The first time I attended "Why Must He Die?" was about 22 or 23 years ago at the Methodist Church in Coraopolis. I have not attended every year since then but I have definitely attended most of the years since then. I have actually purchased 2 DVDs of the presentation. I am really going to miss seeing it in person. Good Luck to you in all you do. You have really been a blessing to me and many , many more people over the years.

Thank you!
Barb Quigley
St. Joseph Church, Coraopolis

Hello Mrs. Wallace!

I hope you're doing well, I can't believe this is the final year of Passion Play, I was so surprised receiving this email. Either way, I hope it is a fantastic year and that people will remember it's message for years to come.

My comment on Passion Play would have to be that I was never part of such a moving performance in my life. It offered me one of the best real life musical experiences ever while still being able to worship at every show. It's one of the best ways to celebrate the easter season for those in it and those watching. It'll be hard to think of my life without it. I played the Woman of Blood and Liturgical Dancer, and I currently live in Wooster, Ohio where I'm a student at the College of Wooster.

It was nice to hear from you! Have a great last year, I know my mom and I will be coming to at least one show if not more, so I'll see you then!

-Hannah Gaul

Hi Mrs Wallace,

I never thought I'd see the day when the last passion play would be upon us but since it is, thinking back I believe I was there from 2004-2008 started as the guard, went to John and then Pilate. Currently I am working a consultant for the national fraternity of Kappa Delta Rho.

I will be in town on the Good Friday show at noon, and possibly the very last one as well depending on some logistics on my end. Listen carefully, you might just hear me sing along!


Mrs. Walace,

For the 1999-2000 season I had a blast. Performing the part of Jesus was an experience I will never forget. During my time, I met a lot of wonderful people and made many memories that will stay with me for a lifetime. I wish I could attend one of these final performances but my family and I are currently stationed at RAF Lakenheath, England with the U.S. Air Force. This year will be your greatest. Good Luck!

Very respectfully,
Josh Ziriak

It was a tremendous production!

I was an accompanist for 3 years. I had an incredible chance to work with old crew and get to know an amazing people. All the places we performed at, all the people in the audience - how deeply touched they were. And all the performers! They had such a true feelings. They believed in what they were saying. They were THEM - all the incredible biblical characters. They made people cry and cried themselves. I can't count the number of times when I was overwhelmed with feelings during the performances. It is one of the most fulfilling and soulful productions. Linda Wallace created a masterpiece and brought it to high level of execution. She was able to bring out the best out everyone who was involved. Beautiful work! Wishing you all the very best for your last season.

Irina Trenga

Being part of your choir is one of my BEST/favorite high school memories.

Patricia (Sutton) Armstrong, Tampa FL
'95-'98, Pilate's wife.

I couldn't imagine my life without TC. I made some I my best friends there and I still use all the singing stuff...I'll make it a point I come see the show.

Aaron Fritsch
Played Mark, Peter, and James
Psychology and Human Services Major at Geneva College

I think I sang my sophomore year of high school, so that would have been spring 1994. I sang Mary Magdalene.

Jennifer O'Loughlin
Currently based in Vienna, Austria as an opera singer.

My name is Calvin Hitchcock and I portrayed the apostle John In the 2010 production of Why Must He Die? This was a great experience for me. I think the most beneficial aspect of the show (and my personal favorite) was the amount of performing and traveling that we did as a group. While exhausting, it really helped me understand and appreciate the challenges and joys of touring shows, and simultaneously developed me as an actor and musician. I am currently a student at Cedarville University, majoring in music composition major with minor in theater.

Thank you so much and hope you have a wonderful show!


Hi Mrs. Wallace,

Emma-Liza Buchanan - I was involved from 1988 to 1994. I honestly can't remember all the roles I played. Back then, I knew all the lines, so at any given time I could have been any part. LOL! I was definitely an Accuser, just in the chorus (back in 6th and 7th grade). Woman who bled for 12 years, maybe? Wife of Zebedee? I'm so sorry I don't remember. I'm currently in Cranberry Township, PA and a SAHM to 5 kids.

Hope you're doing well!


