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The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

Dec. 10 & 17, 2022 • Holiday Show at The Historic Dock Street Theatre

By Barbara Robinson
Direction by Rylee Coppel


Contact Sara Berkowitz, Director of Development, at 843.647.7363 or sberkowitz@charlestonstage.com to learn how to become a Sponsor.


About the Show

 
A HERD OF HOODLUMS HAS HIJACKED THE CHRISTMAS PAGEANT!

 
When the Herdmans, the worst kids in town, somehow wrangle the leading roles in the local Christmas Pageant it seems everything that is sacred will be lost and yet, through this motley crew of rough and tumble kids, the true meaning of Christmas is movingly rediscovered. Adapted from Barbara Robinson’s widely acclaimed contemporary Christmas classic, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever continues to delight kids and their families year after year.

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Cast

 

SUGAR COOKIE CAST

(PERFORMS DEC. 10TH)

CHARACTER                                                                         ACTOR
Grace Bradley...............................................................................ELIZA KNODE*
Bob Bradley.......................................................................CODY ELSENSOHN*
Reverand Hopkins..........................................................JHONIKA WRIGHT*
Mrs. Armstrong (Recorded Voice-over).......BRIETTA GOODMAN*
Imogene Herdman.................................................................LILA WATKINS**
Beth Bradley.......................................................................SYBIL FREEDMAN***
Charlie Bradley.........................................................CLAYTON CHEWNING**
Ralph Herdman......................................................................LUCAS SHIVELY**
Leroy Herdman...............................................................NICHOLAS FIORINI**
Claudette Herdman......................................................LILLIAN TONNSEN**
Ollie Herdman....................................................................CAROLINE LANTZ**
Gladys Herdman...........................................................................LILY SHOMO**
Alice Wendleken.......................................................................RYAN LEGARE**
Emma Hopkins.....................................................................GIANNA GAVINS**
Maxine................................................................................MIRANDA SPILLERS**
Hobie................................................................................CAROLINE HYLEMAN**
Josie...................................................................................................ANNA SAFFER**
Doris......................................................................................CLAIRE THORNTON**

 
GINGERBREAD CAST

(PERFORMS DEC. 17TH)

CHARACTER                                                                         ACTOR
Grace Bradley........................................................................................FACIA LEE*
Bob Bradley...................................................................RAYMOND CRONLEY*
Reverand Hopkins........................................................JENNA BARRICKLO*
Mrs. Armstrong (Recorded Voice-over)........BRIETTA GOODMAN*
Imogene Herdman..................................................................LIV DEWHIRST***
Beth Bradley......................................................................................AVA KNIGHT**
Charlie Bradley...................................................................JAMISON SIGMON**
Ralph Herdman................................................................BURCHILL CUTLER**
Leroy Herdman.............................................................................IKE GOODING**
Claudette Herdman.....................................................SOPHIE JOHANNES**
Ollie Herdman................................................................................TESS ELLISOR**
Gladys Herdman..........................................................................EMMA ELLETT**
Alice Wendleken..................................................................MADDIE NELSON**
Emma Hopkins........................................................................GIANNA GAVINS**
Maxine..........................................................................CAMILLE WASHINGTON**
Hobie........................................................................................................ISAAC HOKE**
Josie.........................................................................................................STELLA KING**
Doris..................................................................................JORDAN MAE BAZZLE**
* Member, Charleston Stage Resident Acting Company
** Member, Charleston Stage Performance Troupe
*** Member, Charleston Stage Performance Troupe and TheatreWings High School Apprentice Program

SPECIAL APPEARANCES:
MARYBETH CLARK (Irma Slocum) and RYLEE COPPEL (Mrs. McCarthy)

 

