By Jill Holloway – Thomasville Times Enterprise – December 17, 2023

THOMASVILLE- “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” entertained audiences of all ages during Thomasville On Stage and Company’s matinee performance on Saturday.

“The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” follows the outrageous shenanigans of the Herdman children, Ralph (Xavier Graves), Imogene (Emilie Hart), Leroy (Renji Gilmore), Claude (JP Rehberg), Ollie (Liam Stone) and Gladys (Jadie Waine Such), otherwise known as “the worst kids in the history of the world,” as they take over the annual Christmas pageant.

Making her directorial debut with TOSAC, Jennifer Guyton was thrilled to take on this Christmas classic, as she played the role of Grace Bradley last year with her husband starring in the opposite role of Bob Bradley.

Guyton said she had previously directed plays, but never in a formal theater setting.

“They needed someone and I just felt called to do it and that it was my turn,” Guyton explained. “I’ve always done religious plays, so I thought this would be a good first step.”

Guyton could not have been happier with the performance of the cast, including her husband, who reprised the role of Bob Bradley.

“I really can’t take the credit,” she said. “These kids are amazing; from day one, they jumped into character. They knew who they were playing and how they wanted to play it.”

Working with the kids quickly became one of Guyton’s favorite parts of directing the program, which takes a zany spin on a classic Christmas pageant.

Her love for the cast and children she worked with has inspired Guyton to look into directing additional plays for TOSAC.

“I really enjoyed working with the kids and I would like to direct more but work with the smaller kids,” she said. “I don’t think I’m ready for the adults yet.”

Guyton went on to say the kids made her job as a director easy.

“For the most part, I let them play how they envisioned their character and just fine-tuned it to my vision,” she said.

For many of the young actors, the show has allowed them to become more comfortable on stage as they partake in the annual performance, playing a new role every year.

Guyton said Graves, Emilie, and Caleb have all been a part of “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” in years past, but are assigned a new character every year to help them learn a variety of different roles and expand their acting horizons.

The young actors will have the opportunity to shine on stage again this summer in TOSAC’s performance of “Peter Pan Jr.”

This weekend’s performance wrapped up the 2023 season for TOSAC, but March will open up the 2024 season with “The Play That Goes Wrong.”