is now available on DVD and Digital HD. The live stage production has been seen by nearly two million people and now you can watch it in your own home.
We caught up with Josh Enck, Executive Producer of the show and President/Chief Creative Officer of Sight & Sound, to learn more about why Moses is so relevant now and the quality of the show.
Interviewed exclusively for Risen Magazine
Risen Magazine: Sight and Sound has been around for 42 years. How do you pick what stories you’re going to tell on stage?
Josh Enck: I think we’ve had around 28 original stage productions. We do everything in house except for the actual recording of the music, we’ll use an orchestra outside of the house. But 99% of what we do here is original, and it’s produced in house. And we’ve been able to bless, we think over 14 million people in this 42 years.
We obviously don’t take the selection process lightly. We believe that the Lord selects the show, and we have to have ears to hear, and eyes to see which show He wants us to produce because each of these stories has a potent message meant for audiences of today. And then right along with that, we’re a 300-foot wrap around stage, with state of the art technology, the world’s largest flying LED screen instead of painted backdrops, 55-plus professional cast members, and live animals. So we think about shows that can really exercise and showcase what we have in this place. While it’s secondary to story, it also is important because we want to be able to take people on an adventure, and take them back in time, and have the Bible come to life all around them.
RM: All the shows are original and on massive scale when it comes to the set, special effects and even live animals… how is this accomplished?
JE: It takes 650 employees, three-and-a-half years, and roughly $6-8 million to produce a Sight and Sound show. The first year is, what’s the heart of the story? What is the reason that we want to tell this story? For example, the current show, Jesus, at the Strasburg stage, that could have been endless in its themes and angles. But in producing and directing that show, I chose not to go down any kind of a history lesson, or political or theological proving platform, but simply to show love that rescues. So that whole script was written around love that rescues. And so, that will take about a year to get that idea and then get some structure as far as an outline around that idea. Then the second year of production goes into the design phase, where we’re designing the costumes, and sets, and music, and putting some meat on the bone. Engineering, because we build all the sets in house. And then the third year of it is building it. Building the sets, building the costumes, building the props, building the music, and then the half a year is the rehearsal period. So it’s a three-and-a-half year process from start to finish.
RM: But why do you think right now is such an important time to tell the story of Moses?
JE: Oftentimes people will look at the story of Moses and think of only a few events in his life. They’ll think of him on top of the mountain with the ten commandments. But when you dig deeper into that story, you see that it’s a story of second chances. Then all of a sudden it becomes tangible for people to be able to relate to. So, what we did in act one of that show, is we established this young, talented, off the charts special and unique guy who grew up in the courts of Egypt. All of a sudden he had these convictions of the God of his ancestors willingly leave all the wealth and riches behind in order to serve and be alongside the Jewish people. And so, by making that choice, he was still being kind of the hero on a white horse showing up and saying, I’ve been trained by Egypt, I know all these languages, I can help you guys get out of here.
But he put the cart before the horse. And there’s pride. And so, when he killed the guard, what he was doing was taking matters into his own hands. He wasn’t relying on the God of his ancestors, his God, to help him through it. So, where does he find himself? He finds himself in the wilderness for 40 years. So now we’re talking about a middle-aged guy in a midlife crisis, thinking he was doing the right thing, taking matters into his own hands, and it turning completely around on him, and unraveling to the point where he’s now a stranger in a strange land living as a shepherd out in the far hills. Not what a young Egyptian prince ever thought he would be doing. But it was during that season of his life, that wilderness desert season of being a shepherd, where he learned of the love of the great shepherd, God, and he became close to understanding fully who God is to him.
And then that’s when God spoke to him through the burning bush and said, look, you thought your life is over because you killed that guy, and you’ve been running away ever since. Well, now you’re at a place where I can finally use you for the big purposes that I always had destined for you, Moses. Go and return my people to me. And then he does. So, it’s a story of maturation in being a man and as a believer. And then when things don’t go well, after he tries to rescue them, he learns so much more about who he is, and who he’s not. And God performs powerful miracles to partner with Moses in that. So for today, I think people need to realize that they in, and of, themselves and by themselves, they cannot achieve the heights of what their dreams and visions are by just working harder or trying to be that person. If they are following the voice of God, they will find that the abundant life that God had for them might look a lot different, but it’s a lot greater. The theme song in the show is Something Greater Than Me. And that’s the message for this selfie generation.
RM: This isn’t the first show that you’ve provided on these formats, what goes into the decision to make your shows more tangible for audiences?
JE: Well, Sight and Sound Theaters is not your typical live stage musical production, like a Broadway style show. These shows are very cinematic. Even down to kind of the widescreen perspective having a 300-foot wrap around stage, with a 30 foot trim, it’s kind of like watching a widescreen movie. The way it’s scripted, and even the way it’s scored, is very cinematic in nature. So when we decided to start shooting all of these shows with multiple cameras, it translated almost seamlessly to the movie screen. It was just a natural evolution of that product. What we’re excited about, is being a 2,070-seat theater here in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and a 2,070-seat theater in Branson, Missouri, we know that most of the people who would want to see this show physically don’t, or can’t, because they’re in all parts of the world. Not just the nation, but we get people all over the world. And so, by presenting it on the screen, we’re bringing Sight and Sound to them. And although the live, immersive experience is compromised a little bit, what’s magnified is how personal we get with these characters. That is something that actually is better on the screen than on the stage. You get all the emotion, and the reactions, and expressions. Now, to be able to download the show from iTunes and Amazon, or we sell the DVDs on our website and here at the theater, it has become our number one retail item. And it’s great because it’s preaching Gospel. It’s what we’re meant to do as an evangelist.