River Company at Skidompha Library, at 184 Main St. in Damariscotta, is delighted to announce the opening of the hilarious Christmas classic “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever,” by Barbara Robinson.
When the church lady Mrs. Armstrong (played by Charlotte Price), who “runs everything,” has an accident and cannot direct the annual show, Grace Bradley is tapped by the community to step in. She struggles to put on the church Christmas pageant and is faced with casting the Herdman kids – probably the most inventively awful kids in history.
The mayhem and the fun when the Herdmans collide with the Christmas story head on makes “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” a treat for the whole family.
Will Grace prevent the Herdmans from ruining the pageant? Will Imogene stop smoking cigars in the church restroom? Will Gladys the angel get the shepherds to the manger on time? After all, there’s no biting in Bethlehem.
The cast of “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” includes many families and generations. Producer Allison Eddyblouin also plays the part of Grace. Her husband, John Eddyblouin, has taken the role of Bob Bradley, a reluctant assistant to Grace, in what might possibly be a bit of typecasting by director Ellie Busby.
“Every member of the Eddyblouin family currently living in Maine is in the show,” said Busby, “It’s a perfect play for a whole family to see, or in this case, be in.”
Averagus Eddyblouin plays Charlie Bradley, Thaddeus Eddyblouin is Ralph Herdman; Blaise Eddyblouin is Ollie Herdman, and Agnes Eddyblouin is a baby angel. The oldest Eddyblouin son, John Henry, is acting as technical director for the show.
The Neptune/Benner clan brings up a close second in family participation. Cassandra Neptune-Benner (Mrs. Slocum) and her daughters Marley Neptune-Benner (Alice Wendelken), Lila Neptune-Benner (Maxine), and Ellie James Neptune-Benner (Ellie) enlisted cousin Oddysseus Neptune to play Hobie Clark.
Wyatt Sykes (Elmer) and his mother, Robyn Sykes (Mrs. Clark); Lilly Mae Awamleh (Imogene Herdman) and her mother, Elizabeth Awamleh (Mrs. Clausing); Reese Nelson (Gladys Herdman) and her sister, Sloan Nelson (baby angel); and Mercy Buchwalder and Clare Buchwalder (angels) complete the family groups.
The story is a memory piece narrated by Beth Bradley (Ivy Rose Laasko) as she reflects on the mayhem and magic of that very special pageant. The Rev. Hopkins (Kim Fletcher Smith) must hold together the horrified church ladies, played by Cynthia Seigers (Mrs Wendelken) and Christine Anderson (Mrs. McCarthy).
Rounding out the cast are Eli Jones, Willow Moores, Cathy Jones, Jay Glendenning, Rohan Glendenning, and baby angels Charlotte Ramsdell and Jade Liu.
The production will benefit Feed Our Scholars programs in Lincoln County. These programs provide food for students on weekends and vacations when good food might be scarce at home. In this time of celebrating plenty, River Company chose to benefit these programs and share the bounty.
The show opens on Wednesday, Nov. 28 at 7:30 p.m. and continues Nov. 29 and 30, and Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m. There will be one matinee, on Sunday, Dec. 2 at 3 p.m.
Tickets are available at rivercompany.ticketspice.com/pageant or at the door. Suggested donations are $10 for regular admission, $5 for students/children, and $20 for a family admission.