Review: Sight and Sound’s Epic “Daniel” is Biggest, Best Yet

Review: Sight and Sound’s Epic “Daniel” is Biggest, Best Yet March 26, 2024

The new biblical stage musical “Daniel,” which premiered this month at Sight and Sound Theaters in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, is nothing short of spectacular; it’s a colossal masterpiece that immerses you in the heart of the popular biblical story. From the moment the curtains rise, you’re transported into a world of divine intervention and faith, on a backdrop of skilled performers and breathtaking special effects.

Image from “Daniel” courtesy of Sight and Sound Theaters

I’ve seen numerous Sight and Sound productions in Lancaster such as “Samson,” “Jesus” and “Queen Esther” and all the shows got progressively bigger and better. But “Daniel” is a new level. To me, it stands out as the most epic so far. There are 830 costumes, 16 LED screens, and more on set movement than in any past production. Everything comes together to showcase one of the most intricate stories of the Bible. Not only does it recount the trials of Daniel, but it also weaves in his contemporaries Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, as well as prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel.

There are also show-stopping musical numbers that resonate long after the curtains fall. Songs include “In the Fire,” “Where You Are” and “Heart Cries” are heartfelt and catchy accompanied by moments of divine intervention. I was moved to tears, unable to contain the emotion produced by the power and glory of God rescuing His faithful servants.

The special effects are breathtaking. From the awe-inspiring appearance of Jesus appearing in the furnace to the remarkably realistic depiction of the lion’s den, every moment feels like a glimpse into the divine. The attention to detail is unmistakable in every aspect of the production, from the exquisite props to the mesmerizing dream sequences.

On one of my first trips to the theater, during a backstage visit with the crew, we were told how the show creators put a show together and then present it to the craftsmen to make it happen. They gladly accept the challenge, trying to meet high expectations and outdo themselves at every turn. With this production, that spirit of excellence is on full display. How do make a realistic and harrowing den of lions? You need to see it. It’s extraordinary.

One of the most impressive aspects of “Daniel” is how Sight and Sound utilizes technology to enhance the storytelling experience. The video backdrops are seamlessly integrated into the narrative, transporting the audience to ancient Babylon with stunning realism. Whether it’s Nebuchadnezzar’s boat ride through the city or the towering idols that dominate the skyline, every scene is brought to life with astonishing detail.

Still, the heart of the story remains focused on Daniel’s unwavering faith and refusal to compromise his beliefs. It’s a powerful reminder of the importance of standing firm in the face of temptation and adversity, a message that resonates deeply with audiences of all ages. As the production closes, the final moments show that this production wants to leave more of an eternal impact. Prayer counselors gather at the front of the auditorium available to pray with those who were moved by the truth of the story. With Daniel’s strength to resist compromise, someone might be prompted to examine their own heart and determine to live more boldly themselves.

“Daniel,” running until Dec. 31, 2024, at Sight and Sound Theaters in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, is a triumph of storytelling and spectacle. It’s an epic production that surpasses all expectations, leaving audiences spellbound from beginning to end. If you have the opportunity to experience it for yourself, don’t hesitate. 

Watch a scene from Daniel after the deliverance of the three Hebrew men below. 

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