Christmas Classic Comes To The Hilltop

Photo Provided West Liberty University will stage “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” this weekend and next in Kelly Theatre. Standing right is Ingrid Young as Grace Bradley and left is Sarah Lemley as Beth Bradley; seated are Anthony Hood as Ralph Herdsman and Callie Carroll as Imogene Herdman, and on the floor is Autumn Carver as Claudia Herdman.

WEST LIBERTY — West Liberty University’s Hilltop Players return to the stage with one of the biggest productions in the history of the WLU theater program, “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.” The Christmas classic will open at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Kelly Theatre with additional performances at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Dec. 7-9, and 3 p.m. Dec.10.

Barbara Robinson’s “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” tells a story of six misbehaving children realizing the true meaning of Christmas after being assigned roles in a Sunday school’s unconventional Christmas play. After publishing the tale as a short story in McCall’s magazine in 1970, then as a children’s book in 1972, Robinson adapted it for stage in 1982.

The popularity of the play increased student interest in the production on the Hilltop, according to WLU professor Michael Aulick, who is the theater director. As a result, more than 40 people were cast for the upcoming play.

“In an effort to get as many people involved as possible, the WLU Theatre program has cast the play twice. It is one of the biggest projects we have done,” he said.

Students were divided into a Christmas cast and a Pageant cast with some students taking part in both casts.

Assistant director for the production is WLU senior theater and biology major Alex Franke of Wheeling. Lighting designer is WLU junior theater major Chris Rees of Weirton. Assisting with costumes is 2016 WLU theater graduate Michael Blatzer.

The cast includes students from various schools in the community as well as members of the community, not just WLU students.

The Christmas cast includes Ingrid Young, Hayden Heiserman, Sarah Lemley, Alex Fabrizio, Gory Dami, Mary Horzempa, Anthony Hood, Amanda Tamplen, Maggie Storms, Josie Jarrett, Colleen Hoselton, Audrey Orechio, Liam Gerney, Chad Clutter, Zach Ziolkowski, Sara Impellicceiri, Jayden Clutter, Taylor Miller, Raelin Stoll, Jessica Schults and Jacob Walker.

The Pageant cast includes Alex Burdick, Alex Gordon, Eliza Aulick, Aiden Mills, Bayley Mills, Callie Carroll, Ben Moore, Amber Parsons, Maggie Storms, Jessica Schults, Lexy Glocer, Carly Balog, Liam Gerney, Andrew Mehler, Daniel White, Autumn Carver, Allison Bryant, Shia Conway, Brian Gonzalez, Tristan Gonzalez, Lydia Mehl and Abbigail Bryant.

To purchase tickets, visit brown or call the box office at 304-336-8277.