The Herdmans — (clockwise from left) Alyx Villalobos, Leif Winter, Annie Brediger, Derek Greene, Michelle Hall, and Amaya Villalobos — wreak havoc on Christmas in “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever: The Musical,” playing at Red Curtain Arts Center in Marysville. (Larry T. Lisk)

The Herdmans — (clockwise from left) Alyx Villalobos, Leif Winter, Annie Brediger, Derek Greene, Michelle Hall, and Amaya Villalobos — wreak havoc on Christmas in “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever: The Musical,” playing at Red Curtain Arts Center in Marysville. (Larry T. Lisk)

This play promises to be the ‘Best Christmas Pageant Ever’

The Red Curtain theater in Marysville says the show could be your new family holiday tradition.

A lot of our holiday celebrations include those rituals we do every year — singing Christmas carols or watching “A Christmas Story.”

Red Curtain Foundation for the Arts in Marysville is providing a new family holiday tradition with its production of “Best Christmas Pageant Ever: The Musical.”

“There are many people who see live plays at Christmas and not at any other time,” said Beckye Randall, who directs the play. “It’s fun to have something families can enjoy together.”

Randall said she lobbied to have the play performed this year and looked forward to directing it. The theater company runs classes for kids and teens, but they don’t have opportunities for them to perform in plays, she said.

This play has roles for a dozen kids (and seven adults). Two of the leading roles are played by Alyx Villalobis, a 14-year-old who is home-schooled but participates in Cedarcrest Middle School’s drama program, and Annie Brediger, a Cedarcrest student who performed in the school’s recent production of “Annie.”

Randall calls them local theater stars in their own right.

Both students play members of the Herdman family, a group of six brothers and sisters who live on the wrong side of the tracks and “are kind of shunned by the rest of the town,” Randall said.

Their mom, a single mother, works a lot. The kids are left on their own and turn to bullying and getting into trouble.

When they decide to crash the town’s Christmas pageant, the town panics.

The play is based on a book of the same name written by Barbara Robinson in the 1960s. It was transformed into a stage play in the 1980s, but a newer musical version has only been available to be produced for about five years, Randall said.

It still is set in the 1960s, so look for bouffant hairdos, saddle shoes and other cultural touchstones. Ten catchy songs will set toes to tapping.

“It’s a very accessible musical,” Randall said. “It doesn’t take a lot of theater knowledge to enjoy it. Just come watch it and have fun.”

The play opened last weekend to sold-out performances on two of its three days of performances.

Kids as young as 5 were in the audience. “If a child can sit through an hour-long movie, they would understand the story and enjoy the music and live action,” Randall said.

For all its fun, the play does have some themes she hopes audience members will take home with them.

“It’s about friendship and getting to know people who are maybe a little different from you and reaching out your hand to others,” Randall said. “I think it has a really great, loving, friendly message.”

People will likely leave the theater with a smile. The ending song is uplifting and joyous, she said.

“It makes your heart want to sing — a happy ending.”

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or salyer@heraldnet.com. If you go

“Best Christmas Pageant Ever: The Musical” runs through Dec. 15 at Red Curtain Arts Center, 9315 State Ave. Suite J, in Marysville. Performances are at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $20 for adults, $17 for seniors, students and military personnel and $10 for kids 12 and younger. Tickets are available online at tinyurl.com/TheBestTickets or by phone at 360-322-7402.

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