Religion: Once More Oberammergau

Cash and controversy over a Passion play

"Die Passion zahlt's" (The Passion will pay for it), people like to say in Oberammergau. And, indeed, the famous Oberammergau Passion Play, first performed in the picture-postcard Bavarian hamlet back in 1634, has kept the local economy humming for much of the 20th century. It is a six-hour production, put on for a four-month run every ten years with a cast of 800. A quarter of the town (pop. 4,800) takes part, working as stagehands, orchestra members, singing away in the huge chorus, or milling about...

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