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The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (2006)

The Herdmans are absolutely the worst kids in the history of the world. They lie and steal and smoke cigars (even the girls). They talk dirty, hit little kids, cuss their teachers, set fire to an old broken-down toolhouse, and take the name of the Lord in vain. So no one is prepared when the Herdmans invade church one Sunday – and decide to take over the annual Christmas pageant. None of them has ever heard the Christmas story before. Their interpretation – that the wise men are a bunch of dirty spies and Herod needs a good beating – has a lot of people up in arms. But the actual pageant is full of surprises for everyone, starting with the Herdmans themselves.

It’s “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” and it’s back at the Sugar Factory Playhouse starting Saturday, November 25 and running through Monday, December 11, 2006. It’s a family-friendly play about a congregation learning a lesson in Christian acceptance produced by the West Jordan Theater Arts, under the auspisces of the West Jordan Arts Council.

Connor Wade as Ralph, Brianna Bedore as Imogene, Dallyn Zaugg as Leroy, Nathan Swallow as Claude, C.J.Stringham as Ollie – and last but certainly NOT least is Irelynd Brown as Gladys – collectively play the unforgettable Herdman children. Kelly Ann Shepherd is Beth Bradley, the narrator of this amazing story. Jessie Markus plays Beth’s kid brother, Charlie. Kristine Jorgensen plays Mrs. Bradley, the brave soul who wants to put on “the BEST Christmas pageant ever,” even though it’s her first time directing a play. Chris Swallow is Mr. Bradley, who reluctantly agrees to attend the pageant since his wife is directing it. Melanie Turner is the displaced pageant director, Mrs. Armstrong. Taylor Tripp plays Alice, the “perfect” little girl who gets the lead in every pageant – until this year. The show is directed by Petronella Oliver. “We cast a few alumni from other years, but we tried to cast as many new faces as possible this year to give more children a new opportunity,” Oliver said. “We just feel we have a wonderful cast.”

“Most shows sell out,” Oliver warned, “so plan on getting your tickets any time after Nov. 10 at the West Jordan Macey's.”

Tickets are $4 each, with group discounts available. Tickets will also be available at the door at 7 p.m. nightly. “Last year we had many church, youth and ladies’ groups get tickets for their Christmas parties and activities,” Oliver said. “We open Thanksgiving weekend so that families will have a fun family activity to do when they have holiday guests in town.” Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from November 25 through December 11, and matinees at noon on November 25 and December 9. The entrance is on the west side of the Sugar Factory Playhouse, 8201 South 2200 West.

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