Great Passion Play closed, up for sale

Posted: December 4, 2012 at 11:13 a.m.

Special to the New York Times/STEPHEN B. THORNTON The 7 story tall Christ of the Ozarks towers above Eureka Springs on the grounds of The Great Passion Play complex.

Gates are shut at the Great Passion Play in Eureka Springs, and the Christ of the Ozarks statue no longer stays lit after dark.

The play closed after the final performance Oct. 27 and is up for sale, said John Cross, chairman of Cornerstone Bank in Eureka Springs.

Despite a call for donations this fall, the Elna M. Smith Foundation, which owns the play and the nearly 700-acre property, did not receive enough to reopen the play in the spring, Cross said. The statute goes dark at night to conserve electricity.

Cross said he is trying to interest another organization in reviving the Great Passion Play.

Executive Director Sam Ray said in October that the play was facing financial problems from declining ticket sales. Ray said the play had been seen by 7.5 million people.

The play's property is being foreclosed by Cornerstone Bank in Eureka Springs. The complex includes about 600 acres and attractions such as the Christ of the Ozarks statue, the Sacred Arts Exhibit and the Bible Museum, with more than 6,000 bibles.