Tryouts set for ‘Best Christmas Pageant Ever’

Tribune staff reports

Jackson County Community Theatre will hold auditions at 7 p.m. Oct. 10 and 11 for the next show in the 2016-17 season, “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever,” at Royal-Off-the-Square Theatre, 121 W. Walnut St., in Brownstown.

Parts are available for four adult males, six adult females, eight boys, nine girls and extras.

The play, based on the book by Barbara Robinson, tells the story of a couple trying to stage a Christmas pageant faced with casting the six delinquent children of the Herdman family. It will be performed Dec. 2, 4, 9 and 11.

The unruly children decide to attend church after discovering that snacks are available. Possibly the most inventively awful kids in history, the children engage in all sorts of bad behavior. Despite protests from church members, they are given roles in the Christmas play, where they tell the Christmas story in a most unconventional fashion. This play has become a Christmas classic.

Principle characters are the Bradley family: Father, a solid family man, 35 to 38; Mother, a trim, attractive woman of about 35; son Charlie, about 9, the traditional kid brother; daughter Beth, 10 or 11, a strong presence who acts as the narrator; the six unruly Herdman children: Ralph, with ragged, scroungy, slouching manner and a touch of adolescent cool, a boy of 12; Imogene, a loud, bossy, crafty girl of 11; Leroy, a tough, cocksure boy of 10; Claude, a tough, combative boy of 9; Ollie, Claude’s usual partner in crime always looking for trouble, a boy of 8; and Gladys, a small, wiry, feisty girl of 7. Ages are approximate.

Other children’s roles are Alice Wendleken, a prim, proper girl of 10; Maxine, 11; Beverly, 8; Shirley and Juanita; Doris, 10; Elmer Hopkins, 13; Hobie, 10; and David.

Other adult roles are Mrs. Armstrong, a largish woman, managerial in voice and manner, about 50; Mrs. Slocum, a pleasant, motherly woman, 35 to 60; Mrs. McCarthy, a younger, less imperious version of Mrs. Armstrong, mid-40s; Mrs. Clark and Mrs. Clausing, women of 35 to 60; two firemen of 25 to 30; and Reverend Hopkins, 40s.

Extra angel choir members, baby angels and shepherds also are needed. These are non-speaking parts but will require singing in some roles.

Nina Peterson will direct. Peterson is new to JCCT but a veteran theater director from Little Theatre of Bedford. Stephanie Lewis will be assistant director.

Rehearsals will be from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Everyone is expected to attend all rehearsals. Parents of young children are expected to remain during rehearsals and are encouraged to help in some capacity if able.

JCCT policy requires all participants in a play be members of the organization. A minimum membership is $5 for an individual or $10 for a family. For those not already members for the 2016-17 season, forms will be available at tryouts.

The JCCT season is sponsored in part by a grant from the Indiana Arts Commission.