SUGAR COOKIE CAST BIOGRAPHIES

 
Clayton ChewningClayton Chewning (Charlie Bradley)
Clayton is so excited to a part of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever and feels honored to be performing at Dock Street! He loves this character and can’t wait to bring Charlie Bradley to life! Although this is his first experience with theatre, Clayton has been On-Camera acting for seven years. Most recently, he stars in A Nashville Country Christmas on Paramount Network airing now! His upcoming projects; Rebel Ridge on Netflix and Stars Fells Again are due to release this spring. He has filmed dozens of commercials including an ad for Geico Sharkweek and a national Sparklight ad. When he is not acting, he enjoys sports, video games, rollerblading, modeling and learning as much as he can about history and social justice, with special interests in World War II. He would like to thank Director Rylee Coppel for encouraging him to step outside of his comfort zone, as well as his family for their support.

Cody ElsensohnCody Elsensohn (Bob Bradley)
Cody is ecstatic to join Charleston Stage in its 45th season as a Resident Actor! A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, Cody earned his B.F.A. in Acting from the University of Southern Mississippi in May of 2022. Cody was last seen with Charleston Stage as Crusader Ancestor in  The Addams Family, and as Max in The Play That Goes Wrong. Some of his previous credits include Billy Cane in Bright Star, Jerry Hyland in Once in a Lifetime, Actor 1 in The Stinky Cheeseman, and Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Cody would like to thank his family and friends who endlessly encourage and support him; it is highly valued! Keep up with Cody by following his Instagram: @cody.elsensohn

Nicholas FioriniNicholas Fiorini (Leroy Herdman)
Nicholas is a 5th grader at James Simons Montessori in Charleston. Nicholas is excited to be in his first large production with Charleston Stage at the Historic Dock Street Theater. He has enjoyed his four years in the kid’s programs, but the last two years as part of the ‘Troupe’ have been his favorite. Nick wants to thank his parents, brother, and family, who have supported his love for acting. He looks forward to more roles in the future.

 

 

Sybil FreedmanSybil Freedman (Beth Bradley)
Sybil is excited to be performing in her fifth Charleston Stage production at the Historic Dock Street Theatre. She made her debut appearance in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever in 2016, A Christmas Carol in 2017, Number the Stars in 2019, and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in 2020. Sybil is currently a tenth grader at James Island Charter High School and a member of the Charleston Stage WINGS program. Sybil would like to thank her friends and family for their love and support, and everyone at Charleston Stage for their guidance and instruction.

 

Gianna GavinsGianna Gavins (Emma Hopkins)
Gianna "Gigi" is a wonderful 10-year-old who is full of talent and imagination! She attends South Carolina Connections Academy and is in the 4th grade gifted and talented class. Gianna has been a member of the Charleston Stage since 2021. Born in Charleston, she has been showcasing her love for entertainment and has been dancing, singing, and acting from a very young age. Her light shines when she enters the room and her natural ability to entertain automatically is recognized. She has been singing in a small group for the last two years and recently began singing solos to a multi-generational and diverse audience to their delight. Gianna loves and enjoys all of these amazing gifts and is excited about her future in many more venues and working with many great entertainers of all ages.

Brietta GoodmanBrietta Goodman (Mrs. Armstrong)
Brietta is ecstatic to be a Resident Actor with Charleston Stage this season! Brietta was last seen on the Dock Street Theatre stage as Ancestor "Flapper Girl" / Ensemble in The Addams Family - A New Musical. Originally from Horn Lake, Mississippi, she received a A.A. in Theatre from Northwest Mississippi Community College with credits including: Polly Benish in Play On!, Aida in Aida, and Ellen Van Oss in Two Rooms. Recently a graduate from the University of Southern Mississippi with a B.A. in Theatre with credits including: Cathy Haitt in The Last Five Years, Bunny in Detroit '67, and Lucy Grant in Bright Star. While at USM, she was an Irene Ryan Finalist and was awarded First Place in the Musical Theatre Initiative Region IV Competition. She is so grateful for this opportunity and the support she has received from her friends and family going on this new journey! Stay Connected: https://briettagoodman99.wixsite.com/actor-performer

Caroline HylemanCaroline Hyleman (Hobie)
This is Caroline’s Charleston Stage premiere. Her first performance was in her school’s production of Bugsy Malone as Ensemble. Caroline attends Montessori Community School.

