In Play Reviews

‘The Herdmans were absolutely the worst kids in the history of the world. They lied and stole and smoked cigars (even the girls) and talked rough and hit little kids and talked back to their teachers. So it surprised just about everybody when they decided to take part in the town’s Christmas Pageant. The Herdman kids had never heard of the Christmas story, but the way they interpreted it, you’d think the story of Jesus came right out of the FBI files. (They called the Wise Men a bunch of dirty spies.) It was a Christmas pageant to remember. An American classic … one of the best Christmas stories ever told.”

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, a delightful family story about the true meaning of Christmas, will open at the Lakewood Theatre Company on Thursday, December 14 at 7:30 p.m. Performances continue on December 15, 16, 17 and 19, 20, 21, 22 and 23 at 7:30 p.m.. Matinee performances are at 2 p.m. on Saturday Deember 16, Sunday December 17, and Saturday, December 23. A hot cocoa and cookie reception follows the opening night performance on December 14.

Pippa Southard as Gladys Herdman in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever at Lakewood Theatre Company. Photo by Lakewood Theatre Company.

This is the twenty-first year this holiday production has been staged by Lakewood Theatre Company. The show, directed by Benjamin Tissell, is an adaptation of the popular short story written by Barbara Robinson and originally published by McCall’s Magazine. Playwright Barbara Robinson has written several books for children including Across From Indian Shore and Trace Through the Forest. Her stories have appeared in well-known magazines and a short version of this play appeared in McCall’s Magazine under the title, “The Christmas Pageant.”

Featured performers include Dan Bahr as Bob Bradley, Laura Hiszczynskyj as Grace Bradley, Samantha Blaine as Beth Bradley and Phillip Wells as Charlie Bradley. The Herdman children are played by Declan Southard, Melody Wells, Henry Findtner, Finn Schwarz, Tali Greenfield, and Pippa Southard. Others in the cast include Sami Yacob-Andrus as Alice, Serena Mason as Maxine, Kristi Foster as Mrs. McCarthy, Adrienne Southard as Mrs. Armstrong, Patricia Alston as Mrs. Slocum, Libby Isensee as Mrs. Clark, Susan Triplett as the Piano Lady, and Brian Reed as Reverend Hopkins.
The ensemble also includes Joseph Burke as Elmer, Theo Curl as Hobie, Dayva Cockrell as David, Eva Muir as Beverly, Rachel Green as Shirley, Sophie Isensee as Juanita, and Maya Ye as Doris.

For tickets, visit the Lakewood Center website or call 503-635-3901.

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