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SIGHT & SOUND --- A Family Vision

What began over 25 years ago as a simple slide show set to music generated from an old turntable has since grown into one of the largest tourist attractions in Pennsylvania.

Sight & Sound Theatres, located just outside the town of Strasburg, welcomed over 900,000 visitors in 2002. This impressive figure is largely attributed to the premiere last year of their newest epic, DANIEL - A DREAM, A DEN, A DELIVERER. Glenn Eshelman, Sight & Sound's co-owner and producer, never dreamed the vision he had so long ago would result in a production of this magnitude.

Born and raised in Lancaster County, Glenn developed his artistic gifts by sketching and eventually taking up the brush and painting landscapes. He became interested in photography when he wanted to accurately depict scenes he was asked to paint.

Glenn and his wife Shirley began producing multimedia shows and in 1975 rented the auditorium at Lancaster Bible College for ten weeks, presenting their "Wonder of It All" show to about 30,000 people. They then purchased three acres of land along Route 896 in Strasburg, and by July 1976, their Sight & Sound Auditorium opened with a combination slide, film, and "living water" fountain spectacular. Live actors were eventually added in 1987 and BEHOLD THE LAMB became their first full-length live stage production. With growing popularity and crowds, it was time for a larger facility to be built nearby. The new theater opened in March, 1991.

As the productions grew, the shows became a true family affair. The Eshelman's four daughters and other family members became part of the shows. With Shirley's administrative skills and Glenn's creative gifts, the idea evolved for an unprecedented Biblical stage production. After a visit with daughter Amy to the Pennsylvania Farm Show, Glenn conceived the basic outline of what would become NOAH.

"I got my pencil and paper out and started to draw. Within a couple hours, I drew and laid out the entire show in thumbnail sketches. It all happened so fast, I could hardly write fast enough," Glenn recalled.

After tremendous acclaim and over 700,000 visitors between 1995-1996, tragedy struck when a fire destroyed the theatre in January, 1997. After much prayer and consideration by the Sight & Sound staff, the decision was made to continue the vision and construct a new, larger facility. The 2,000-seat Millennium Theatre opened in 1998 with a new NOAH, updated with additional music and even more spectacular sets. The 300-foot wrap-around stage, amazing three-story high interior ark filled with seemingly hundreds of real and animatronic animals, produced awe and applause at every show. After such a monumental production, the question became "What story will be next?"

Glenn started to consider a production based on the life of Daniel while NOAH was still in development. Miraculously, during the fire, the clay model and sketches of the lion's den had escaped the "fiery furnace" when the theatre was destroyed. After five years in production, the show is larger than any previous Sight & Sound undertaking. It requires a cast and technical crew of 80 people from 17 states, over 1,000 costumes, 13 on-location film shoots, 35 live animals, and 33 amazingly lifelike animatronic "cats." The stage becomes a magnificent setting for life-sized palaces, a 40-foot statue of gold, a fiery furnace, a den of lions and even helicopters that fly in for the battle of Armageddon.

By the end of its first season, over 640,000 people had already experienced DANIEL. Visitors to Lancaster should not miss the opportunity to take the entire family to see this spectacular production. It plays through October 25, 2003, after which the annual Christmas production returns to the stage. In the smaller Living Waters Theatre, visitors can also experience the memorable ABRAHAM & SARAH: A JOURNEY OF LOVE.

With the huge stage, and more technology and special effects than several Broadway shows combined, Sight & Sound shows unite great entertainment with inspirational storytelling. And Glenn is always thinking about the next show, although NOAH will be coming back for an encore presentation next year. "Will we ever run out of stories? No. I'm going to continue to take the word of God and take those stories and bring them alive. I want to remain sharp and on the cutting edge, hearing from the Lord how He wants us to do the next one."

July, 2003

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