Faith-based group presents a classic Christmas play

Faith-based group presents a classic Christmas play

Cast members April Aspiras, left, Samuel Gonzalez, Cole Kuzma, Samantha Hurst, Deah Bresson and Hayley Sleek.


The Bright Life Players of Wooster will premier their holiday season production of “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” on Sunday, Dec. 2 with the four-show run continuing Dec. 7, 8 and 9. The faith-based theatrical group will present the show at the First Church of God, 1953 Akron Road, Wooster.

“We know this is a really great family show for Christmas that has pretty much everything,” director Maggie Leatherman of Bright Life Players said. “There’s drama, comedy and plenty of fun. And above all the show presents the meaning of Christmas and the birth of the Christ child and reflects the core values of Bright Life Players.”

The show packs a large cast of about 35 performers, 24 of them children. “We began rehearsing a few weeks ago,” Leatherman said, ”at the end of October soon after auditions, and I think it’s going very well. We’re having fun putting it together.”

Bright Life Players is a fairly new addition to the Wooster arts community, forming two years ago. “This is our fourth project in those two years,” Leatherman said. “We have another show planned for the spring, though we haven’t chosen that one yet.”

The play is based on a 1971 book by Barbara Robinson, who also adapted her book for the stage, which premiered in 1982 in Seattle.

The story revolves around six rather delinquent children known as the Herdmans, who get into trouble with their smoking, drinking cheap wine, swearing, shoplifting and generally worrisome behavior.

Attending a church for the first time to get the promised free snacks, they’re drawn into being part of the church Christmas pageant, against the warnings of many of the church members. The Herdmans add their own life experiences in veering from the planned production and learn a few lessons in kindness along the way.

“It seems like the last few weeks of putting a show together, everything happens at once,” Leatherman said of the remaining rehearsal schedule. “But I know it will all come together very nicely.”

Leatherman said she began directing productions at various venues about 15 years ago. “And now I’m glad to be working with Bright Life Players. We’re a faith-based group of people who have a great love for the arts and theater, and this also allows us to do strong mission work and reach out to the community with a positive message.”

The Dec. 2 performance is at 2:30 p.m., the shows scheduled for Dec. 7 and 8 are at 7 p.m., and the final show returns to the 2:30 p.m. slot.

All the net proceeds will directly benefit Habitat for Humanity. “This show is a fundraiser for an important cause in the community, and we feel that is very important,” Leatherman said.

Tickets are $10 each with children 12 and under $7 and a four-pack family block of tickets $30. Tickets are available in advance at First Church of God or at the door.

Past productions by Bright Life Players include “The Littlest Angel,” “Radio Daze” and “Cheaper by the Dozen.”

The group maintains a page on Facebook.

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