“The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” tells the tale of the disorderly, roguish children of the Herdman family, all six of them. Their unexpected appearance at church leads to them being cast in the annual Christmas pageant — against the advice of fellow church members and local do-gooders. What follows is the lesson that is taught in this family-oriented show.
This holiday classic will be staged Dec. 10 through Jan. 3 at Limelight Theatre in uptown St. Augustine.
“The Herdmans are absolutely the worst kids in the history of the world” says Beth, the 12-year-narrator played by local middle school student Mack Hazel.
The Herdman children are played by local students Will Gooden as Leroy Herdman; Kyler Unsworth as Imogene Herdman; Ella Escamilla as Gladys Herdman; Zachary Davis as Ralph Herdman; Caragh Ziegler as Ollie Herdman; and Alexander Lawless as Claude Herdman.
Other children’s roles include Hayden Owen as Charlie (Beth’s brother); Ashley Herbert as the prim and proper Alice; Savannah Lawless as Maxine; Chanel Boll as Juanita; Parker Colon as Peter; Molly Farrow as Shirley; Adalynn Fowler as Doris; Madeline Pidcock as Julia; Nicholas Rodillas as Hobie; and Madison Tiller as Beverly.
Christopher Doody is the Father; Megan Morton is the Mother; Theresa Buchanan is Mrs. Armstrong; Mary Jung-Martin is Mrs. McCarthy; and Matthew Whaley is Reverend Hopkins.
Three Limelight Theatre guild members also have roles. Guild President Vivian Lampard plays Mrs. Slocum; Guild Vice President Gaye Farris plays Mrs. Clark; and Brenda Sawyer plays Mrs. Clausing.
The Herdmans are a family of rotten children. They lie, steal, swear, fight, light things on fire and are generally feared in the community. When they get wind of the annual church Christmas pageant, they bully their way into the main roles and generally wreak havoc.
Their crazy interpretations of the Christmas Story help the whole town to rediscover the true meaning of Christmas, while they reenact the most memorable and “best Christmas pageant ever.”
The play is directed by Shelli Long, who also serves as the theatre’s musical director and properties supervisor. Long directed the 2014 Limelight Christmas show, Miracle on 34th Street.
“I got lucky with this cast, many are veterans of the Limelight stage and know the commitment necessary. They also must have very supportive families,” Long explains.
“I love it when our audiences bring out-of-town relatives in to see our holiday shows. It’s nice to share Christmas with not only St. Augustine, but other parts of the country as well. We often hear that a relative saw the same show in NYC, and thinks ours was better!”
Show times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, with 2 p.m. Sunday matinees. A Terrific Tuesday performance on Dec. 15 also will begin at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are $26 for adults; $24 for seniors; $20 for military and students; two tickets for $30 on Terrific Tuesday; $15 for preview night on Dec. 10; and one free ticket for children 12 and younger with each full paid adult ticket.
For reservations, call 904-825-1164 or purchase tickets online at limelight-theatre.org. Limelight Theatre is located at 11 Old Mission Ave., in uptown St. Augustine. Free parking is available on site and streetside.