Scott County residents have one more chance to see Scottsburg High School sophomore Avery Kendall perform Saturday afternoon in “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” on the StageOne Family Theatre stage in Louisville, Ky.
“It’s a very fun show,” Kendall said. “It has a lot of great life lessons in it.”
Kendall stars in the annual StageOne Family Theatre production as Imogene Herdman, the oldest girl of the six Herdman children. The Hermans, known in the community as the worst children — they burned down a shed, blackmailed their peers, smoked in the school bathrooms, pierced each other’s ears with ice picks, and participated in other delinquent acts around town. The children have an absent father and a disinterested mother. In December, the Herdman children learn they can receive snacks at the local church on Sundays if they attend.
The Herdman children receive leading roles in the annual church pageant with Ralph and Imogene Herdman as Joseph and Mary; Leroy, Claude, and Ollie are the Wise Men; and Gladys is the Angel of the Lord. Because of their past behavior, every person in town believes it will be the worst Christmas pageant ever with the Herdman children starring in the show. The story unfolds as the Herdman children and the townspeople learn the real meaning of Christmas.
Kendall learned of the auditions for the show after her mother, who is a season StageOne Family Theatre ticketholder, saw an email about the open call. Kendall had to sing 16 bars from a Broadway tune and prepare a one-minute monologue for her audition. From the first audition, she received a callback to act out excerpts from the script. After the callbacks, Kendall received a call that she landed a role as Imogene Herdman.
“I was speechless for a while,” Kendall said. “I hadn’t expected to get a role, let alone the lead role. It was kind of crazy.”
For two months, Kendall along with her cast members and the members of other cast rehearsed for the show, learning the blocking, taking direction from the director, and reciting lines until preview day on Nov. 18.
“I’m really getting our name out there. In the playbill, they asked what other shows I was in. I was able to list the shows I was in with the Scottsburg Drama Club. A lot more people are able to see this show — some are directors from other places. This could lead to other other auditions and calls for me personally,” Kendall said.
Last spring, Kendall starred in the SHS Drama Club production of “The Wizard of Oz” as the Cowardly Lion. She also performed in the Drama Club’s fall show, “Frankenstein,” as Hattie Clerval. Before starting high school, Kendall was part of Actors, Models & Talent For Christ in Chicago. With AMTC, Kendall took voice, acting, and modeling lessons before auditioning in Orlando, Fla.
“I found it, and I auditioned in Indy. I begged my mom for one and one-half months. I gave up my Christmas for it. It was pretty cool,” Kendall said about her training before landing the Christmas role.
Through the performance as Imogene Herdman, Kendall hopes that adding “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” to her list of shows performed will help her in future roles at regional theatre companies.
“I hope this will help me get a leg up on auditions. It is something I can put on my résumé,” Kendall said.
Tickets are $20 for those ages 13 and older and $15 for children ages one to 12. Sales tax is not included. The show runs one hour and 10 minutes at Memorial Auditorium, 970 S. Fourth St., in Louisville. For more information on the show, visit www.kentuckycenter.org.