BOUNTIFUL -- A miracle has already unfolded in a musical drama about the life of Jesus Christ, even before opening night.
LaNae Hymas said her profoundly deaf and learning-disabled son has grown as a person and in understanding because of his involvement in the performance.
"For the first time in his life, he has been able to see the scenes of Christ acted out and been able to understand them," said the mother.
In honor of 36-year-old Korey, the choir performs with sign language for two of the songs in the production; and during a Saturday matinee the entire performance will be interpreted in sign language.
But Hymas said the production has been healing for her son in many other ways already.
She said her son hugs the cast members all the time.
"They hug him back, and it's been great that they got to feel his loving spirit," Hymas said.
The Layton East Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will perform the two-hour musical drama "Savior of the World" at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and April 20, and during a 2 p.m. matinee April 20 for audiences in the Bountiful Regional Center, 835 N. 400 East, in North Salt Lake.
The drama has been performed at Christmastime for a dozen years in the Salt Lake City Conference Center, but LDS Church officials have shared the drama with stakes throughout the world to allow them to perform the same script, officials said.
The drama depicts the birth, life and the resurrection of the Savior as told through the experiences of those around Him.
No tickets are required for the free performances.
People from any faith are invited to attend.
"This is not an LDS-exclusive production," said David Nolan, an actor who plays the part of Thomas the apostle in the drama. "It's all based right out of the Bible. Anyone would enjoy it."
Nolan said he has learned through his part that Thomas often is misunderstood.
"The other apostles saw Jesus," he said. "He desperately wanted to see Him again. That's what he was trying to do."
Nolan said he understands how Thomas must have felt.
"You would have had a bit of sorrow inside your heart," he said.
Nineteen-year-old Javan Fowler plays a shepherd and an angel.
Now waiting for his mission call, he said the production has put his own future into perspective.
"The shepherds are basically the first missionaries," Fowler said. "They saw Christ and proclaimed it to the world."
The soon-to-be-missionary said his participation has built his testimony.
"I definitely believe I will be able to serve better," he said. "To see it acted out in front of you, it is very powerful."
Fowler said he also believes the drama sends a message about his church that is important.
"Some people don't believe we are Christians. It shows that we are Christians."
This is the second time the Layton East Stake has taken on this project.
Five years ago, the stake put on the same drama with a few hundred people.
Grant Barton, who was called to produce the drama, said this time the production is so popular, there are two casts. With a few exceptions, most of the roles are double-cast and participants will perform in half of the performances.
There are 170 people in each cast.
A married couple, John and Dani Bale, play the roles of Mary's mother and father.
Having children who are preparing to be married in the next few years, the couple said watching Mary prepare for her role is inspiring.
"It's extremely emotional when she accepts Joseph's proposal," John Bale said. "I think how I would feel if she was the chosen one."
Dani Bale said her role has caused her to reflect upon what Mary had to go through to prepare for her experiences.
"It made me appreciate the kind of home she must have been brought up in," she said. "I think anyone who participates will leave feeling better."