My years involved with this production changed my life. It was wonderful to be surrounded by others who are so kind and helpful. Growing together and serving the Lord together was a great experience. Id like to thank everyone who was involved with helping me grow personally, and everyone involved with making sure the ministry continued and ran smoothly. This is something that will stick with me for the rest of my life.

Katie Ferguson
McKees Rocks
Veronica, Wife of Zeb

My name is Jonathan Cheponis, and I first joined the cast of Why Must He Die? in 1996 as an eighth-grader. Because of my youth and inexperience, I spent my first year "filling in" - I had no part of my own, but when other cast members were unavailable I stepped into their roles to keep the production running smoothly. The following year I played the disciple Mark, and for the next three years after that I played the apostle John. I left the Pittsburgh area for college after that, but every year I returned during Spring Break to help out with performances. I continued to come back annually for 9 years, including an entire season reprising my role as John in 2005. In total, I was on stage for 14 of its 28 seasons. In addition to my involvement as a cast member, I also spent time working on casting, sound production, vocal instruction, and piano accompaniment during rehearsals.

I am now a neurologist working at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois, and I have always felt that my time taking part in this passion play was instrumental in leading me to this point in my life. I learned so many lessons from Linda and from my fellow cast members, which I continue to carry with me now. This was my first real experience working with a large number of people from different backgrounds, schools, and ages. This play taught me the importance of looking past those differences to accomplish something greater. It taught me flexibility and improvisation in the face of unexpected challenges, and it showed me the value of being prepared for anything. As the years went on, I learned how to be a leader and how to get the most out of the people around me. Most of all, I sacrificed many hours and days and got to see firsthand the value of that sacrifice - the beautiful performances that we created together. I am so proud of Linda and all the people who made these past 28 years so successful.

Love and Blessings,

Jonathan Cheponis

Dear Linda,
I want to thank you as God has truly blessed you for the many lives you have touched. For me so many times I have used the title "Why Must He Die?" for my meditation. May God bless you and John for helping all of us to really appreciate what God has done for us. May God bless you in a special way.

Sr. Mary Eileen
(Sister Mary Eileen Cooke SSJ) was the person whose ideas were the inspiration for Linda writing this Passion Play twenty eight years ago)

Dear Linda,

Just a brief note to express my sincere thank you for the performance of "Why Must He Die?". From the many comments received those in attendance were deeply touched. The performance and dedication of these people was truly inspiring. As their director, you must be very proud of them. I pray that many who attended will continue to reflect upon the passion of Jesus and will be strengthened on their spiritual journey through this Lenten season and beyond. Enclosed is a poem composed by one of our long-time parishoners, Beryl Sullivan, an extremely perceptive and gifted woman. She asked me to forward this to you. God bless you and your "beautiful" ministry.

O Beauty, ancient ever new as Saint Augustine cried,
Confessing human sins that slew our Savior crucified.

O Beauty, our twenty-first century minds fly back through time and space
Until each heart in fancy finds that medieval place.

Where once the tall cathedrals soared to touch the sunset blaze,
House for the praises of the Lord, theater for His plays.

Stone walls of stained glass windows full, the textbooks of the poor;
Morality and Miracle their playhouses of yore;

Pulpit of Gothic Christendom to pope and peasant free,
In turmoil destined to become soap-box and sanctuary.

Today our modern church achieved that medieval role
translating what the mind believed to move the inmost soul.

Your drama drew us far beyond that medieval age;
Your music called us to respond- Jerusalem our stage.

Peter in retrospect replayed that Olive Garden green
Where Christ, by him abandoned, prayed till torches lit the scene.

Peter the spokesman, John the friend, Judas, Accusers twain,
Their voices and their talents lend- Jerusalem again!

We saw the Antonian Judgment Hall where Pilate washed his hands;
The Via Dolorosa's fall as Christ no longer stands;

The soldier whose restraining spear Accusers held at bay,
As conscience speaks in accents clear to still our passions' sway.

Samaria's Woman of the Well, Woman in the Crowd hear
Canaanite Woman, Mark and Joanna tell prophecy write clear.

Martha, the Maries, Magdalene, Mark and Mother sweet,
Elizabeth, adorn the scene, She of the dancing feet;

Jarius' daughter raised to life, The Woman then blood -healed.
Christ's Mother Mary, Pilate's Wife, Veronica revealed.

