Gateway Gazette

Jesus Sings and Acts His Way into the Hearts of Passion Play Audiences

Veteran theatre actor & singer Aaron Krogman tells the Passion Play story through song and dialogue.

Photo Credit: Ron Nickel

Drumheller, Alberta –”The Canadian Badlands Passion is consistently evolving and adapting,” says Vance Neudorf, Executive Director of The Badlands AMP.  “In our 26th season, we decided to inject the play with a fresh and authentic approach with heightened singing and musical components incorporating 14 original songs supported by 15 live musicians and a conductor.  Calgary’s Barrett Hileman wrote the songs and script while Millet, AB musician Luke Ertman composed the songs. Overall, approximately 75 percent of the plays dialogue is communicated in song.”

Aaron Krogman who has played the role of Jesus previously knows about the physical demands of acting in a two-hour production that encompasses interacting with as many as 100 people.  This year, the additional challenge of singing and acting for three consecutive days on weekends over three weeks in July will test his mettle to the maximum.

Neudorf explains, “Krogman is a talented stage actor and musician who can sing.  In fact, he sings the parables, when he teaches his disciples, his sermon on the mount and even when he carries his cross up the mountain terrain. This is very powerful story telling that will connect with audiences.”


 Photo Credit: Ron Nickel

Krogman agrees and feels the musical format is better suited to his role as Jesus.

“When I first started with the Simon Peter version of this play, the challenge was to make my role as Jesus large enough to reach out to an outdoor audience of more than 2600 people. You can only do so much with your words and your physical frame, but with the musical version, to me it feels like every gesture that I make is magnified and every word that I sing is directed to the heart and soul of each audience member. As an actor and singer, that is both empowering and humbling at the same time. You are intimately aware that each small nuance you create will have an impact on the audience.”

“The musical format on a stage this large is like the movie camera zooming in for a close-up.  The audience is immediately connected with the motives and emotions of the singer/actor. This new format is a perfect match with the natural acoustics of the Badlands AMP.”

To view rehearsal videos of Aaron Krogman and other singers, please go www.badlandsamp.com and click on the available videos.

Adds Neudorf, “As Jesus teaches his followers, tells them stories, and changes their view of the world around them under the ruling powers that oppress them, he uses song to capture their minds while grabbing the hearts of Passion Play audiences.

“He sings about finding lost sheep and lost children and returning them home. He sings about celebration in the light of political and religious oppression that he faces. He sings about suffering and struggle and finding a way to put body and mind to rest in the middle of tumultuous times. He sings about feeling alone and literally bearing his cross as he makes his way to his death.”

The 2019 Badlands Passion Play is performed at Badlands AMP, Canada’s largest outdoor theatre stage over three weekends in July.  

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            Photo Credit Vance Neudorf

The natural acoustics of the Badlands AMP have also caught the ear of concert goers and the Canadian Icons concert series is gaining new fans with each passing year. Now in its 6th season the lineup this year features Jann Arden, Nuela Charles, The Static Shift and Walk Off The Earth.

More information is available at www.badlandsamp.com where tickets can be purchased on line.

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