Alder stages ‘The Best Christmas Pageant Ever’

Messenger photo by Kristy Zurbrick Playing the Herdmans, the worst kids in the world, in Jonathan Alder’s production of “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever,” are: (from left) Tyler Hicks as Ralph, Kylie Fisher as Imogene, Nehemiah Haines as Leroy, Gabby Pollom as Ollie, and Sydney Winslow as Gladys.
Messenger photo by Kristy Zurbrick
Playing the Herdmans, the worst kids in the world, in Jonathan Alder’s production of “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever,” are: (from left) Tyler Hicks as Ralph, Kylie Fisher as Imogene, Nehemiah Haines as Leroy, Gabby Pollom as Ollie, and Sydney Winslow as Gladys.

(Posted Nov. 10, 2016)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

Jonathan Alder High School’s drama crew got into the holiday spirit early this year and hopes to spread the joy—and mayhem—to audiences Nov. 18-20.

“The Best Christmas Pageant Ever,” a play by Barbara Robinson, centers on the Herdmans—the worst kids in the world. They curse, shoplift, and smoke cigars. When they show up at church one Sunday and get parts in the annual Christmas pageant, chaos ensues.

“It’s a great show—family friendly and holiday oriented,” said director Stephanie Tinberg. “We’re going all out to create a festive atmosphere. We’ll have Christmas music playing and decorations. And the National Honor Society will be selling Christmas cookies in the lobby.”

Tinberg is happy with how her student-actors are handling the material, and happy that more of them are getting a chance to be on stage.

“We had a really big turnout for auditions for last year’s show, but it only called for a small cast. So, this year, I wanted a play that would include more cast members,” she said.

Twenty-strong, this year’s cast includes a mix of experienced and new actors, as well as two students from the junior high. Among the stage veterans are a trio of seniors who really shine in their parts.

“Emma Hawkins plays Grace Bradley, the pageant director. She amazed me from day one. She got into her character right away,” Tinberg said. “She plays a mom in the show and, because she’s so good with everyone on stage, she’s like the mom of the cast.”

Jordan Ballard has appeared in several musicals and plays at Jonathan Alder. For “Best Christmas Pageant Ever,” she plays the narrator.

“Jordan has a really great speaking voice. She’s easy to listen, so that’s why I chose her as the narrator. She’s a good storyteller,” Tinberg said.

Kylie Fisher is having fun with her part as Imogene, one of the older Herdman children, who ends up playing Mary in the pageant.

“Right from auditions, Kylie had the character down with dry, sarcastic wit and sassy attitude. I could not imagine anyone else doing that part,” Tinberg said.

The cast as a whole looks forward to making audiences laugh. Showtimes are 7 p.m. Nov. 18-19 and 1 p.m. Nov. 20. Admission is available at the door only: $10 for adults, $7 for students and senior citizens; and $5 for children.

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