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'Best Christmas Pageant Ever' not to be missed

Play, an American classic, opens tonight with performances through Dec. 23 at Lakewood Theatre Company

SUBMITTED PHOTO  - Maggie MacKenzie as Gladys in Lakewood Theatre Companys production of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever playing Dec. 17-23. Order tickets online at lakewood-center.org or call 503-635-3901.

“The Best Christmas Pageant Ever,” a delightful family story about the true meaning of Christmas opens at 7:30 p.m. tonight at the Lakewood Theatre Company.

Performances continue through Dec. 23 with evening and matinee shows.

This year marks the 20th time this holiday production has been staged at Lakewood Theatre Company.

The show, directed by Benjamin Tissell, is an adaptation of the popular short story written by Barbara Robinson and originally published by McCall’s Magazine.

The play is about the Herdmans, who were absolutely the worst kids in the history of the world.

They lied and stole and smoked cigars (even the girls), and talked rough and hit little kids and talked back to their teachers. So it surprised just about everybody when they decided to take part in the town’s Christmas pageant.

The Herdman kids had never heard of the Christmas story, but the way they interpreted it, you’d think the story of Jesus came right out of the F.B.I. files. (They called the Wise Men a bunch of dirty spies.)

It was a Christmas pageant to remember. An American classic ... one of the best Christmas stories every told.

Featured performers include Laura Hiszczynskyj as Grace Bradley, Jeremy Southard as Bob Bradley, Madeline Hagood as Beth Bradley and Holden Goyette as Charlie Bradley.

The Herdman children are played by Kaelyn Cahill, Carter Christianson, Alia Cohn, Maggie MacKenzie, Brody Sitton and Declan Southard.

Others in the cast include Chiara Rothenberg as Alice, Dayva Cockrell as Maxine, Adrienne Southard as Mrs. McCarthy, Virginia Kincaid as Mrs. Armstrong, Lalanya Gunn as Mrs. Slocum, Susan Triplett as Mrs. Clausing, Laura Handke as Mrs. Clark, Allen Denison as Rev. Hopkins and Zach Peak as the fireman.

The Angel Choir is composed of Abigail Dixon, Grace Gay, Lauren Hagood, Layla Rosenthal and Phillippa Southard.

Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Dec. 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 and 23. There are also matinees at 2 p.m. Dec. 19 and 20. Running time is approximately one hour and 15 minutes.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for students. Purchase them online at lakewood-center.org or call the box office at 503-635-3901.