MORE than 50,000 persons are being anticipated for this year's staging of the Father Ho Lung and Friends musical, The Messiah.
The production will be staged at the National Arena in St Andrew over two weekends: September 29-30 and October 6-7. There will also be special school shows on September 27 and 28 and October 4 and 5.
Speaking at a press conference to launch this year's production, founder of the Missionaries of the Poor, Father Richard Ho Lung noted that this year was indeed special as it marks 41 years of his involvement in theatrical productions to raise funds for the poor and destitute in the country.
"This year, The Messiah is breaking new ground with special effects like Jamaica has never seen before. It, this Jamaica 50 production, is dedicated to this nation and truly reflects Jamaica in its true colours," Father Ho Lung noted.
Director of this year's production Greg Thames explained that The Messiah is a production which looks at the life of Christ, but from a different perspective.
"A few years ago we staged Jesus 2000 and this year's production, The Messiah is similar. We are looking at the life and work of Christ through the eyes of Joseph of Arimathea, who was a Pharisee before his conversion. So that's the interesting point of view, looking on through the eyes of a convert," said Thames.
And what are his biggest challenges?
"Managing a cast of 70-80 persons and then mounting the production in a space that is not a theatre but has to become one for two weekends. But so far, everything is coming along very well," Thames adds.
Over the years Father Ho Lung and his Missionaries of the Pooor have raised millions of dollars for various charities through the staging of musical productions.
Last year, the group stages Acts of the Apostles, which was nominated for a total of 11 Actor Boy Awards, which recognises excellence in Jamaican theatre. The musical won six trophies including Best Costume, Best Choreography, Best Special Effects and Best Musical.