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SHOW GUIDE: The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

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It’s almost time for our next production, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, a new musical adaptation of the hilarious Christmas comedy classic story by Barbara Robinson! We’ve assembled some special information to help you and your family to get ready for the upcoming performance. Before you go to the show, you might want to take a few moments to review this “Know Before You Go” Guide so everyone will know what to expect
from the performance!



The Story You Will See

In the small Southern Ohio town where they live, everyone knows The Herdmans: the six surly siblings have a terrible
reputation for being “The Worst Kids in the History of the World,” especially among the members of the elementary school set they regularly bully and harass.

The one refuge that Beth and Charlie Bradley and their friends have is church — a place where the Herdmans never show their faces. But when the neighborhood terrors find out that there are FREE sweets available at Sunday School, they are immediately interested.

Meanwhile, Beth and Charlie’s mom, Grace, has been drafted to direct the annual church Christmas pageant because the founding director, Helen Armstrong, has had an accident that puts her in the hospital.

When the Herdmans show up to the Christmas pageant auditions and threaten the other young actors, suddenly Charlie and Beth find they will be sharing the stage with their arch nemeses in a very untraditional version of the Nativity story!

Will the Herdmans ruin the annual pageant with their usual mean-spirited
antics? Will Grace be able to get the pageant to the stage with or without the support of the other church ladies? Will everyone come together to remember what the true spirit of the season is all about? Or maybe—just maybe—will the Herdmans manage to make this The Best Christmas Pageant EVER?

Sponsored by:
Dec 1-23 | Best for ages 5+ | 2 hours + intermission | Rose members receive discounted tickets
The Characters You Will Meet
  • THE BRADLEYS—a fairly typical family (if there is such a thing) that lives in a small town in Southern Ohio in the 1960s. Grace is married to Bob and they have two kids, Beth and Charlie. Grace does a lot
    of volunteer work at their church and school, and she gets drafted to take over the annual church Christmas Pageant (a staging of the Nativity story) when the longtime director is unable to direct due to an injury
  • THE HERDMANS—A family with a whole bunch of kids (Ralph, Imogene, Leroy, Claude, Ollie & Gladys) who have the reputation for being “the worst kids in the history of the world.” They are known for being the neighborhood bullies and general troublemakers, but there may be more to them than the other families realize.
  • HELEN ARMSTRONG—Helen is a very active church volunteer who heads up many important projects at the church, including the food drive, the auction, the church bazaar, and, of
    course, the annual Christmas Pageant. She has many regular volunteer helpers among the CHURCH LADIES (including, Luanne, Betty, and Connie). When Grace forgets to show up to help Helen move some heavy equipment, Helen falls and injures herself. Because her injuries prevent her from directing the pageant, Helen “guilts” Grace into taking over
  • REVEREND HOPKINS—The leader of the local church who tries to do his job well and sometimes has to remind certain members of his congregation what their work is supposed to be about.
  • THE PAGEANT KIDS—a group of regular Sunday School students who are expected to be a part of the annual pageant each December. Most of them have had a least one bad “run-in” with the Herdman kids at school or in the neighborhood.
  • Various other TOWNSPEOPLE who are involved with—or just can’t wait to see—this year’s sure-to-be-exciting Christmas Pageant!

Know Before You Go
Here are some things your family might like to “Know Before You Go”:
  • The Herdman children are definitely not the best role models. Even if some of their reputation may be the result of a lot of gossip and exaggeration, they still exhibit terrible behavior like stealing, fighting, bullying, and being terribly disrespectful. In the story there are even references to when they “spit and cuss” and “smoke smelly cigars”! Most young audience members will find their antics very
    funny…which may be good or bad!

  • The original version of this story takes place about 50 years ago in the 1960s. So some of the characters and situations in the story may seem a bit old-fashioned and even “dated.”
  • The “Christmas Pageant” in the story is a church play about the Nativity story. The children and adults involved with the pageant talk about some of the specific elements of the story as they are explaining who Mary and Joseph are and why they chose to have their baby, Jesus, in a manger in a barn. If your children do not know this story from the Bible, they may experience a little confusion or have some questions.
  • If your family does know the story of the Nativity, they may still be confused by some of the Herdman kids’ interpretations of the story. They have never heard the story of the birth of Jesus before and they certainly have their own way of seeing the world. Their questions and statements may strike some as a bit irreverent.

From Story to Stage

  • The original story of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever was published in 1971 by Barbara Robinson. Robinson first published the story in McCall’s magazine before it was adapted into a book, which sold over 800,000 copies. In Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, the book is titled The Worst Kids in the World!. 
  • The book was adapted by Robinson into a play which was first performed on November 26, 1982 by the Seattle Children’s Theatre. In November 2016, the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte in Charlotte, NC, premiered The Best Christmas Pageant Ever: The Musical written by Jahnna Beecham and Malcolm Hillgartener and featuring a cast of both student and professional adult actors. The musical had the highest ticket sales of any show in the theatre’s history, causing CTC to remount the show in the 2017 season. 
  • The Herdmans were also featured in two sequels, The Best Halloween Ever! and The Best School Year Ever.

Public parking is available in the Douglas County parking garage at 1910 Harney Street (19th & Harney Streets). During mainstage performances at The
Rose, the cost is a flat rate of $2, courtesy of the Omaha Douglas Public Building Commission. During all other times, the cost is $1.50 for the first hour and $1.25 for each additional hour.

Parking meters adjacent to The Rose Theater are active from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Saturday. The cost is $1.25 per hour. Metered parking spots are free on Sundays and holidays. Many of the parking meters around the theater are connected to the Park Omaha app, available as a free
download for Apple and Android devices.


in the Wells Fargo parking lot on Farnam Street.

While at The Rose
Have a Refreshment!
Cookies, soft drinks and water will be available at intermission. All items cost $1 and the proceeds go to support educational programs at The Rose.
Join Our Post-Performance
Q&A Session!
A few minutes after the performance, our actors will conduct a Question & Answer session from the stage. It’s a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the scenery, costumes, special effects, and other aspects of the production. The actors may even have a question or two for you about the story.Meet the Cast & Get an Autograph!
Some performers will be available after the show to say hello, pose in pictures, and sign their autographs for you. You can meet them on the mezzanine level right outside the entrance to our balcony level seats.
Take Home a Souvenir!
The Rose Guild presents a souvenir stand before and after each performance offering a variety of fun and inexpensive show-related mementos. The proceeds help to support the great education programs at The Rose Theater!


The Rose Theater
2001 Farnam Street
Omaha, Nebraska 68102



Wait, There’s More!

Grab a Theater Class Brochure!

If you like what you saw on the stage and think you’d like to be a part of it, try taking a theater class here at The Rose Theater. We offer a wide range of arts classes for every interest and experience level.
Please visit our website to read director’s notes and view production photos.

Box Office Assistance

The Rose Box Office is open Monday through
Friday from 9 am to 4:30 pm at (402) 345-4849. Information and ticketing is also available online at the-rose.local.





The Rose Theater, 2001 Farnam Street, Omaha, NE 68102, United States




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