Today I take you behind the scenes of the Sight and Sound Theater with Cynthia Carson, the General Manager of Sight and Sound in Branson, Missouri. Our family recently watched the production of Jesus and we loved it. I hope you enjoy today’s interview.
Behind the Scenes of the Sight and Sound Theater
If you’ve followed my blogs or social media, you know that our family LOVES Sight and Sound Theatre (https://www.sight-sound.com/) in Branson, Missouri. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Sight & Sound is known as the most famous Christian theater in the world. With two locations in Lancaster, PA and Branson, MO, each year sees some of the most amazing shows in existence. Known for productions such as Joseph, Noah the Musical, Miracle of Christmas, and Samson, Sight & Sound strives to make every experience memorable. The theater can seat 2,000 guests and boasts an astonishing 300-foot stage surrounding the audience from three sides, giving an immersive and spectacular experience!
By using special effects, a state-of-the-art sound and lighting system, beautiful backdrops, elaborate costumes, a cast of talented live actors, and even live animals, the theater creates an immersive experience. Visitors can even choose to purchase the show on DVD or take a gift home from the gift shop. Each theatrical production is painstakingly created, so a visit to this theater is sure to be a dazzling time.
The Goyers at Sight and Sound
Our family has been to numerous productions, and just a few weeks ago, we were able to see Jesus. We laughed, we cried, and we loved every minute of it. My children ages 11-18 say it’s their favorite thing to do in Branson, and I agree!
While we were there, I had the fantastic opportunity to interview Cynthia Carson. Cynthia is the General Manager of Branson’s Sight and Sound. I loved every minute with Cynthia, and you’ll love hearing how God has worked in unique ways through Cynthia’s work at Sight and Sound!
Behind the Scenes of the Sight and Sound Theater
Interview with Cynthia Carson
Tricia: Cynthia, thank you so much for letting me interview you today. I’d love to hear your personal story about how you came to Sight and Sound.
Cynthia: I’ve had the privilege of working in the tourism industry for many years in the early nineties, being a part of many of our theaters here: Tony Orlando, Wayne Newton, Jaco, and Smirnoff–having to do all the front house. But I was swayed away to go work for a bank. Then my two boys started working [for Sight and Sound] in 2007. We were building the facility, and [my boys are] artists, incredible artists. They had the opportunity to utilize the skills that God had given them.
So the boys were doing that, and they kept saying, “Mom, mom, you need to be over here. This is where God’s calling you.” I didn’t know if I wanted to go back into the entertainment industry. Yet God prompted me, “I’ve given you gifts. I want you to use them now.” I was using those gifts where I was, but I was there for a season.
As time went on, God did open the door for me to come work for Sight and Sound. That was the beginning of 2008. I helped them open and have had the privilege of being here and seeing these thirteen-plus years of growth with the theater. It’s amazing where God’s taken us in such a magnificent way. And even with the COVID year 2020, God opened up so many doors for us that we would have never thought possible.
Tricia: We watched one of the shows online, and we were so impressed by it. Because of the closer camera angles, we could see the emotion on the actors’ faces. Our hearts fell in love even more with Sight and Sound because of it.
Cynthia: When we launched into Sight and Sound TV, it was a big step. God opened those doors. We were able to air on TBN.
I remember in 2017 sitting with our leadership team asking, “How does God desire for us to grow? Then, not too long later, three and a half million people experienced a Sight and Sound production through television. If our calling is to present the gospel of Jesus Christ by what we do, it’s His business to take that story and use it. We want to be obedient and to use the gifts that God has given each of us.
Tricia: There were so many people talking online and excited about it. Now that the doors are open, I believe they’re going to want to come and see it in person. So how has the transition been in opening the doors back up?
Cynthia: Guests are embracing it, and that’s what’s exciting. We all need to be careful, but yes, the doors opened, and people welcomed it. They wanted to be here. The story of Jesus is so compelling. People are drawn to something … sometimes, I don’t even know if they know what they’re being drawn to, but the Holy Spirit does that.
The team’s dedication here to endure the hardship [of the last year] happened because the mission is so powerful. They all buy in. They all love it. I think each of our team members, whether you’re in our traffic team or concessions team or are a primary cast member on stage—everybody has a calling. We all try to do what God’s called each of us to do—to be the body of Christ. We were even talking with one of our gardeners. He gets to put flowers out because it’s for the greater mission.
A lot of our folks come from backgrounds of being in theater from all over the country. We even have fifteen children in our show this year, and five will be in each show. So even they get to have the opportunity to grow in ways that maybe they haven’t had the chance to before.
Tricia: I know. When we did the backstage tour before, going through the dressing rooms, Scripture Verses were posted on the mirrors. And just walking into this building, we can feel peace. You can tell that people love God—from the front house staff to the actors. And guests get to experience God’s love when they come in.
Cynthia: And that’s the goal. For all of us as believers to walk in witness. That’s our desire, and that takes work. And the desire for me as a leader. If I can have someone here working for just even a little while, and I help them grow, and they can go out and do mighty things for the Lord, wow.
Tricia: That’s amazing. I’d love to hear how these productions come to life.
Jesus Comes To Life
Cynthia: Jesus, the production, took over three and a half years of work before it even got on stage. Every story means something to somebody, but this is the most personal story I think for everybody. And I think the team knocked it out of the park. They said, “Jesus is a man. He walked on this earth. He built relationships. There was something different about this man that people noticed. It was truly a story of rescue. He made personal relationships with very flawed people.
We put the show on with excellence, but I think God works in mighty ways because it’s His Word, and we get to just put some drama to it. Yet, we also work to keep the show family-friendly, which is a challenge at times. In this production of Jesus, there is the crucifixion. It’s vivid but not graphic. We still want our families to come.
And the incredible thing with the story of Jesus, is we now have this big LED screen. We’re creating a depth unlike we’ve ever had. We will continue to show Jesus through this year and next. We know that God’s hand is in this and in bringing the people to see the show. And we’re thankful.
Tricia: Thank you, Cynthia, and I know our family is thankful to come and experience it!
Visit The Sight and Sound Theater
Every show is an epic experience with a meaningful message. Where edge-of-your-seat action meets heartfelt drama. Each production is intricately created — from the finely-stitched costumes to the grand staging of massive sets. Meticulous attention is given to every detail as they magnificently come together to transport you right into the heart of the story. Rich melodies and sweeping scores are a significant part of storytelling at Sight & Sound. Original music is composed and recorded using world-class orchestras from across the globe, while a cast of 50 professional actors and actresses sing every lyric live from the stage.
AN UNFORGETTABLE, UPLIFTING MESSAGE OF HOPE FOR EVERYONE
Sight & Sound’s entertainment is designed to be universally appealing — regardless of age, life experience or previous exposure to the Bible. As a family-owned, family-led company, our desire is to see families and friends come together for a shared experience that leaves them with a lifetime memory.
More Information Here: Sight and Sound Theater
Hope you enjoyed learning more about this wonderful theater experience.
susan koeppen says
We again visited sight and sound in Branson and as always thoroughly enjoyable experience. (Jesus) I was so interested in the 3 books in gift shop but didn’t have a chance to purchase. Where can I find link?