Holiday season kicks off with a laugh

Published 6:03 pm Saturday, November 3, 2012

The holiday season comes early to the Historic Paramount Theatre as the Matchbox Children’s Theatre presents Barbara Robinson’s “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” Nov. 9-11.

This tale of  six delinquent children has audiences realizing the true meaning of Christmas. The play focuses on the Herdman family — six kids who are notorious for abusing each other and terrorizing other kids. They smoke, steal, lie and generally create havoc in their town.

The kids end up going to church for the first time when they learn that they serve snacks.

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Despite protests from other church members, the Herdman children end up getting cast in the church’s annual Christmas play. None of the Herdmans has ever heard the Christmas story before.

Their unconventional interpretation makes the pageant the most unusual anyone has seen, and surprisingly possibly the best one ever.

This story was created into an ABC made-for-TV movie in 1983, featuring Loretta Swit of M*A*S*H who starred as Grace Bradley, the woman who ended up directing the Christmas Pageant when the woman who usually does breaks her leg.

Matchbox’s production is directed by Angela Donovan, who directed last summer’s “The Enchantment of Beauty and the Beast” and last year’s “The Magic Flounder.”

The cast features more than 40 local residents, including Peter Torkelson, Jannel Howard, Matt King, Ed Dreyer, Hugh Olson, and Lydia Wik as the Herdman children.

This event is sure to be a great way to start your holidays off right.

Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for children and are available for purchase at Hy-Vee, Paramount Theatre Box Office, and at the door the day of performance.