Thursday, March 29, 2018

A Brief History of the Passion Play in Union City

(Image:  "La Pasion" 2018 presented at the Union City Performing Arts Center)

The original version of Passion Play to be performed in Union City was “Veronica’s Veil” which debuted in 1914 at the St. Joseph’s Parochial School Auditorium and played annually until 1999 when the school was rebuilt to become Veteran’s Memorial School.  Up to that point, “Veronica’s Veil” had been the longest running Passion Play in the US; the distinction later passed on to the production at The Park Theatre.

The production at the Park Theatre, now the longest running Passion Play in the United States has been performed in North Hudson, New Jersey since 1915 and at the Park Theatre since 1931.  The historic Park Theatre was built in 1931-1932 to house the local parish presentation of “The Passion Play”.  The play or musical is the story of Christ’s last days on earth, which has been performed in the parish since 1915. 

The Passion Play would draw thousands of people to Union City.  Buses would line the street dropping of persons wishing to witness the story.  With demographics changing in Union City and Hudson County, attendance dwindled.

The new Union City Performing Arts Center, a modern state-of-the-art 1,100-seat theatre located in the recently constructed Union City High School, which offers top-notch performances, responding to demands from a primarily Hispanic christian community decided to produce a Spanish language version.   This year the UCPAC will present a lavish new production of the Passion Play in Spanish.  This version will be presented annually.

(Image:  "La Pasion" 2018 presented at the Union City Performing Arts Center)

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