Free holiday production opens

Published: Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

There are secular Christmas stories, and there are strictly religious ones. 

Then there’s the ultimate hybrid, “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” – in which the original Christmas story is wrapped up in a raucous comedy about a family of incorrigible brats taking over the church Christmas pageant. 

Barbara Robinson’s stage adaptation of her best-selling 1972 children’s book receives hundreds of productions ever holiday season. 

The play is this year’s holiday offering from PR Productions, together with Plano Christian Church. 

The show will run today through Sunday at Plano Christian Church, 9 Schomer Lane in Plano. Show times are 7 p.m. today through Saturday and 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. 

The production is free to the public and is sponsored by Plano Christian Church together with PR Productions. A free-will offering will be accepted. To make seat reservations, visit Seats will be available at the door, based only on availability.  

The story centers on the five Herdman kids, who are growing up virtually unsupervised and are the town terrors. They lie, steal, cuss, sass elders, set fire to things, hit smaller kids and smoke cigars.

Having heard that free goodies are dispensed at rehearsals for the Sunday School Christmas Pageant, the Herdmans invade and take over. The eldest Herdman boy and girl grab the roles of Joseph and Mary by scaring last year’s stars out of auditioning. Their takeover proves relatively easy because the pageant’s usual director is in the hospital, and last-minute substitute Grace Bradley has her hands full running things.

Grace and the other adults, not to mention the “good” kids, dread the Herdmans’ participation. Yet ultimately, their involvement has surprising effects – not just on the intruders but the others as well.

Those seeking a “faith” message will find it. But those who just want a funny seasonal comedy will find that, too. Surely the “something for everyone” factor is central to the play’s wide appeal.

Performances of “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” will feature Christmas carols throughout, some presented as audience sing-along if desired, as well as pre-show and intermission entertainment by the Lamplight Singers.

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