Twin Cities Players: ‘The Best Christmas Pageant Ever’

Published 3:14 pm Friday, December 13, 2013

The Twin Cities Players perform “Best Christmas Pageant Ever.” Photo submitted by David Yardley

The Twin Cities Players perform “Best Christmas Pageant Ever.” Photo submitted by David Yardley

For parents, finding a theatrical production to attend with their children can be tough, even at Christmastime. On the one hand, parents may want their kids to experience the magic that live theater has to offer. On the other hand, it can be hard to find a show that will capture the kids’ attention and keep them entertained.

This year, The Twin Cities Players has taken care of that problem, offering “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” as their second mainstage production of the 2013-2014 season at 600 W. Glenlord Rd., St. Joseph, Mich.

“This is a great family production,” said Christine Aranyos, marketing manager for the Twin City Players. “It was very popular when it first came out.”

    The comedy was adapted from the best-selling book by Barbara Robinson, and it was the only story to ever run twice in “McCall’s Magazine.”

That popularity appears to have carried over to this latest production of the play, with the company playing to capacity crowds last weekend.

It seems as though there are few things more fascinating to kids than watching other kids behave badly, and if that is true, then most kids in the audience will be enthralled while watching this play.

“The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” tells the story of a hapless couple that must deal with casting the Herdman kids — perhaps the most awful kids ever — in their church Christmas pageant.

The directors, John Taylor and Dave Goodyear, did not have to work hard to find children to play the members of the horrendous Herdman gang.

“A lot of kids wanted those roles,” Taylor said. “They loved being the bad kids on the block.”

“What we found was that, really, those roles were the opposite of the actors’ true characters.  They are a great bunch of kids to work with,” Taylor said. “Initially,  it was hard to get them to be bad enough. Then, about a week before the first show, we had to try to pull them back.  Some of the parents were worried that they were going too far!”

The Herdman children only make up a handful of the children who have been cast in “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.” In fact, the cast includes 23 children and six adults, a very large group to coordinate, especially at the holidays.

“One of the hardest things was just getting information across to everybody, communicating and coordinating everything so that we made sure everybody was where they needed to be,” Taylor said. “I have to give the parents a lot of credit for getting the students to rehearsals. …We also have a lot of parents helping out backstage.”

Considering how popular the play has been so far, theater-goers may want to reserve their tickets early for the remaining performances. Tickets can be purchased via phone at (269) 429-0400 or through the online portal at

Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and $7 for children (12 and under). Group rates are also available. Performances are at 8  p.m. on Fridays (Dec. 13 and Dec. 20) and Saturdays (Dec. 14 and Dec. 21) and at 4 p.m. on Sundays (Dec. 15 and Dec. 22).

“It is a wonderful, classic Christmas story. It makes for great family fun” Aranyos said.