This holiday, DreamWrights Youth & Family Theatre will present The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, a classic Christmas comedy written by Barbara Robinson. It’s a story about hardship, discovery, and making a difference in the lives of others, which in turn makes a difference in our own.
As six delinquent siblings with the promise of donuts, find their way to church at Christmastime shenanigans, misbehavior, mishaps ensue. Through the comedy of it all; however, is the reality that we all know kids like the Herdmans – naughty, misguided, but good at heart. We’ve crossed paths with them in our lives. Artistic Director, Diane Crews, was attracted to direct this production for this very reason. “Just like the church ladies in the play point out, ‘Real is what they were.’ We all know these characters.”
Speaking of characters and families, this production is family friendly to audiences, cast, and crew alike. Of the 80 cast and 65 staff and crew members, 30 of our families involved have multiple family members participating. Four families have four and ten families have three members involved. Of course, these individuals make up a myriad of cast and crew combinations ranging from a father Food Coordinator and daughter actress, to a father Production Stage Manager and son actor, brother and sister on set crew, a mother actress and son sound designer, and so on. Seventeen year old Kalie Stroup says she’s excited to participate in this show with her dad “because this was the first show we did together six years ago!”
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever has previously played at DreamWrights in 1999, 2003, and 2009. Not only will this be Diane Crews’ fourth time directing this show, it will also be the fourth time acting in it for several cast members as well. Four timer Joan Bitzer says that she’s enjoyed playing the different “church ladies” and this time she’s having fun being the bossy one. “I love this show. It has moments that offer the audience, as well as the cast and crew, a good, warm Christmas feeling,” explains Joan. “Plus, it’s funny! It’s got everything a Christmas show should have.”
Diane agrees that this show is special. “Each performance is as unique as the actors in it, and each actor is unique in his or her own way.” Diane also reminds us that this production is extra meaningful to her because it is her last holiday production at DreamWrights as she will be retiring in 2016. She recalls directing her granddaughter in the 2009 production,” She was one of the smallest baby angels and now she is the tallest non-baby angel!”
Even if you’ve seen Pageant before, you won’t be disappointed to see it again. Those Herdman kids are an awful lot of fun, and the story is as touching as it is funny. Even Diane never tires of it, “I always laugh and cry, and I have seen it hundreds of times, if you count all the rehearsals. It is what the season is all about!”
DreamWrights’ The Best Christmas Pageant Ever opens December 4 at 6:30 pm and runs for 12 shows: December 4, 5, 11, 12, 18 & 19 – 6:30 pm and December 5, 6, 12, 13, 19 & 20 – 2:30 pm. Tickets may be purchased online at www.dreamwrights.org or by calling 717-848-8623. Seats cost $10 for general, $14 for reserved.