|11/20/2013 6:00:00 AM|
Mostly children in Christmas play
By STEVEN THOMAS
|The cast of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever are front, from left, Andrew Moody, Brian Pace, Max Weir, Isaac McCown, Maggie Taylor, Hattie Hicks, Sarah Alice Fulton, Rose McCown, Laurel Richmond and Marley Johnson; second row, Molly Kuntz, Mary Kate Moran, Lily McCown, Sophia Meruvia, Faith Walker, Zoie Henson, Kaitlyn Mooney, Jacob Hancock and Emma Taylor; third row, Charlie Chalmers, Kinsey Goldman, Janet Jay, Edith Michalovic, Janet Warren, Rozane Fulton, Shannon Morrow, Zach Horne and Destiny Files; and back, directors Andrea and Tim Moore. Not pictured is Wesley Boykin.|
A 35-member cast, composed mostly of children, will be a part of "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever," which takes the Ellis Theater stage later this week.
The Philadelphia-Neshoba County Arts Council will present four performances of the popular Christmas play starting Thursday at 7 p.m.
Other performances will be Saturday at 2 and 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.
Tickets will be $10 for adults and $5 for children up to 12th grade.
Arts Council President Tim Moore and his wife, Andrea, are directing the play, which tells the story of Imogene, Claude, Ralph, Leroy, Ollie, and Gladys Herdman, who go to church for the first time after being told that the church offers snacks.
Despite protests from other church members, they are given roles in the Sunday school's Christmas play, in which they tell the Christmas story in a nonconventional fashion.
Featuring a 35-member cast consisting mostly of children, Moore said the cast, mostly children, is excited.
"They have gotten into their characters," he said with a laugh. "It's mostly kids from ages 4 to 55."
Many of the cast members are new to the stage, however, theater goers will see a few familiar faces.
"It took the kids playing the Herdmans a while to get into their roles," Moore said. "Their parts were so far out of their comfort zones."
The decision to tell this story came after Moore realized that a play for kids had not been produced in awhile.
"The past five plays have been for adults and teens," he said. "It was time to do one for kids."
The Arts Council initially featured The Best Christmas Pageant Ever in the 1990s, Moore noted.
"This will be something different to get the holiday season kicked off," he said.
Moore noted that his favorite scene is when the kids finally put on the Christmas pageant.
"It's one of my favorite scenes," he said. "It's sure to get a laugh."
The Arts Council is also gearing up for their first performance of 2014 "Seussical the Musical." It will also be directed by the Moores.
It will be based on the works of Dr. Seuss, he said.
"You'll see characters like The Cat in the Hat, Horton from Horton Hears a Who and Sam I Am from Green Eggs and Ham," he said.
Auditions for this performance will be held in December.