The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
by San Diego Junior Theatre

All the kids in school are scared of the bullying, cigar-smoking Herdman clan. The only safe place for them has been at church where the Herdmans wouldn’t be caught dead. That is, until little Charlie Bradley (Casey Purlia Johnson) lets it out that church is followed by free cookies, punch, and other refreshments. The Herdmans show up in force the next Sunday to see if this miracle of free goodies is true. Just in time to learn about auditions for the upcoming Christmas Pageant. And when they decide they want the key parts, who’s going to stand in their way? The result will either be the most disastrous Christmas Pageant ever…or the best!

San Diego Junior Theatre’s younger actors are currently putting on this holiday favorite at their newest location in La Jolla. They are led by Lizzy Palmer as Beth Bradley, the older sister of Charlie Bradley and the narrator of the show who tells us the story with an eager and gossipy flair. Her mother, Mrs. Grace Bradley (Pia Tuchscher), becomes the frazzled but determined new director of the pageant after the regular director breaks a leg. That director is the amusingly obnoxious Mrs. Helen Armstrong (Zoe Katz) who has some very definite ideas about how the pageant should be performed which she generously shares with poor Grace Bradley, harping on the importance of such things as the lack of lipstick on angels and the need for a good actress to play the role of Mary, the mother of Jeeeesus.

And that Mary is in for a change, as all the major roles are going to the Herdmans. Alice Wendelken (Kate Biel), the snooty girl who perennially plays Mary, has backed down in deference to the leader of the Herdman kids – Imogene Herdman. Hanna Aarons Bains plays the calmly tough Imogene who no one will trust with a real baby (a sensible decision based on how tosses around the fake baby!). Her siblings play Joseph and wise men, while the youngest rules the show as the heralding angel. Gladys Herdman (Jonna Schreibman) is that ball of fire of an angel who pushes and punches the others around and tells the shepherds exactly where they should go.

Tony Cucuzzella’s set is highlighted by its background – a huge calendar page for December with the appropriate date illuminated, some of the date boxes doubling as doors that occasionally open, allowing one or more of the townsfolk to poke their heads out and deliver some lines as The Best Christmas Pageant Ever unrolls below.

Performs through December 18, 2005.

Rob Hopper
National Youth Theatre

~ Cast ~
Mrs. Grace Bradley: Pia Tuchscher
Beth Bradley: Lizzy Palmer
Charlie Bradley: Casey Purlia Johnson
Ralph Herdman: Mona Maruyama
Imogene Herdman: Hanna Aarons Bains
Loreen Herdman: Grace Condon
Claude Herdman: Zack Eischen
Ollie Herdman: Jeremy Howe
Gladys Herdman: Jonna Schreibman
Mrs. McCarthy: Loren Lott
Mrs. Helen Armstrong: Zoe Katz
Mrs. Irma Slocum: Brittany Michael
Mrs. Clark: Mona Maruyama
Alice Wendelken: Kate Biel
Elma Hopkins: Alexandria Allen
Maxine: McKenna Allard
Doris: Tracy Warren
Juanita: Gillian Kelly
Shirley: Natasha Chandler
Peggy: Caroline Cleavinger
Dana: Alexandra Chenelle

Director: Linda S. Cooper
Set Design: Tony Cucuzzella
Lighting Design: David Kievit
Costume Design: Lynn Choplin


Home   |   Awards   |   Reviews   |   News   |   Actors   |   Headshots   |   Theatres   |   Calendars   |   Newsletters   |   Membership
Auditions   |   Workshops   |   Drama Instruction   |   Playwrights/Scripts   |   Vendors   |   Links   |   Advertising   |   About Us