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Mormon Miracle Pageant begins its 49th season


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MANTI — The small town of Manti is getting a population boost over the next several days as the Mormon Miracle Pageant begins its annual run Thursday evening.

Now in its 49th season, the pageant is performed eight nights in June.

Thousands of people come to watch as the early history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is portrayed on Temple Hill in Manti.

Mike Kohut has been in the cast 47 years in a row.

"It just takes us all," he said.

Kohut is one of nearly a thousand cast members involved this season.

Jane Braithwaite was there in the early years of the pageant, which began in 1967.

"It was tough to get it going and I could never have imagined there would be 900 in a cast," recalled Braithwaite.

The community event goes far beyond what is seen on the stage because everyone is a volunteer, from traffic control to those who set up 14,000 chairs.

"It has been a great tool to pull the community together. There is a job for every one of us," Braithwaite said.

The cast has been rehearsing for the past couple of weeks, including last night's dress rehearsal, to get ready for opening night.

"I have seen the pageant a ton of times when I was younger and now that I am older it is really cool to be in it and experience it a little bit," said CJ Whitby of Clearfield, whose grandparents live in Manti.

Whitby and Corbin Creery share the role of young Mormon founder Joseph Smith; Creery is a Smith family descendant.

"Hyrum Smith is my great-great-great-great-great grandfather," he said.

The Mormon Miracle Pageant, a story of faith and a community's heritage, is performed under the stars on the Manti LDS Temple grounds.

The Manti pageant begins Thursday and runs through Saturday, June 27, except for Sunday and Monday. The show begins at 9 p.m. and admission is free.

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Sam Penrod

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