 

 

 

Eliza KnodeEliza Knode (Grace Bradley)
Eliza is a recent graduate of the University of Miami with a B.F.A. in Musical Theatre. Some of her previous credits include The Addams Family - A New Musical (Morticia), Into the Woods (Witch), and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Helena). Eliza has lived in Malaysia, Japan, Hungary, Brazil, and is very excited to make Charleston her next home! She would like to extend gratitude to her teachers, friends, and family around the globe who support her. Website: https://elizadknode.wixsite.com/mysite / Instagram: @eliza.knode     

                        

Caroline LantzCaroline Lantz (Ollie Herdman)
Caroline is thrilled to be making her Dock Street Theatre debut in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. Caroline has been a lifelong musical theater fan beginning at the age of 2, singing and performing on the family coffee table. She’s currently a 5th grader at Ashley Hall and enjoys playing two instruments, the piano, and violin. In her spare time, Caroline enjoys spending time with her friends and family at the beach on Seabrook Island.

 

 

Ryan LegareRyan Legare (Alice Wendlken)
Ryan is a 6th grade Vocal Major at Charleston County School of the Arts. She joined the Charleston Stage Performance Troupe this season. She loves to sing, act and play piano. In her free time, which isn’t often, she enjoys hanging out with friends and shopping at Town Centre. She also enjoys playing games with her younger siblings, Robert and Alice. She especially loves when they run around with their puppy, Luke.

 

 

Anna SafferAnna Saffer (Josie)
Anna is thrilled to be joining this cast and performing in her first MainStage production with the Charleston Stage Performance Troupe. She is a seventh grader, majoring in theater and taking an active role in her school community as a school tour ambassador and morning news announcer. Anna is a proud role model to her little sister Emilie and she also loves hanging out with her 14 year old big “dog brother”, Henry. Anna participated in competitive gymnastics for several years and she is currently working toward attaining a new belt in Tae Kwon Do.

 

LucasLucas Shively (Ralph Herdman) 
Lucas is very excited to have a part in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever this holiday season. Previously, he has played Tiny Tim in the Charleston Stage production of A Christmas Carol. Lucas is a 7th grader at Daniel Island School (DIS) and a member of both Charleston's Stage's Performance Troupe and the DIS drama club. In addition to theater activities, he is part of the Kindness Committee at his school, has earned a green belt at Code Ninjas, and loves board games and gaming. He wants to thank his family for supporting his passions.

 

 

Lily ShomoLily Shomo (Gladys Herdman)
Lily is delighted to make her debut at the Dock Street Theatre as Gladys in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. Lily is a 5th grade student at Murray LaSaine Montessori School where she participates in both the academic and artistically gifted and talented programs. This is Lily’s second year as a member of Charleston Stage’s Performance Troupe. She has loved performing for an audience from a young age. Lily enjoys acting, singing and dancing. She is a member of the children’s choir at Grace United Methodist Church. In addition to musical theater Lily is also a competitive gymnast with Charleston Gymnastics. Her favorite subject in school is Math and she aspires to travel to Hawaii, France, and England one day. Lily is so grateful to Charleston Stage for this amazing opportunity!

Miranda SpillersMiranda Spillers (Maxine)
Miranda is in 8th grade at First Baptist School. She loves animals and has a goldendoodle, cat and 3 gerbils. Miranda also enjoys art, acting, books, being outside, hanging out with friends and attending Ashley River Baptist Church.

 

 

 

Claire ThorntonClaire Thornton (Doris)
Claire is a 6th grader at Camp Road Middle School on James Island. She took her first acting class at Charleston Stage a little over a year ago and has been hooked. Singing and acting are two of Claire's favorite things, along with playing the Alto Sax in the middle school band. She enjoys being silly with her two younger sisters and friends when she is not acting.

