THE BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER: THE MUSICAL
Book and Lyrics Music and Lyrics
Jahnna Beecham Malcolm Hillgartner
Based on the play and book by Barbara Robinson
Musical Arrangements/Orchestrations Deborah Wicks La Puma
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever: The Musical is the story of the Herdmans, who are the worst kids in the history of the world. They lie, they steal, they bully other kids, and they smoke smelly cigars. There used to be only one place where you’d never see them—church. This all changes when Charlie Bradley brags that his Sunday school offers free snacks. All six of the Herdmans show up at church in search of pizza, cookies and Hawaiian Punch, and end up in the Christmas pageant. Charlie’s mom, Grace, is the novice director, who not only casts them in the show but, much to the dismay of the other kids, let’s them play all the leads. Grace instantly finds herself caught between two forces of nature—the Herdmans and Helen Armstrong, who speaks for all of the outraged citizens of the town. Grace has two choices: get rid of the Herdmans, or let them stay and risk being blamed for the worst pageant in the history of the world.
(Based on the best-selling book and play, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson)
Adults: 5 W, 2 M
Kids: 5 G, 7 B
Possible to enlarge cast to 30 or 40
Scored for keyboards/guitar/bass/drums/reeds
Piano/vocal score available
Unit Set: A single set can be used to be the church, the lunchroom, the Bradley Home and Hospital with the addition of chairs, tables, a podium and hospital bed.
The Herdman Kids:
Ralph – the oldest and coolest. He’s the enforcer, 13
Imogene – leader of the Herdmans. She’s loud, bossy, and crafty, 12
Leroy – Ralph’s back-up. Very confident in the muscle department, 11
Claude – scrappy and smart, 10
Ollie – a bit of a naïve urchin who follows the older boys’ leads, 9
Gladys – little but fierce. Nothing scares Gladys, 8
Grace – sweet, good-humored, slightly frazzled mom, 35 to 40ish.
Bob – easy-going dad, wry sense of humor, 35 to 40ish
Charlie – typical kid brother, says what he thinks, 10
Beth – Charlie’s older, and wiser sister. She’s honest and kind, 11
Helen Armstrong – organized steamroller. She’s always in charge, 40 to 50ish
Reverend Hopkins – occasionally befuddled, always well-meaning, 40 to 50ish
Luanne – sassy, tells it like it is, 35 to 40ish
Betty – sweet southerner, calls everyone “honey,” 30 to 40ish
Connie – direct, no nonsense type, 30 to 40ish
Alice Wendleken – know-it-all. She thinks she’s perfect, 11
Elmer Hopkins – preacher’s kid, which means he needs to behave and be nice, 10
Teddy Shoemaker – wimpy kid with glasses, asks too many questions, 9
Ivy Reed – Beth’s earnest friend who is sometimes a goody-goody, 11
Other kids (optional):
Various kids can play angels and shepherds in the pageant, and other kids in the lunchroom.
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever: The Musical opened November 25, 2017 at Children’s Theatre of Charlotte in North Carolina. It was directed by Adam Burke, choreographed by Ron Chisholm, and music directed by Mike Wilkins. Tom Burch designed sets, Magda Guichard designed costumes, David Fillmore designed lights, and Jason Romney sound. Hazel Doherty was stage manager.