This family-friendly production will be staged Dec. 9-11 and 15-17.
Adapted from the best-selling young adult book by Barbara Robinson, the classic holiday comedy is about a couple struggling to put on a church Christmas pageant when they are faced with casting the Herdman kids, who have a reputation for being the most inventively awful kids in the neighborhood. The story features plenty of laughs while keeping in mind the true meaning of Christmas.
Directed by Rob Andersen and assisted by Darcie Beekman, the play features a cast of more than 30 adults and youth. The lead character and narrator of the story, Beth Bradley, is portrayed by Mona Shores student Emily Mann, who earned a Best Actress trophy at the group’s annual awards ceremony for her portrayal of the lead role in last season’s “The Diary of Anne Frank,” as well as for her portrayal of Puck in the Players’ 2014-15 season production of “Midsummer Jersey.”
Little brother Charlie Bradley is played by Leo Ackerman. The Bradley family parents are portrayed by Brian Cleveland as Bob Bradley and Cindy Jarvis as Grace Bradley. Adam MacLeod, Hallie Ackerman, Jackson Rajski, Hudson Shake, Lucy Ackerman and Naomi Jarvis play the troublesome Herdman gang.
Other youth players include Katie Glasgow, Gabi Tomes, Kyle Goltz, Adele Heavilin, Davis Heavilin, Annika Cleveland, Sofia Polston, Keira Staley, Brenna Staley, Rowynn Staley, Shelby Hayes, Keely Ackerman, Lucy Fett, Marin Keeler, Grace Prince and Sophia Koches.
Lisa Longpre, Tammy Shake, Shawn Epps, Gretchen Fields and Emily Staley play a gossipy band of church ladies; Bruce Baker plays the Rev. Hopkins; and the adult cast is rounded out by Anna Wolffis and Cameron Riley.
“The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” was last performed by the Central Park Players eight years ago on the Community Center stage, which was the last time the troupe performed a holiday production at that venue.
“It just seemed like a fitting way, not only to ring in the holidays, but to continue to celebrate our return the Community Center,” said CPP President Michelle Prince, who is also the show’s producer.
Holiday productions typically sell well, so reservations are recommended. Reserved seating tickets can be purchased on the CPP website at www.centralparkplayers.org, over the phone at 616-843-3906 or at the door, as available. Tickers are $12 for adults, $10 for students and senior citizens, plus a $1 facility fee per ticket.