We saw the bruised and bloodied Lord upon his Cross arise;
We heard each unforgotten Word that pierced the darkened skies.

We watched the cast collapse on stage, lie prone till Easter dawn
ended our Lenten pilgrimage with Resurrection Morn.

O Beauty! Radiant and white-gowned Behold, our Savior stands,
Blessing our sanctuary's ground with outstretched, nail-scarred hands.

"We Don't know how to love him", true. Your tableau loosed our tongue
To join the "Lamb of God" with you at every Mass that's sung.

Love in Christ
Teresa Gery

Mrs. Wallace,

I wanted to write to you to let you know how much I have appreciated all you've done for me. Number one, I'd like to thank you for letting me join your group and I want you to know how much I appreciated the role of Peter. You showed us all so much trust and independence and not very many directors do that. I am really grateful for all of this. You put so much dedication and hard work into our production. And I know God is grateful for this because I know you are doing this for Him.

Though you always seem so busy and in a rush, I felt that no matter what if I needed some to talk to, you were there to listen. I admire your strength and perfections. Thank you for everything.

Jeremy Conti
(Peter 1998)

Dear Linda,

If indeed this is the last year for "Why Must He Die?" be assured it was the very best during the last ten years plus, that I have witnessed it! The maturity, dedication and talent of the cast made it come alive to touch the hearts and minds of us all.

In Christ's love,

Jackie Pfaub


I had the opportunity to attend your final year performance at St. Elizabeth on Friday night. What a beautiful and prayerful experience. Hard to believe you were doing this for 28 years- I've been teaching CCD for 28 years too. I looked at you and I thought , you look so young you must of started at very young age? But let me tell you from where I was sitting , I could tell a real genuine glow about you. What a blessed woman you are to bring us this play. Truly, your smile expressed the happiness about you. You have been touched by the Holy Spirit.

Thank you and your performers for making my Lent a deeper Lent.

Maggie Schmotzer

I wish I were in the Pittsburgh area to see "Why Must He Die?" one last time. I can't believe this is the final season. As a fan and a former performer, I will truly miss this experience. It was the highlight of the Lenten season growing up. Luckily I can always watch my VHS copy that Mr. Yankello made for me years ago. Thank you Mrs. Wallace!

Jodi Pasquale
1989 season at St. James School, 1992-93 as Accuser with Sewickley Choir Institute now Ass't. Principal at Woodlawn Middle School, Baltimore, MD

The Passion Play has been a tremendous gift to the communities it has graced over the years, but Linda has been a gift to each young life that she has touched via the Passion Play. Thank you, Linda, for your constant support, your belief in me, and the many 'first chances' you gave me (again, again, again, and again!) Without a doubt, my time with you had a major impact on the successful singer, performer, and teacher I am today. I have found a way to use all the gifts I was blessed with, but I had a great place to explore these many avenues.

Congratulations for all you have done. Brava!!!!

Elena DeAngelis
Soprano | Voice Instructor

Hi Linda and Choirs,

Thank you for your exhilarating and passionate performances of the Passion. Under your leadership, the musical drama has grown each year in depth, excellence, and musicianship. You set high standards for musical accuracy but enhance the notes on the page with varieties of vocal color and delicate diction. Your demand for high quality is only topped by the group's acceptance and willingness to apply new concepts (yes, Estill Voice Training) to their very accomplished singing. I hope you and the performers are enjoying a restful Easter knowing that you enriched this special season with a meaningful, musical ministry. Vocally yours,

Kimberly Steinhauer, PhD
President, Estill Voice International

Glorious Resurrection Sunday! Very honored to have served in ministry with the cast of Why Must He Die in its 28th and Final Season. God used It as an anchor in my life when so many other things were spinning out of my control. Thank you Linda Wallace for permitting me to be a part of this ministry. Let us all continue to Worship His Majesty!

Dale Turner

So we did get our Last Critique Email! Without reading it, it brought a huge smile to my face. Linda Wallace you have done so much, not only for me but everyone you have touched with this ministry. Without this years passion play I truly believe I would be lost. Thank You from the bottom of my heart.

Michael Goessler
Judas, 2014