The wild Herdman kids are heading to Mansfield in Mainstage Classic Theatre’s “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.”
The community theater group has corralled a half dozen young actors and transformed them into a family of rowdy youngsters, who sign up to be in the church’s Christmas pageant.
“The challenge is they’re such nice kids to make them tough and ornery,” said director Marty Fredrick. “The show is so lovable.”
The kids, however, have gotten into character.
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“I’m the angel of the Lord, Shazam!” shouts Grace Lipscomb, who plays Gladys Herdman. “I’m small, but I’m fast and I bite!”
Noelle Titler plays the oldest Herdman, Imogene.
“I smoke cigars,” the 13-year-old actress says of her character. “I’m practically the mother. I had to raise them. I’m proud of some of them. Other ones, I don’t know what went wrong. Maybe I dropped them on their heads.”
Carson Watts, who portrays Leroy Herdman, gives some insight into how the Herdmans got so rambunctious.
“They weren’t raised right,” he said. “Their father ran away and their mom isn’t really there.”
When the sassy siblings decide to sign up for the Christmas play, and get cast, the results produce a unique experience, originally told in Barbara Robinson’s 1972 book.
“It’s a classic, one of the most popular ones,” Fredrick said. “I feel that the best plays come from the best books.”
The production features 42 children and 10 adults, plus an ensemble that will open the show with holiday songs and dance. The cast features quite a few newcomers to Mainstage, Fredrick said.
“They bring a lot of energy and willingness to learn,” she said.
The show also tells the original Christmas story, and what it’s like for the Herdman kids who are hearing it for the first time.
“It’s all those feel-good memories of family and friends,” Fredrick said. “It’s such a basic lesson of what Christmas is all about.”
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
7 p.m. Friday
2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday
St. John Lutheran Church
1218 Debbie Lane
$8-$12; free for Mansfield ISD students