Everyone needs to hear a good Christmas story before the holiday arrives, so I recommend attending the Long Beach Playhouse’s “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.” The story is fresh, the actors have flare and the elements of appreciation, acceptance, family and religion are perfectly combined with humor to bring about the holiday spirit and many laugh out louds.
The play is filled with adorable child actors, some playing naughty children and some playing nice, who act like they’ve already positioned their future in theatre.
They all did a wonderful job of being dramatically charming and funny, so its safe to say that if you attend “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever,” you’ll definitely want to commend the (mostly-children) cast after the performance.
The story takes place in a small town in Anywhere, US and we first meet the Bradley family, consisting of father Bob (Paul Dean Martin), mother Grace (Jennifer Moraca), daughter Beth (Mia Cusianovic) and son Charlie (Bryce Hardy). The church-going family sits around the dinner table and the annual church Christmas pageant gets brought up. As the story unfolds, we learn of its redundancy and dominant leadership of a Mrs. Armstrong.
We also learn about the horrible Herdman children that attend elementary school with the Bradley kids. They lie, steal, bully and even smoke cigars, so their behavior becomes a topic of conversation, as Charlie often gets his school lunch stolen from at least one of the six Herdman children on a regular basis.
But the next day, Charlie makes the mistake of telling one of the Herdman bullies that he doesn’t care if he takes his lunch dessert, because he gets all the sugar he needs at Sunday School.
And the drama begins…
So with the normal Christmas Pageant cast being bullied out of their roles and an unforeseen accident involving Mrs. Armstrong pushing Grace into being the director, the audience gets to watch the humorous development of an unusual twist to a typical church pageant.
In the end, all the children and adults definitely learn a little something from the rough and economically challenged Herman family, while they learn the story of Christmas.
“The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” is a fun story full of grace and a great reminder about how holiday traditions can change people into something more and something greater, regardless of their age.
And in perfect Christmas tradition, the play ends with the cast inviting the audience to a sing along to some of the holiday’s favorite tunes.
“The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” is now playing in the mainstage theatre on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. until December 24, 2011.
Visit www.lbplayhouse.org or call 562-494-1014 to purchase tickets.
Great review, Molly! Thanks YOU. Also, tickets for Kids are just $8.00 every THURSDAY!