It's one of the biggest productions off the Strip, and this year, there will be more chances to see it.
The Las Vegas Redrock Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints plans "The Nativity," a live production, Dec. 8 through 10 and Dec. 15 through 17 at Opportunity Village's Ralph & Betty Engelstad Campus, 6050 S. Buffalo Drive.
Last year was the first time the production had been done in a couple of years. The public responded by showing up in droves, filling the 1,000 seats for each show.
Karen Thomas, producer, said at least 100 people were turned away at each show.
"And that was after asking everyone to sit a little closer to their neighbor than they normally would," she said. "We re invented airplane seating."
This time, people can go to thenativitylv.com to reserve seats. If not claimed 20 minutes before the performance, the reservation is forfeited.
There is no charge for the shows.
Last year saw seven performances. This time, 16 are planned.
Also new this year, two of the shows -- at 6 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8 -- will be done in Spanish.
Other times are 6, 7:30 and 9 p.m. on Dec. 9, 10, 16 and 17. Dec. 15 will have shows at 6 and 7:30 p.m., but that date will not have a 9 p.m. show.
The same cast members plan to return, eliminating the need for weeks of rehearsals. Kam Brian, who plays Joseph, said only four rehearsals are planned.
His wife, Katherine, repeats her role as Mary.
"It's really natural, having a married couple play a husband and wife," Kam said. "I think it's that much more realistic."
The cast totals about 100, and there are 50 behind-the-scenes roles. It takes about 300 volunteers to put on the production, said Steve Thomas, chairman of the activities campaign. That number includes workers from companies such as Par 3, a landscaping company that brought in heavy machinery to place large potted plants.
No Nativity scene is complete without animals. The production has lambs, burros, horses and roosters. Boys age 16 and 17 will work along side the animal handlers.
"We let them learn how to be sheep handlers," Thomas said. "They get to be tough. Playing Nintendo isn't tough; this is tough."
What couldn't be donated or provided as in-kind gifts, individuals in the congregation stepped up to personally cover the cost.
If everything had to be paid for -- bleachers, costumes, security -- Thomas estimated expenses would add up to $18,000.
The LDS church formerly presented the live performance beginning in 1990 at the Las Vegas Nevada Stake Center, 3400 W. Charleston Blvd. It became an annual tradition, but as it grew, parking became an issue.
For 2009, the live Nativity was not displayed. The Redrock Stake, 10550 W. Alta Drive, stepped forward to take on the responsibility for it in 2010. It revamped the production with new costumes and sets.
The bleachers face away from the Strip, allowing the mountains of Red Rock Canyon to be the backdrop. The music features the Mormon Tabernacle choir.
Thomas said the show was to remind people of why they celebrate Christmas.
"We want this to be about Christ and not about presents or where to go on that ski vacation," he said.
Contact Summerlin/Summerlin South View reporter Jan Hogan at email@example.com or 387-2949.