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"The Nativity Play"
Family Script/Staged-Reading

by Tony "Sparx" Palermo

The Nativity Play is Tony Palermo's dramatic adaptation of the Birth of Jesus Christ, as told in the Gospel of Matthew and Luke. These versions are intended for performance by a family or staff in an informal setting, such as at home or a staff meeting room. (For troupes/schools doing theatrical or radio productions, see my "Nativity" stage-play and "Nativity" radio web pages.) This richly imaginative work is in the form of a staged-reading, which doesn't require costumes, sets or memorization. The two Pageant versions include familiar Christmas carols to be sung by performers and audience.

The 30-minute family/staged-reading version begins with several shepherds lamenting life after The Fall and wishing for a Redeemer, then shifts to Nazareth where a pious and charitable Mary receives the Annunciation. Then Mary’s visit to Elisabet and Zakarais, Mary's return home, Joseph's dilemma, his angel dream, and a reconciliation between Joseph and Mary. Act 2 includes the Journey to Bethlehem, No Room At The Inn, the Birth of Jesus, the shepherds and the Host of Angels, the prophecies of Simeon and Anna, the Adoration of the Magi, Herod's fury, the Slaughter of the Innocents, The Flight to Egypt and the Return from Egypt. This version has trimmed versions of the canticles from Luke: Mary's "Magnificat" and Simeon's "Nunc Dimittis"--all in English, of course.

The 15-minute family/staged-reading version begins with several shepherds lamenting life after The Fall and wishing for a Redeemer, then shifts to Nazareth where a pious and charitable Mary receives the Annunciation, then--9 months later--the Journey to Bethlehem, No Room At The Inn, the Birth of Jesus, the shepherds and the Host of Angels, the Adoration of the Magi, Herod's fury, the Slaughter of the Innocents, The Flight to Egypt and the Return from Egypt. None of the canticles from Luke are used in this version.

The Pageant version with narration and some dialogue begins with several shepherds lamenting life after The Fall and wishing for a Redeemer, then shifts to Nazareth, where a pious and charitable Mary receives the Annunciation, then--9 months later--the Journey to Bethlehem, No Room at the Inn, the Birth of Jesus, the shepherds and the Host of Angels, the Adoration of the Magi, and a final blessing. This pageant version features 9 familiar Christmas carols, interspersed between and amidst the narration and dialogue. The dialogue is no more difficult than any grade-school play. With songs, this version runs 15 minutes long.

The Pageant version with narration only begins with a welcoming, then proceeds through The Annunciation, then--9 months later--the Journey to Bethlehem, No Room at the Inn, The Birth of Jesus, the shepherds and the Host of Angels, the Adoration of the Magi and a final blessing. This features 9 familiar Christmas carols, interspersed between scenes. With songs, this version runs 10 minutes long.

If you wish to produce one of my “Nativity Plays,” please indicate which version you are interested in.

TO ORDER: Contact me at and tell me about your intended production. I deliver the script via e-mail as a PDF file.

ALSO AVAILABLE: 


Free "Nativity Play" Family version/Family Pageant sample scripts:
Here are free, downloadable family version sample scripts for "The Nativity Play," including scene excerpts and a truncated version of the appendix:

        SCRIPT SAMPLE - FAMILY VERSION - The Nativity Play - 30-minute - TRUNCATED.pdf (152 KB)
       
        SCRIPT SAMPLE - FAMILY VERSION - The Nativity Play - 15-minute - TRUNCATED.pdf (165 KB)

        SCRIPT SAMPLE - PAGEANT VERSION - The Nativity Play - 15-minute - with Narration & Dialogue - TRUNCATED.pdf (160 KB)     

        SCRIPT SAMPLE - PAGEANT VERSION - The Nativity Play - 10-minute - with Narration only - TRUNCATED.pdf (146 KB)

Cast size:
Throughout the Nativity play, there are never more than 6 characters in a scene, so a small cast can easily perform the entire show by doubling up on. You are permitted to change the genders of characters to suit your troupe. And many roles were written to be easily played by women OR men (The Narrator, shepherds, angels, Magi, Inn-Keeper, etc.) You can employ anywhere from 6 to 24 actors.

