On Portraying Jesus

Ask any of the actors who have portrayed Jesus to describe the experience, and you will hear words such as “awe,” “appreciation,” “understanding,” and “fear.” The role in itself is awesome, and to play it is, according to fellow cast members, to define the intensity of the entire pageant.

Although most ordinary men feel somewhat unworthy of the role of Jesus Christ, their work in making the story of his death and resurrection become real to the cast and audience is what makes the Easter Triumph the moving and inspirational pageant it has become.

 “One year as I was getting on the cross, it fell over. It wasn’t anything serious, but these things happen. The hardest thing [about playing Jesus] was knowing what to do. Here you’re portraying someone who’s perfect.” Alfred Boemer (Jesus 1968-1971, 1975)

 “The most peaceful scene to me is with Mary Magdalene. It is near the end and the straining roles are over. Playing Jesus is an awesome role and I feel very unworthy doing it, but I want to do the best I can.” Don Arldt (Jesus 1979-1980, 1989, 1997-1999)

 “Playing Jesus has made me appreciate what He did for us. My favorite scene is with Jesus and Peter—Feed my sheep. It was a moving scene. It shows the close relationship between Jesus and Peter.” Barry Samsel (Jesus 1991-1992)

Actors Who Have Portrayed Jesus 

Ted H. Knippa 1959-1966

Walter Headley 1967

Alfred Boemer 1968-1971, 1975

Don Hilsberg 1972-1973

Lawrence Kohler 1974

Greg Phillips 1976

Bill Krueger 1977

Dennis Crow 1978

Don Arldt 1979-1980, 1989,


Ralph Caroll 1981-1982

Jay Starnes 1983-1984

Randy Scheer 1985-1986, 1990

David Merritt 1987-1988

Barry Samsel 1991-1992

Jeffrey Svoboda 1993-1996

Ken Loveday 2000

Joe Keller 2001-2004, 2008-2009 Benjamin Arldt 2005-2008,


Edward Baumann 2010-2011

David Brown 2012-Present

ET 2.jpg