 

 

Lillian TonnsenLillian Tonnsen (Claudette Herdman)
Lillian is a 4th grader at Daniel Island School. This is her first performance with Charleston Stage. Along with acting she enjoys hip hop, flag football, traveling, and learning American History. She knows every line to Hamilton. Lillian looks forward to performing in many more shows!

 

 

Lila WatkinsLila Watkins (Imogene Herdman)
Lila is a 6th grade student at Charleston School of the Arts majoring in theatre. This is her first production with Charleston Stage. Lila discovered her love of acting during a summer camp in Ellijay, GA visiting her grandparents. When not on the stage, Lila enjoys art, dancing, and spending time with friends and family.

 

 

Jhonika WrightJhonika Wright (Reverend Hopkins)
Jhonika is thrilled to be joining Charleston Stage as a Resident Actor! Originally from Maryland, she spent most of her life in Arkansas where she graduated from Ouachita Baptist University and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre. You may have seen her recently as Annie (The Play That Goes Wrong) and as an Addams Ancestor (The Addams Family). Her favorite roles include: Wendla (Spring Awakening), Cairo (We Are the Tigers), Woman 1 (Songs for a New World), Grizabella (Cats), and Yertle the Turtle (Seussical the Musical). Sending all the love to her incredible family and friends for their endless support, “This one is for you!” To keep up with all things Jhonika, you can visit her Instagram: @jhonikaaaa

SPECIAL APPEARANCES:
Marybeth Clark (Irma Slocum) and Rylee Coppel (Mrs. McCarthy)

 

GINGERBREAD CAST BIOGRAPHIES

 
Jenna BarrickloJenna Barricklo (Reverend Hopkins)
Jenna is so excited to be joining Charleston Stage for its 45th season! She received her B.F.A. in Musical Theater from Shenandoah University. Professional Credits: Lisa (Mamma Mia), Rosalia (West Side Story), Female Newsie (Newsies), Fannie (Mary Poppins). Jenna grew up in New York City and most recently resided in Boston! Jenna was last seen on the Dock Street Theatre stage as Wednesday Addams in The Addams Family - A New Musical. She is so grateful to her parents and brother for their endless support. Keep up with Jenna on her website and on Instagram: jennabarricklo.com @in_jennaral

Jordan Mae BazzleJordan Mae Bazzle (Doris)
Jordan Mae has been working with Charleston Stage Company for five years. She really enjoys music, acting, sports, and reading.

 

 

 

Raymond CronleyRaymond Cronley (Bob Bradley)
Raymond is incredibly jazzed to be joining Charleston Stage as a Resident Actor for their 45th season! Raymond recently appeared as Jonathan/Charles Haversham in The Play That Goes Wrong and as Lucas Beineke in The Addams Family - A New Musical. Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, Raymond graduated in May of 2021 from Ohio Northern University with a B.F.A. in Musical Theatre. Previous credits include Jack in Into the Woods, Frederick Frankenstein in Young Frankenstein and George in Sunday in the Park with George. He would like to thank his family and friends for their wholehearted support and encouragement! raymondcronley.squarespace.com / @raymonley

 

Burchill CutlerBurchill Cutler (Ralph Herdman)
Burchill is thrilled to be making his debut at the Dock Street Theatre as Ralph in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. Burchill is currently a 7th-grade student at Porter Gaud School. He's been passionate about dancing and acting since he was very young. Besides musical theater, Burchill enjoys playing football and spending time with friends.

 

 

Liv DewhirstLiv Dewhirst (Imogene Herdman)
Liv is a 10th grade Theatre major at SOA, and has enjoyed performing since she could walk and talk! She’s been with Charleston Stage for almost 8 years, starting their acting classes at 7, and joining their Performance Troupe for three years in 7th grade before taking part in the TheatreWings program this year. Liv loves the Charleston Stage community and is thrilled to be part of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever!

