The Best Christmas Pageant Ever


Writers: Barbara Robinson


Show Information

Based On Book By
Based on the Play/Book/Film
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
Number of Acts
First Produced
Period, Contemporary, Multiple Settings
Time & Place
1970s, 1980s, contemporary, the bradley home, a church, a hospital
Cast Size
Ideal for
Community Theatre, Diverse Cast, Elementary School, Ensemble Cast, High School, Large Cast, Middle School, Religious Groups, Theatre For Young Audiences (TYA)/Children's
Casting Notes
Mostly female cast
Includes child, adult, early teen, mature adult, young adult characters


Beth Bradley’s church’s Christmas pageant is predictable every year -- the angel choir wears too much lipstick, the shepherds are all in their father’s bathrobes, the minister’s son is permanently cast in the role of Joseph -- hardly “four-star entertainment.” But when seasoned and authoritative pageant director Mrs. Armstrong breaks her leg, it is up to Beth’s inexperienced mother Grace to step in. The timing couldn’t be worse, as the rambunctious Herdman children, a rough and tough group of siblings from the wrong side of the tracks, descend upon the pageant, lured by the promise of free dessert at Sunday school, and determined to win all the lead roles for themselves. The Ladies’ Aid Society members are beside themselves with disapproval, all the shepherds quit because Gladys Herdman “hits too hard”, the show is briefly re-titled “Revenge at Bethlehem”, and the church catches on fire. But Beth and her community watch in surprise as the same old Christmas story is rejuvenated by the creativity, energy, and unexpected sincerity of a misunderstood young family. Mary Robinson’s The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, based on her novel of the same name, is a widely beloved Christmas tale, warm and incredibly funny, full of characters both relatable and utterly unique. The large cast and age range make this show a community favorite, in which a varied, multi-generational group of performers can come together.

Lead Characters

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever guide sections