In 1959 the Easter Triumph pageant became the first staged play at the newly built Palmer Auditorium. The original script, written and directed by Pastor Robert Clausen in 1952 in Indianapolis, Indiana, has been adapted over the decades for the growing cast and more complex production.
To continue this long tradition on such a large scale with only volunteer cast members and donations was no small task. The annual budget of the production has grown from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. Because the pageant has always been considered a gift to the city of Austin from the cast and crew, there has never been an admission charge. The pageant is paid for primarily through gifts from the Lutheran Churches Missouri Synod in Austin and through gifts given by the audience in appreciation for this moving production.
One of the moments many cast members remember with awe is the first time the actor portraying Jesus actually ascended into the sky courtesy of the mechanical lift and a cloud machine. This scene is the overwhelming favorite of the cast as well as audiences as the moment that Jesus joins His Father in heaven. Those who witness this triumphant end to the pageant all feel as though they are there.
Although the props and sets have become more sophisticated, the costumes more elaborate, and the music and narration more clear and well amplified, the message of the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ has stayed the same since the pageant’s beginning decades ago.