C.A.T.S. bring ‘Best Pageant’ back to Colonial

Back by popular demand this holiday season, the Colonial Actors Theatre Society (C.A.T.S.) at South Hill’s Colonial Theatre will present five public performances of “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever,” in addition to several performances open to local school children only.
After a wildly successful run at the Colonial in 2011, the C.A.T.S. brought back the hilarious holiday comedy as part of its 2016 lineup shows for its fifth anniversary season.
“The Best Christmas Pageant Ever,” which features a large cast, includes nearly 40 roles, with fewer than 10 of those roles being portrayed by adults. That means about 75 percent of the cast features local, talented child actors and singers.
“It’s been a lot of fun working with all these kids,” said Reb Kirker, who portrays Mrs. Irma Slocum in the C.A.T.S. production and is the mother to one of the leading child actresses.
The perfectly cast show, directed by the Colonial’s Doug Wright, offers nearly a dozen lead roles, which are being portrayed by Kris and Scott Walker, Lexy Sjurseth, Kyle Powell, Ethan Silva, Juliette Kirker, Jackson Childers, Harry Montgomery, Kai Coronas, Molly Kalua and Jordyn Strickland.
The popular play will offer plenty of opportunities for the audience to laugh, as it follows mother Grace Bradley (Kris Walker) as she gets thrust into organizing the local church’s annual Christmas pageant after the pageant’s usual organizer, Mrs. Armstrong (Cynthia Silva), breaks her leg and opts out for the year.
Grace’s husband, Bob (played by Kris’s real-life husband, Scott Walker) and her children Beth (Sjurseth) and Charlie (Powell) are recruited to help, and all seems like it will go fairly smoothly until a local set of siblings, the Herdmans, who are possibly “the worst kids in the history of the world” are misinformed by Charlie that children are given all the sweets and treats they want in church, prompting the quintet of misbehaved siblings to join the church production.
With the Herdmans oblivious to the Christmas story and the birth of Jesus Christ, Mrs. Armstrong, antagonizing and criticizing Grace’s choices every step of the way, Bob constantly trying to get out of attending the event, Beth’s prissy friend Alice Wendelken (Jordyn Strickland) sitting in constant judgment after being pushed out of her desired role as Mary, and the rest of the churchgoing cast of children so terrified of the Herdmans that they try to abandon the play, the C.A.T.S. cast embarks on a hilarious journey to smooth the rough edges of the five Herdman siblings — Ralph (Silva), Imogene (Kirker), Leroy (Childers), Ollie (Coronas) and Gladys (Kalua), and make the pageant “the best ever.”
“This is a great family show with a great cast and a super director,” Reb Kirker said. “I think anyone who comes out will have a lot of fun. And it’s just in time for Christmas!”
The play, based on the children’s book of the same name by Barbara Robinson, opens Friday and offers five public performances on Dec. 2, 3, 9 and 10 at 8 p.m. and a Sunday matinee on Dec. 11 at 2:30 p.m.
For tickets or more information, call or visit the theatre’s box office during its hours of operation, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. The theatre is located at 220 S. Mecklenburg Avenue in South Hill and can be reached by phone by dialing (434) 262-4170. You can also visit the theatre’s website www.colonialcenterva.org to purchase tickets.
This show is being sponsored by The Town of South Hill and the South Hill Chamber of Commerce.