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Christmas laughs, hope at New Depot Players Best Christmas Pageant Ever
Best Christmas Pageant Ever

Just in time to learn the true meaning of Christmas, The New Depot Players reprise the holiday misfit favorite, "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever," Dec. 12-14 at the Rockdale Auditorium

This comedic tale follows the trials and tribulations of a church play that casts the town-terrors, the Herdman children, into the central roles in the story of Jesus's birth. Mayhem and hilarity ensue.

"The Herdman children are six of the worst behaved, most devious and utterly demonic children in history," said Tom Johnson, director of the play and President of the New Depot Players. "They start fights, shoot spitballs, bully every kid at school, smoke cigars in the bathroom (even the girls), vandalize private property and make life miserable for everyone around them."

And yet, it takes The Herdmans to make the community come to grips with the true meaning of Christmas and what loving thy neighbor is all about. This delightful comedy is adapted from the 1971 best-selling young adult book by Barbara Robinson and has become a holiday staple.

For Johnson, "This is a show of ‘firsts.' And this show, like the other shows I have directed, is built on finding new people to share in my passion. Of the entire cast, only Scott Mills and Lorna Shea have ever performed on stage in a New Depot Players production. That's a bigger first for me, usually it's only a few newcomers. And this show is going to be a really great little show. And it will be weird, too. Because my wife, Amy, is performing center stage at OnStage Atlanta and won't be here for opening night. That's another first. And the other first is that I get to watch my daughter McKenzie finally find her mark on stage with the New Depot Players."

The show's cast includes: Bob Bradley (Scott Mills), Grace Bradley (Beth Clark), Beth Bradley (McKenzie Johnson), Charlie Bradley (Sam Clark), Ralph Herdman (Dustin Freeman), Imogene Herdman (Isabella Rogers), Leroy Herdman (Jacob Vanegas), Claudia Herdman (McKayla McKinney), Olive Herdman (Charlotte Thompson), Gladys Herdman (Lily Rogers), Alice Wendelken (Ally Perkins), Maxine (Megan McKneely), Ellen Hopkins (Kelsey Deleshaw), Hobie (Maddie McKinney), Dena (Tyler Morrison), Beverly (Paige Tucker), Stephen (Champion Dent), Dennis (Malik Tucker), Reverend Hopkins (Lorna Shea), Helen Armstrong (Yolanda Adams), Irma Slocum (Lara McKinney), Edna McCarthy (Elizabeth Thompson), Firemen (Rockdale County Firefighters), with special guest performers each show. Crew includes Stage Manager Amy Simerly, Props Manager Willa Kerr, Sound Operator Trini Otero, Lights operator Tyson White.

There's a limited run, so make sure to get your tickets before they're sold out. The show is onstage at the Rockdale Auditorium, 903 Main Street, on Friday, Dec. 12, and Saturday, Dec. 13, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 14, at 3 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for senior citizens age 60 and over and for students with a valid ID. To purchase tickets or for more information on upcoming production, go to

Auditions for the next New Depot Players production will be held Dec. 14 and 15 at 7 p.m. for roles in The Diviners, by Jim Leonard Jr. and directed by Jay Tryall. Actors are needed for six male roles and five female roles. Performances will run Feb. 26-March 8.