‘The Best Christmas Pageant Ever’ Dec. 2-5
MADISON - The Center Players Community Theatre will present “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” Dec. 2-5 at Madison Square Center for the Arts at 2103 Main St.
The play showcases a young cast of 45, ranging from children ages 3 to high school age, and is adapted from the popular children’s book of the same name by Barbara Robinson in which the true meaning and joy of Christmas that shine through in a play within a play on stage at Madison Square Center for the Arts.
“This is a funny but also a very heartfelt production,” said Director Mandy Hackman. “The show says that Christmas and the holidays don’t have to be perfect to be meaningful, that joy and warmth come from unexpected places.”
“The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” is the hilarious tale of a town that has its annual Christmas Nativity pageant shaken up by the outrageous shenanigans of the rowdy Herdman siblings, better known as “the worst kids in the history of the world.”
The six children show up for the snacks at Sunday School only to hear about the upcoming Christmas pageant and then strong-arm their way into the leading roles. Chaos follows the Herdmans, but Grace Bradley, the mom, drafted into serving as pageant director, assures everyone that the show will go on. With the Herdmans adding their own special touches, the pageant becomes its very best version of the Christmas story.
Madison Central High sophomore Katy Mayhan plays Grace, the woman trying to bring order to the chaos as the unruly Herdman siblings turn the production on its head.
“It’s a funny show, and it’s good that we’re getting back to the theater,” Mayhan said.
When the Center Players put on “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” in 2015, Katy played the role of Gladys, the youngest and meanest of the Herdmans.
“I still remember all of Gladys’ lines,” she said.
Lucy Ledford, an eighth-grader at Madison Middle School and a newcomer to a Center Players’ show plays Beth Bradley, Grace’s daughter. She describes Beth as “funny, not a bad kid but not perfect.”
Ledford said being a part of the show has been a fun experience with children and teens of all ages involved.
Hackman said the story is familiar to most of the kids in the cast.
“So many have read ‘Best Christmas Pageant Ever’ in school,” she said, adding that the familiarity and the chance to be on stage makes the production special for the cast. “On the whole, kids tend to be excited about theater and to be here on stage.”
“The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” will be performed on Dec. 2, 3 and 4 (Thursday, Friday and Saturday) at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 5 (Sunday) at 2 p.m.
Tickets are available at the box office at the arts center before the shows, $12 for adults and $10 for seniors/students. A Dec. 3 morning show has been added at 9:30 for some classes from Madison County Schools. There will be space available for homeschool groups or members of the public at that showing for $5.
All members of the cast are Madison County residents and include Thomas Pound as Charlie Bradley, Lucy Ledford as Beth Bradley; Katy Mayhan as Grace Bradley; Ellis Nichols as Bob Bradley; Tucker Gladden as Ralph Herdman; Campbell Browning as Imogene Herdman; Sawyer Helms as Leroy Herdman; Miles Agent as Claude Herdman; Emily Kay Kirk as Ollie Herdman; Adelaide Kirk as Gladys Herdman; Kate Jasper as Alice Wendleken; Olivia Heeren as Maxine; Cade Shaw as Elmer Hopkins; Parker Anderson as Mrs. Armstrong; Kodie Bullard as Mrs. McCarthy; Morgan Trusty as Irma Slocum; Ella Peyton Allen as Mrs. Clark; Logan Kennedy as Rev. Hopkins; Wyatt Biggerstaff, Meredith Odom and Taylor Richardson as firefighters; Wyatt Biggerstaff as hospital orderly; Charles Kiser as Hobie Clark; Cohen Mader as David; Evey Harrison as Doris; Emma Norris as Beverly; Sadie Bramlett as Shirley; Ava Ledford as Juanita; Ally Harper Neyland, Meredith Odom, Taylor Richardson and Bentleigh Vernace as head angels; Carson Browning, Violet Daniels, Lilly Dunaway, Landry Mader, Clara-Grace Sanders, Ava Sullivan and Kate Therrell as angel choir; Rett Daniels, Andrew Farley, Taylor Farley, James Pickle and Liam Temple, as shepherds; Sarah Claire Carpenter, Kate Farley, Caroline Pickle, Jane Saucier, Lena Yates and Nora Yates, as baby angels.