 

 

Emma EllettEmma Ellett (Gladys Herdman)
Emma is a Charleston native making her Dock Street Theater debut in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. She is passionate about acting, both on stage and off, and is excited about furthering her experience with Charleston Stage. When not acting, she enjoys singing, reading, playing with her French Bulldog, Henry, and all things unicorn-related.

 

 

Tess ETess Ellisor (Ollie Herdman)
Tess is an 8th grader at Laing Middle School and a veteran Charleston Stage Performance Troupe member. She previously performed in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever as Hobie and is thrilled to be a part of the production again this year!

 

 

 

Gianna GavinsGianna Gavins (Emma Hopkins)
Gianna "Gigi" is a wonderful 10-year-old who is full of talent and imagination! She attends South Carolina Connections Academy and is in the 4th grade gifted and talented class. Gianna has been a member of the Charleston Stage since 2021. Born in Charleston, she has been showcasing her love for entertainment and has been dancing, singing, and acting from a very young age. Her light shines when she enters the room and her natural ability to entertain automatically is recognized. She has been singing in a small group for the last two years and recently began singing solos to a multi-generational and diverse audience to their delight. Gianna loves and enjoys all of these amazing gifts and is excited about her future in many more venues and working with many great entertainers of all ages.

Ike GoodingIke Gooding (Leroy Herdman)
Ike is a 5th grade student at Ashley River Creative Arts Elementary. He is extremely excited to be working with the Charleston Stage Performance Troupe. He has been active with Charleston Stage since 2nd grade. During his free time, he plays soccer and basketball and is active in the John Wesley Youth choir. Ike is very proud to be performing on one of the oldest stages in Charleston, and he is super thankful for everyone that has helped guide him along her theatre journey.

 

Brietta GoodmanBrietta Goodman (Mrs. Armstrong)
Brietta is ecstatic to be a Resident Actor with Charleston Stage this season! Brietta was last seen on the Dock Street Theatre stage as Ancestor "Flapper Girl" / Ensemble in The Addams Family - A New Musical. Originally from Horn Lake, Mississippi, she received a A.A. in Theatre from Northwest Mississippi Community College with credits including: Polly Benish in Play On!, Aida in Aida, and Ellen Van Oss in Two Rooms. Recently a graduate from the University of Southern Mississippi with a B.A. in Theatre with credits including: Cathy Haitt in The Last Five Years, Bunny in Detroit '67, and Lucy Grant in Bright Star. While at USM, she was an Irene Ryan Finalist and was awarded First Place in the Musical Theatre Initiative Region IV Competition. She is so grateful for this opportunity and the support she has received from her friends and family going on this new journey! Stay Connected: https://briettagoodman99.wixsite.com/actor-performer

Isaac HokeIsaac Hoke (Hobie)
This is Isaac's first appearance with Charleston Stage. He's an all-around creative guy and is excited to be acting in this show and to be a part of the Charleston Stage Performance Troupe. He would like to thank all of the teachers and family that have helped him get to this point, and he's excited about continuing to pursue theatre with Charleston Stage and auditioning for SOA in a few months.

 

 

Sophie JohannesSophie Johannes (Claudette Herdman)
Sophie blooms where she is planted. Born in California, her father being active duty Army, Sophie has moved 8 times and has travelled to 20 countries in her short 11 years. This lifestyle fuels her outgoing personality, desire to try new things and always looking for an adventure. Acting has recently come into her life and she quickly felt at home on stage. When she isn’t on stage she can be found on the soccer field, hanging with friends or crafting away at home. Sophie is an excellent student in school and with Charleston Stage and loves learning from the best!

