By Lindsay Owens Times Herald
The Washington Times-Herald
---- — The Veale Creek Theater will be presenting “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” in six weekend performances running through Dec. 1. Friday and Saturday performances will begin at 7 p.m. with Sunday shows starting at 2 p.m.
“The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” is a story about Imogene, Claudia, Ralph, Leroy, Ollie and Gladys Herdman- a group of rambunctious and delinquent children. The Herdman clan decides to go to church after they hear that snacks are served and are shortly after given parts in the Sunday school play, “The Christmas Story”.
The Herdman children turn the classic story into one a little unconventional.
Directed locally by Chrissy Kratochvil, the cast includes local children, many whom have been involved with the theater camp offered at Veale Creek in the summer. “This was one of my favorite books when I was little and I that’s why I really wanted to do direct it this year,” said Kratochvil. “Theater has always been my passion and this is a great way to share my passion with a really great group of kids.”
Those involved with the show have put in countless hours of rehearsal.
Many of the children involved with the performance balance basketball, spell bowl and other school activities as well. Adult leads are played by Todd Hammer and Julie Wadsworth.
“The great thing about this play is it’s all really about the kids. We don’t have a lot of sets,” said Kratochvil.
Anna Barber will play Beth Bradley, the narrator of the play.
“Beth lives in a town with awful kids named the Herdman’s and her mom is put in charge of the Christmas Story for the Sunday school class,” said Barber.
Maxine will be played by Haley Osmon. “Maxine narrates the Christmas Story in the play and she’s fun and outgoing,” Osmon said.
Maddie Medsker landed the part of Beverly. “She’s scared of the Herdmans,” said Medsker. “And she’s quite, kind of like me.”
Charlie, played by Jayden Jones, is described as a “traditional kid”. “He’s bullied by Leroy Herdman who steals his lunch. And Charlie is also the one that tells the Herdman’s you get candy and treats at Sunday school. He’s sort of responsible for the whole mess.”
Elmer, a ministers son, is played by Eli Wilson. “Elmer isn’t afraid to speak his mind to adults but he is afraid of all the Herdmans,” Wilson said.
Alice will be played by Abby Walker who has appeared in other productions at Veale Creek.
The Herdmans, portrayed by Audrey Wright (Claudia), Alexis Dant (Gladys), Eli Jenne (Ollie), Shelby Hammer (Imogene), Colten Godfrey (Ralph), and Gabriel Latham(Leroy), are all described as bad kids and bullies. “Leroy is definitely a bully. He steals people’s lunch,” said Latham, who plays the part. “They (the Herdman kids) all cause a lot of trouble,” said Jenne who plays Ollie Herdman.
Other parts in the play include the firefighter played by Christina McCall and the angels played by Cadence Kratochvil and Jace Hammer.
The Veale Creek Theater is located six miles south of Washington and has taken up residency in a 100-year old school house that has been renovated.
“We have wonderful volunteers and with the help of Day of Caring volunteers, we were able to finish the new ramp and make other improvements to the theater,” said Elke Guratzsch, president of the board of directors. “Our winter show would not be possible without the help of volunteers and Psi Iota Xi sorority. We will also have cookies at the performances provided by Subway.”
Tickets for the show can be purchased at Hibbett Sports in Cherry Tree Plaza and are $10 each. For more information on the Veale Creek Theater call 254-7315, find them on Facebook or visit www.vealecreek.org.