“The Best Christmas Pageant Ever”

The ensemble sings "Joy to the World" at the end of the play.

Huge cast ‘rocks’ in play about Christmas play

“You guys all rocked!” exclaimed Skagway Drama Club director Blaine Mero to his huge cast of 37, following the final dress rehearsal for “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.”
Mero’s distinctive laugh could be heard throughout the show before a student audience. In fact, he said everyone broke up laughing at every rehearsal.
“This show is one of my favorite stories,” Mero said. “And the kids and everybody did such an outstanding job.”
The play about a small town Christmas pageant was adapted from a story of the same name by Barbara Robinson, using 32 Skagway School kids and five adults.
A normally regimented church pageant is dumped in the lap of new director Grace Bradley (Jo Trozzo) who adopts a family of underprivileged misfits, the Herdman kids into the cast.
Narrated by Bradley’s daughter Beth (Erica Harris), who plays off her straight-laced friend Alice (C.C. Hahn), the antics of the Herdmans at rehearsal become the talk of the town. They have to be read the Christmas story from the Bible, and then pick it apart. Hearing of this, the usual director, Mrs. Armstrong (Cindy Gaddis), who is confined to a wheel chair at home due to a fall, leads a humorous chorus of phone gossips in condemning the show before it starts.
But Grace and crew pull it off. The town turns out to see the worst, and comes away witnessing the best, as the Herdmans and the rest of the cast finally get the true meaning of Christmas.
The transformation of Imogene Herdman (Amanda Jensen) from cigar-smoking, baby doll-slinging brat to a caring Mother Mary who cries over her Baby Jesus moved many adults in the audience.
“Amanda a good little actress,” Mero said. “Her work at (drama) camp last summer really paid off.”
The cast performed two stellar shows before packed houses of about 200 each night, the exclamation point provided by Gladys Herdman (Anna Korsmo) playing the angel of the lord, who finally gets her line right.

From top, pageant director Mrs. Bradley (Jo Trozzo) reads the Christmas Story from the Bible to the Herdman kids (left) while Beth Bradley and Alice Wendleken (right, Erica Harris and C.C. Hahn) comment on the play; the town gossips (Nicky Bassett, Kristen Moore, Teslyn Korsmo, Cindy Gaddis, and Jen Haugh) bemoan the upcoming pageant; Imogene and Ralph Herdman (Mary and Joseph, played by Amanda Jensen and Brent Beckner) fight over the Baby Jesus doll; and shepherds and angels (Trevor VanHouten, Max Carlson, Mozelle Nalan, Nikita Ford, and Shelby Surdyk look on Mary (Jensen) and the manger scene.