The Herdman kids had never been to church before, but decided to attend when they found out there was free food. These are not nice kids. They smoke cigars, burn down buildings, beat up little kids, and the churchgoers are terrorized when the Herdmans are cast in the annual Christmas pageant.
Directed by Allyson Shaw Crosby, the local production includes cast features more than two dozen youngsters and a handful of adults. Pat Myers plays Mrs. Armstrong, the head of the pageant committee until she broke her leg, and plays the role dressed in hospital garb.
Lisa Sink plays Irma Slocum, Margie Ferguson plays Edna McCarthy and Rosella Clark plays pianist Vera Clark. Nici Liberato-Hall plays the director, Grace Bradley.
Robinson wrote the book in 1972, which tells the story of six delinquent children who go to church for the first time after being told the church offers snacks. Pandemonium ensues as they take part in the Christmas play.
The book was adapted into a play by Robinson in 1982 and was first performed by the Seattle Children’s Theater. In 1983 it was adapted into a television movie in ABC starring Loretta Swit.
According to the website littletheater.com, the play has a happy ending.
“None of the Herdmans has ever heard the Christmas story before. Their interpretation of the tale – the Wise Men are a bunch of dirty spies and Herod needs a good beating – has a lot of people up in arms. But it will make this year’s pageant…just possibly the best one ever.”
The Wilmington (Del.) Drama League, which also put on the play, said it “is the perfect family activity for the holiday season.”
Tickets for The Best Christmas Pageant Ever are $3 at the door. Show dates are Friday, Dec. 3 at 7 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 4 at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 5 at 3 p.m.; Friday, Dec. 10 at 7 p.m.; and Saturday, Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. For more information about Magic Circle Theater, call 249-7838.
Director Crosby says it’s a fun play for all ages.
“This lively and realistic portrayal of what happens in a small mid-western church when the Herdman family invades their ‘nice, normal’ Christmas pageant will leave you in stitches!” she said. “You will walk away with a warm heart for each of the misfits and their detractors as they are all changed by the Christmas story in various ways.”