Heartwarming Hilarity in this ‘Christmas Pageant’

The Cary Players rehearse for "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever," which opens Friday at the Cary Arts Center.

This weekend, The Cary Players stage their annual holiday show, “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever,” based on the classic book by Barbara Robinson. This hilarious and heartwarming tale has something for everyone — laughter, Christmas cheer and a heartfelt message.

The plot follows the Herdmans, a family of misfits known as the worst kids in history, as they wreak havoc when they get involved with the annual church Christmas pageant.

The show will be especially appealing for families, says director Shelley Sink, as it has more children in the cast than the Players’ usual productions.

“I think children always bring energy, imagination and an innocence that you don’t get from adults. The children are so delightful and always unpredictable. It’s just been fun for us to be around them,” she said.

Sink has given the story a fresh take by updating the setting from 1970s suburbia to current day with an urban feel. Weaving in new props, costumes and set ideas gives it a modern spark.

“I think everyone will find at least one character that they identify with,” she said. “We have a broad range of actors and characters including silly, prim and proper, and distinguished.  I think what people will enjoy the most however is the constant action and pure entertainment.”

The story’s underlying theme is what appealed to Sink as she directed the play.

“I think the message of the story is, and I would also maybe encourage audience members to look for this, that every single character in the story has a change of heart,” she said. “The characters see things in a new way and they see people in a new way. I think that is a message that we could all use in today’s world, to open our hearts and to see things differently than we’ve seen them before.”

“The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” runs from Friday, Dec. 6, to Monday, Dec. 9, at the Cary Arts Center. Tickets are $17-$20, and are available in person at the Town of Cary box office at The Cary Theater or at caryplayers.org

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