'Best Christmas Pageant Ever’


“The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” is coming to The Actor’s Warehouse. It is being directed by Rhonda Wilson, center, and will include in the cast, from left, Malik Moore, Skymarie Kidney and Lauryn Smith.

AIDA MALLARD/Special to the Guardian
Published: Thursday, December 1, 2011 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, November 30, 2011 at 3:32 p.m.

If you're looking for a holiday play that is fun for the entire family and easy on the pocketbook, then "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" is one play you don't want to miss.

Facts

CHRISTMAS PLAY

What: “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever,” a holiday play geared to children and families.

When: 7 p.m. Saturday and also Dec. 9, 3 p.m. Sunday and 11 a.m. Dec. 10.

Where: The Actors Warehouse, 608 N. Main St.

Tickets: $5 at the door or in advance.

Information: Call 352-301-5823 or visit www.starcentertheatre.org.

Directed by Rhonda Wilson, artistic director of the Star Center Children's Theatre, "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" will be presented at 7 p.m. Saturday and also Dec. 9, 3 p.m. Sunday and 11 a.m. Dec. 10 at The Actors Warehouse at 608 N. Main St. Tickets, which are $5, are available at the door or by calling 352-301-5823.

"The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" is a funny family show," Wilson said. "It's geared to a kid's perspective and it's kid-driven. That's what I like about it."

Wilson said "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" is an adaptation of Barbara Robinson's book, which centers around the Herdman's six terrible children — Ralph, Imogene, Leroy, Claude, Ollie and Gladys. Wilson said their mother works double shifts at a shoe factory and the siblings basically raise themselves.

The family doesn't go to church and the children hadn't heard of the Christmas story.

"The Herdmans are the worst kids in the world," Wilson said. "They are notorious delinquents in their community. They lie, steal, smoke cigars, hit little kids, among other things."

The 16-member cast will include Howard Anderson, Nykki Barnes, Lauryn Smith, Malik Moore, Jocelyn Acosta, Skymarie Kidney, Brandon Hall, Selena Summerall, Jahari Clemons, C'javia Jones, Qaadaria Guthrie, Tyona Grant, Jada Clemons, Kameisha Harris, Dariana Ford and Anaiya Wilson.

Wilson said the story is narrated by Beth Bradley, a girl in Imogene Herdman's class.

Beth's brother, Charlie, tells Leroy Herdman he doesn't mind Leroy stealing his dessert at school because he gets all the snacks he wants at Sunday School, which leads to the Herdmans coming to church.

"The Herdmans show up at church for the first time the following Sunday," Wilson said. "They came to church for food."

Once at the church, Wilson said, the children hear the Christmas story and become interested in performing in the play, which is held annually at the church.

Wilson said the Herdmans take over the lead parts of the play and discourage the other children from auditioning.

"They took over the play and no one wanted to audition because they were afraid," said Wilson.

Wilson said the Herdman's interpretation of the Christmas story is unconventional, but lots of fun.

"The play changed the (Herdman) kids and the congregation," Wilson said. "Everyone agreed it was the best Christmas pageant ever."

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