The Herdmans are absolutely the worst kids in the history of the world. When they check out Sunday school one week, they bully their way into the annual holiday pageant. In the process, they teach everyone the true reason for the season. You’ll laugh, cry and cringe as the “Baby Jesus” is tossed head over heels, shepherds and wise men harmonize, and the “Angel of the Lord” orchestrates a most memorable finale.
“THE BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER JUST KILLED ME WITH JOY.” – Tom Key, Producing Artistic Director, Theatrical Outfit
Sarah Elizabeth Wallis*
Bob Bradley/Rev. Hopkins
The Church Ladies:
Laura King (Mrs. Clausing), Cheryl Rookwood (Mrs. Clark),* Mary Saville (Mrs. McCarthy),* Whitney Umstead (Mrs. Slocum),”
Grace Costantino (Beverly), Ethan Major (David), Elijah Marcano* (Hobie), Caleb Obodo (Elmer), Scout Powell (Janet), Ashley Lynn Raymer (Roberta), Rachel Wansker (Maxine),* Marshall VandenOever (Leroy)
* Denotes cast member returning from our 2010-11 staging.
Producing Artistic Director
Original Set Design
* Returning from our 2010-11 staging.
Barbara Robinson, born Oct. 12, 1927, is an American author best known for her books targeted at children, particularly The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (1972) and The Best School Year Ever (1994). She grew up in the small town of Portsmouth, Ohio on the Ohio River. Her father died when she was 3. Her mother, a schoolteacher in Portsmouth for 49 years, fostered her interest in books, and she began writing very early. Robinson attended Allegheny College and was awarded an honorary doctorate of letters. In addition to her children's books, she has published dozens of short stories and has also written books and poetry. She lives in Berwyn, Penn., near Philadelphia. She has two daughters, Carolyn, a nurse, and Marjorie, an elementary-school teacher, and three grandchildren. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever was first pubished as a story in McCall’s magazine. The book version was published in 1972 and has sold more than 800,000 copies. Her story then became a play, which was first performed on Nov. 26, 1982, by the Seattle Children’s Theatre. Next came the ABC television movie (1983), which featured Loretta Swit as Mrs. Bradley, the mom drafted to direct the holiday pageant.
The small-town atmosphere in her hometown of Portsmouth, Ohio, has affected most of her writing, she says. She grew up with the notion that reading was the only way to fill up every scrap of loose time you could snatch. She had a wide variety of aunts and uncles and cousins, plus the extended family so common in small-town life – the neighbors, friends, teachers, bus drivers, mailmen, local heroes and local ne’er-do-wells, and even a local blacksmith … great stuff to feed the imagination. “I began writing very early,” she says, “and just never quit.” – from her profile.
“I just saw the 2PM show of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, and it just killed me with joy. As soon as Imogene and Ralph walked out there as Mary and Joseph, I was a goner. The lady next to me asked me if I had a child in the show because she was probably wondering why this single guy was sitting next to her at a ‘kids’ show with tears streaming down his cheeks. For all the multitude of reasons I am glad we built the Balzer Theater at Herren’s, I can now add another one: that we could have provided a home for this Theatrical Gift from Synchronicity Theatre to our city. Thank you and blessings on your Christmas.”
Tom Key, Theatrical Outfit Producing Artistic Director
"Saw the Christmas Pageant on Saturday last show, and it was outstanding. I am coming and bringing some adult friends with me next week, as it was so exceptional at reaching both adults and children.” – Dolly Evans
"We had 10 people there on Saturday, and it was amazing. Everyone that came was SO impressed. I love the actors, the set design was beautiful (love the church), and I loved that the audience was the audience for the final play. Great use of the whole theater with actors coming from behind us etc. We had kids from age 15 to 2, and they all really liked it." – Melissa Minahan
Viewer responses to the show
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