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‘Job of my dreams’: Klessig performs as Mary

Hope Klessig performing as Mary in the Miracle of Christmas for Sight & Sound Theatres in Lancaster, Pa. The Brillion native says performing for the company is the job of her dreams. (Sight & Sound Theatres photo)

Dec. 30, 2023

By David Nordby

The Brillion News

The full article appears in the Dec. 28, 2023, print edition of The Brillion News.

Hope Klessig has taken the stage for a lot of performances in her life to sing, dance and act.

None have been more important than performing as Mary in the Miracle of Christmas throughout November and December.

“This is definitely the biggest role I’ve played at Sight & Sound, and the most important one by my standards in my career,” Klessig said.

Klessig, 26, a 2016 Brillion High School graduate, is in her third year working for Sight & Sound Theatres, an entertainment company that brings stories from the Bible to the stage. 

The Miracle of Christmas production performed in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania has been seen by viewers from all 50 states and more than 45 countries. The show opened on Nov. 3 and closes on Dec. 30 with 11 shows each week.

The story takes the audience to Bethlehem alongside Mary (Klessig) and Joseph (Jonathan Blair), a flock of surprised shepherds, and three wisemen with their camels. Hundreds of people are a part of the show including production.

“For years it was a goal of mine to be able to perform at Sight & Sound, and I’m so thankful that the Lord blessed me with the job of my dreams,” Klessig said.

Klessig was called back early this year to audition for the roles of Mary and the Inn Keeper’s wife, Anna. She received an audition package for both characters which included multiple songs and scenes. Klessig had two weeks to prepare the materials then audition in May.

“I found out I got the role in July, and I couldn’t believe it,” Klessig said. “I was so excited and so grateful.”

Each role is cast three people deep. Klessig is the primary Mary with an understudy Mary and a backup Mary behind her. It is the first primary role for Klessig performing for Sight & Sound.

She performs eight shows a week in the primary role as Mary, her understudy does two and her backup does one.

The birth of Jesus Christ is at the center of the story of Christmas, and Klessig’s faith shines through.

“My belief in God is the reason I do what I do,” Klessig said.

Sight & Sound Theatres was formed in 1976 and brings stories from the Bible to life sharing the gospel with millions of people each year. The group employs hundreds and has one theater in Ronks, Pa. outside of Lancaster and one in Branson, Mo.

“It’s a privilege to be a part of a ministry that’s so much bigger than myself,” Klessig said.

“Working here has challenged me to dive deeper into the Bible and my relationship with Jesus. The Lord has been so kind to allow me to play the role of Mary and I’ve learned even more about Him through it.”

As Mary, Klessig is on stage nearly the entire two-hour show.

“The most challenging part is probably the stamina that this role requires,” she said. “There is about a 30-minute segment where she goes from scene to scene without a break meeting with different characters, singing, running the length of the stage, doing costume quick changes, running backstages, grabbing a donkey and entering through the audience.

“It’s always a joy but it’s definitely a challenge,” Klessig said.

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