The Best Christmas Pageant Ever!
Category: Playbill Illustration
Deadline: Jan 6, 2012 (12 NOON Sharp, EST)
Specs: submission = JPG / 600 X 980 @ 72dpi - RGB
Kids set off Christmas high jinks
The fate of Christmas lies in the hands of a group of children who are definitely on the naughty list - at least onstage.
In the Long Beach Playhouse production “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever,” previewing tonight and opening Saturday, a couple is forced to cast the troublemaking Herdman family in their Christmas pageant.
"The play is about these terrible, terrible children who smoke cigars and beat people up," said Nicole Dominguez, director of the Mainstage show running through Dec. 24. "And basically it’s about what happens when they learn what Christmas means to each of them individually. So they start as these terrible kids and then they kind of make a transformation. It’s really a funny, funny show."
While Christmas may be saved onstage, Dominguez says the company is planning on making it the best holiday experience offstage as well.
There will be a singer in the lobby for a preshow performance and after the show the audience will be led in a Christmas carol sing-along. Santa Claus will make an appearance on some nights.
The show, based on the children’s book by Barbara Robinson, stars Jennifer Moraca as Grace Bradley, along with about 14 children ranging in age from 7 to 11.
One of the young cast is 10-year-old Julia Golison, who plays Gladys Herdman, one of the more rambunctious characters, says Dominguez.
"They describe her as mean, sassy and she bites," said Golison, whose sister Beth is also in the play. “She’s just really crazy.”
This is the first professional play the Long Beach resident has been in outside of a school setting, but she says she has enjoyed the process and looks forward to the actual performances.
Golison says she loves everything about acting, but her favorite part about being in this particular show is how crazy her character acts.
Working with so many children can get a little crazy too, though Dominguez says she has found a way to handle it all.
"If you treat kids like they’re adults - not that they’re adults, but that they know what they’re doing - and you have confidence in them, it’s actually a lot easier than I thought," she said.
"I mean, there are stressing times getting kids to calm down, but for some reason these kids, they listen to me. Maybe it’s because I’m so tall. But they are well-behaved kids. And they get it. The first day, I said, `It’s a privilege to be at the theater, it’s a privilege to do theater.’ And I think they really took that to heart."
This is the first play Dominguez has directed for the Long Beach Playhouse, though she has directed six shows elsewhere this year. And out of all of them, she says, this is her favorite.
While it’s kid friendly, she says adults will like it too because it’s a fun, positive play that will put audiences in the holiday spirit.
"It’s not a very long show, but it is a full night of theater, and when I watch it or while I’m directing it, it makes me grin," Dominguez said. "It’s so much fun to watch these kids put on this terrible Christmas pageant that ends up being really wonderful."
*note - Playbill is not associated in this whatsoever. This is strictly for fun!