Holy Week play marks 25th year
The story ends with betrayal and defeat: Judas kissing Jesus, and Jesus walking out of the garden to be arrested.
To draw people into the story of Christ’s journey, every year Hosanna Lutheran Church presents “The Last Supper of Jesus Christ” three times during the week before Easter.
This year’s performances will be at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 26, Wednesday, March 27, and Thursday, March 28. Hosanna is located at 9300 Scandia Trail N. in Forest Lake.
There is no admission fee, but a freewill offering will be collected each evening.
The play has an all-male cast of 12 disciples and Jesus. The narrator is traditionally a woman.
There is special music before the start of the show, and the audience joins the cast in singing at the end.
One song from the opera “Jesus Christ, Superstar” is included in the service. Hosanna choir director Charlie Ollmann sings “Heaven on Their Minds.”
Director Wes McDonald said the final song was written by Herb Brokering, a Lutheran pastor, author and lyricist who used to visit Hosanna in the 1980s.
Hundreds of people attend each year, from 100 to 150 on Tuesday and Wednesday, to about 200 on Thursday. Many families have made it a tradition to see this moving show every Holy Week.
McDonald has long been part of local theatre productions. He also plays the role of Jesus.
McDonald said the cast is very stable from year to year, partly because of an unwritten rule that each actor owns his role as long as he wants it.
“It’s your part until you give it away,” McDonald said. When an actor decides to retire a role, then the search begins for a new person to take on that part.
Hosanna will celebrate 25 years by inviting former cast members to attend the Thursday show.
The cast includes Gene Janicke as Peter and Matt Merrell as John. Corey Mathison plays Thomas, Andy Wachholz is Matthew, and Grant Taylor protrays Judas. Carna Brandt is the narrator.
In addition to the Holy Week play, during Lent Hosanna holds Wednesday evening meals at 4:45 p.m., followed by worship at 7 p.m. For people who need assistance, the church provides the meals free of charge.
On Easter Sunday, March 31, the church will also serve a breakfast, with free-will offering, to raise money for youth camp, mission trips and retreats.