Don drives chariot in Ben Hur

THE TIME for rehearsals is over.

It will be the real deal for Mungar horseman Don Cross in Sydney tonight.

The 43-year-old will be one of the six chariot drivers in action during the biggest theatrical event ever seen in Australia – Ben Hur – The Stadium Spectacular, at ANZ Stadium.

The stadium has been transformed from its usual football status into the biggest Roman amphitheatre ever seen for the two-night show, which is narrated by Russell Crowe.

Mr Cross will be in charge of a four-horse team in the chariot race just like in the eleven-time Academy Award winning 1959 Hollywood movie that starred Charlton Heston.

More than 300,000 people saw the show in Paris and huge crowds are expected in Sydney as it won’t be performed anywhere else in the world this year.

Mr Cross, who has spent the past two weeks in Sydney practising for the event (he had done the same in Brisbane for six weeks before he headed south), said the stage was set for the epic blockbuster to come to life.

“Everyone has practised long and hard I can tell you,” Mr Cross, who has performed at shows throughout the country in races featuring chuck wagons, stagecoaches and chariots, said.

“A typical day has started at 7am and ended about 10pm – they have been long days.

“Getting to bed has been a real highlight,” Mr Cross laughed.

“Saying that, it’s all been worth it and I cannot wait for the show to start.”

As for sightings of Russell Crowe, Mr Cross was keeping tight-lipped.

“I’ve been too busy to notice who is here,” he said.

“It’s been the French crew who have been putting us through our paces.”

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