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Friday, Nov. 27, 2015

Against all odds

Friday, December 7, 2012

When Pageant Director Mrs. Armstrong breaks her leg, Beth and Charlie Bradley's mother is recruited to direct this year's Christmas pageant. A series of unfortunate events lead the mischievous Herdman family to turn out for the play, and things start to spiral out of control. Despite everyone else's reservations, Grace Bradley is determined to make this year's pageant the best one yet.
(Photo by Kate Padilla) [Order this photo]
Every year, the Christmas pageant is exactly the same. Same director. Same children playing the same roles. Same carols, same lines, same costumes.

This year's pageant, however, is guaranteed to be different. Pageant director Mrs. Armstrong (Karen Schwaller) has broken her leg, and Grace Bradley (Bethany Matthias) is recruited to run the show. Her daughter, Beth (Molley Schlichtemeier), is sick of playing an angel, and her son, Charlie (Rhyan Busch) doesn't even want to participate.

As if that wasn't enough, Charlie accidentally tells Leroy Herdman (Austin Crew) about all of the free treats they get in Sunday school. The Herdmans are the type of kids who steal lunch treats from other kids at school, "probably the most inventively awful kids in history."

Charlie, whose favorite part of church is "no Herdmans," is horrified when all five of them show up to participate in the Christmas pageant.

They immediately cast themselves in the lead roles. Imogene (Katie Simpson) will play Mary, which upsets Alice Wendleken (Hannah Mayes) very much. Alice is always Mary, and she assumed she would be Mary once again. Imogene refers to Mary as "pregnant" instead of "great with child," which Alice finds unacceptable.

Despite their major roles, however, the Herdmans have never heard the Christmas story before. They've never stepped foot inside of a church. Questions surrounding the biblical tale soon spiral out of control, including "What is a manger?" and "Where was Child Welfare?"

Should the Herdmans have had control over the Christmas pageant, Gladys (Alicia Larson) would rename it "Revenge at Bethlehem." Herod would be onstage as the villain (played by Charlie, according to Imogene), though quickly "taken out" by the shepherds before he could harm the baby. And, even if an angel had appeared to Mary with a name for her child, Imogene would have named him Bill.

The church ladies telephone each other in a frenzy over what a disaster this year's pageant will be. No mother wants to hand over her infant to a Herdman, so a doll will have to do. Of course all of the mess is Grace's fault. Mrs. Armstrong would have never let the Herdmans get involved.

But Grace and her family are determined to prove them wrong. Whatever it takes, this year's pageant will be the best one ever.

Spencer Community Theatre's production of "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" is fun for the entire family. The kids on stage are adorable to watch, and it's refreshing to see the Christmas story through the perspective of a family who's never heard it before.

SCT will perform "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" Dec. 7-9 and 15-17 at 7:30 p.m. After the 70-minute show, Christmas activities will take place in the theatre lobby.

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