 

Stella KingStella King (Josie)
Stella is over the moon to be making her acting debut in the Dock Street Theatre performance of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. Stella is currently a 5th grade student at Cathedral Academy. As the youngest of six children, Stella has been performing for an audience since the day she was born. In addition to theatre, Stella enjoys playing video games, volleyball, and hanging out with her Mimi.

 

 

AvaAva Knight (Beth Bradley)
Ava discovered her passion for acting at the age of 5 when she started taking drama as a student at Ashley River Creative Arts Elementary School. She is in her third year as a member of Charleston Stage’s Performance Troupe and is a 6th grader at Charleston County School of the Arts majoring in Theater. She recently performed in the School of the Arts Ichabod! and is looking forward to playing the role of Beth Bradley in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. Ava has a love for Ford Mustangs, traveling, all things Paris, spending time with friends, and is on her neighborhood swim team.

 

Facia LeeFacia Lee (Grace Bradley)
Facia is so excited to be working with the Charleston Stage team! She has been performing on stage since she was about 6 years old. Her favorite credits include Macduff in The Scottish Play, Cinderella, an in-house written children’s theatre version of the same name, and Sandra/The Witch in Big Fish. She graduated from Palm Beach Atlantic University with her B.A. in Theatre with Concentration in Music. You will also see her in this season’s Once On This Island. Facia is so grateful to be here, and would like to thank her loving family, friends, teachers, and Father for all of their support.

 

MaddieMaddie Nelson (Alice Wendleken)
Maddie is so excited to be making her Dock Street debut as Alice in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. Maddie is in 6th grade at Camp Road Middle. She is a member of James Island Players and the Charleston County Gifted and Talented Arts Program. She has been participating in acting classes with Charleston Stage since she was in Kindergarten and has done background work in HBO’s “The Righteous Gemstones” and Lionsgate Films’ "Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret,” being released in April 2023. Maddie loves all things Broadway and Musical Theater. When not acting, you can find her playing her guitar, listening to 90’s alternative rock, (especially Nirvana) and hanging with her friends.

Jamison SigmonJamison Sigmon (Charlie Bradley)
Jamison is excited to be joining Charleston Stage in his first big production. He is a 7th grader at The Copper School in Charleston and loves spending time with his friends and family. Jamison has enjoyed many classes at Charleston Stage and performing improv comedy in Theatre 99's teen program.

 

 

CamilleCamine Washington (Maxine)
Camille is thrilled to be making her debut at the Dock Street Theatre as Maxine in the The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. Camille is a 6th grader at Hanahan Middle School where she is a part of the student counsel and Leaders for Life clubs. She loves drawing, acting, singing and dancing. Just recently, her artwork was chosen to be displayed at the Coastal Carolina Fair. Camille thanks her new friends and teachers at Charleston Stage for giving her such a fun and amazing experience.

 

SPECIAL APPEARANCES:
Marybeth Clark (Irma Slocum) and Rylee Coppel (Mrs. McCarthy)

 

 


Education Guide

Every season, education guides are available for download online to incorporate in the classroom before attending Charleston Stage's school matinee performances. These guides are great tools to help educate students on the subject matter of productions they will see at the Historic Dock Street Theatre. Download the education guide for The Best Christmas Pageant Ever below!

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Content Guide

We are always excited to see families at the theatre, but we know that patrons may want information on more specific content when deciding if a show is appropriate for their families. Below is a content guide outlining things you may want to know about The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.

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Upcoming Shows

A Christmas Carol Nov. 30 - Dec. 21, 2022 • Holiday Show
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever Dec. 10 & 17, 2022 • Holiday Show
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show Jan. 21, 22, 28 & 29, 2023 • Family Series
JFK and Inga Binga Feb. 8 - 26, 2023 • MainStage Series
Native Gardens Mar. 8 - 26, 2023 • MainStage Series
Charlotte's Web Mar. 18 & 25, 2023 • Family Series
Once On This Island Apr. 12 - 30, 2023 • MainStage Series

In Residence at the Dock Street Theatre Since 1978