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Kristina Oliver supplied a camel, horses, goats and sheep for Crystal Cathedral's Glory of Christmas 2009. She is with Pistol the camel and Blue one of the horses she provided.
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Crystal Cathedral turns down offer to revive 'Glory'

Crystal Cathedral refuses help for 'Glory.'


Crystal Cathedral received an offer from a theater company to help it produce "The Glory of Christmas," an elaborate annual show that was canceled this year amid financial turmoil at the Garden Grove mega-church, the director of the theater company said Wednesday..

But at a meeting on Tuesday, the cathedral's board decided not to accept an offer by 3D Theatricals to pay for more than half the cost of the production and let the church keep all the profits from ticket sales.

"We made a presentation yesterday but they felt they weren't financially secure enough to proceed," 3D Theatricals executive director T.J. Dawson said Wednesday. "They didn't think (the officials managing Crystal Cathedral's bankruptcy) would allow it."

The Dawson family, which owns Cavins Oil Well Tools in Long Beach, has supported the Crystal Cathedral for years.

"My parents are longtime friends of the Schuller family," Dawson said. "They have been huge supporters of our shows too." 3D Theatricals produced a season of musicals and plays in the OC Pavilion in 2009-10.

There were other challenges as well, Dawson said.

"Most years, the pageant would already be open by now. It would have been a condensed run, but they could have stood to make a small profit. The goal was for them to end a difficult year on a positive note."

3D Theatricals promised to pay for all costs up to opening week. Ticket sales would then fund the ongoing operating costs of the production, Dawson said.

John Charles, a spokesman for the cathedral, said he was not aware of the details of 3D Theatrical's proposal, nor would he confirm the outcome of Tuesday's meeting.

"A proposal might be in the works. But I haven't heard anything about an agreement being reached or not."

The church had been beset by financial problems this year, some of them associated with its two grandly scaled shows at Easter and Christmas.

In March, several vendors who provided services for the "Glory of Christmas" said the cathedral hadn't paid them. They were among many contractors seeking restitution from the church. Citing declining donations and $48 million in debt, Crystal Cathedral Ministries filed for bankruptcy protection in October.

Dawson said his company's offer still stands, and he thinks 3D Theatricals could bring fresh ideas to the Crystal Cathedral's 19-year-old Christmas pageant.

"We told them that regardless what decision made we'd be interested in revamping the show and creating a new 'Glory of Christmas' next year. After 19 years, the movies and TV and Broadway have advanced. Back then, the flying angels and all the animals were indeed a giant spectacle. While the show still is that, we think we could breathe new life into things."

Contact the writer: 714-796-7979 or phodgins@ocregister.com

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