30-minute version cast size:
Small cast:   6 actors (2 male, 2 female, 2 male-or-female)
Large cast: 24 actors (5 male, 3 female, 15 male-or-female)

15-minute version cast size:
Small cast:   6 actors (2 male, 2 female, 2 male-or-female)
Large cast: 19 actors (3 male, 3 female, 13 male-or-female)

Pageant versions cast size:
Small cast:   6 actors (1 male, 2 female, 2 male-or-female)
Large cast: 15 actors (1 male, 2 female, 12 male-or-female)

Without doubling, the cast list is as follows:
NOTE: Characters with * don't appear in the 15-minute or Pageant versions.
          Characters with ** don't appear in the Pageant versions.

NARRATOR

The Biblical-style Narrator (male or female)

MARY

16 year-old farm girl (F)

JOSEPH

20 year-old carpenter (M)

ANGEL #1

Angel messenger (Gabriel) (M/F)

ANGEL #2 

Angel messenger (M/F)

ANGEL #3*

Angel messenger (M/F)

ANGEL #4*

Angel messenger (M/F)

ELISABET*

Mary's aged kinswoman (F)

ZAKARIAS*

Elisabet's husband (M)

HEROD THE GREAT**

Tyrannical "King of the Jews" (M)

MALKIOR

Persian Magi (M/F)

GASPAR

Indian Magi (M/F)

BALTAZAR

Assyrian Magi (M/F)

INN-KEEPER

Crusty inn-keeper (M/F)

SIMEON*

Pious old man (M)

ANNA*

Old Prophetess (F)

AMBASSADOR LIVIUS**

Roman Ambassador (M)

BO'AZ

Old, wizened shepherd (M/F)

EFRAYIM

Cynical shepherd (M/F)

SHEP/TAVEE

Young shepherd (M/F)

RACHAB

Inn-keeper's kindly slave (M/F)

ETAN*

Herod's minister (M/F

QUEEN MALTACE**

Herod's wife (F)

LAMBS/INFANT

Bleating sheep/lambs, infant  (M/F)

SUGGESTED CAROLS FOR PAGEANT VERSIONS (only) - Lyrics included in script appendix
The included lyric sheets can be printed separately and handed out to the audience.
Sheet music is NOT included, but can be found on-line in a variety of keys.

1) God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen 

2) Ave Maria (verse 1 only. Sung by Angel #1 only)

3) O Holy Night 

4) O Little Town of Bethlehem 

5) The Coventry Carol (verse 1 only. Sung by Mary only)

6) Away in A Manger

7) The First Noel (verse 1 only) 

8) Angels We Have Heard On High

9) The First Noel (verse 2 & 3 only)  

10) O Come All Ye Faithful 

Any of these songs can be skipped, or other songs can be easily substituted.


HOW TO PAY FOR SCRIPTS:

ROYALTY FEES: The 30-minute and 15-minute plays are $25 USD. The Pageant scripts are $15 USD.
NOTE: These prices are for family productions AT HOME. For performances at churches, schools or theaters, contact to get a quote based on the venue type and number of performances.

I accept credit card payments via the free and secure www.PayPal.com service.

1) Go to the www.PayPal.com website, click on the “Send Money” button, and either register for free or pay with a bank debit card--(without having to register with PayPal.)

2) Use my e-mail address of: to send the money to my PayPal account.

3) Along with the PayPal transaction information, please specify what you are ordering (which version of the script: 30-minute family, 15-minute family, Pageant with dialogue, Pageant with narration only). Include your postal mail address—for my tax reporting purposes. NOTE: If you do not specify WHAT you are ordering, I cannot e-mail you the proper script.  

4) NOTE: You must pay in U.S. dollars—which is easy to do on Paypal.
For how-to info, see: https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=p/sell/mc/mc_send-outside
 

DELIVERY:

Once your payment has been received, I will e-mail you a PDF file of the full script. You can make as many photo-copies of the script as you need for your cast and crew.


TONY PALERMO is an audio theatre producer, performer, and educator living in Los Angeles, California.
He performs professionally, conducts workshops, and produces programs for hire.
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All contents © 1996-2006 by Anthony E. Palermo. All rights reserved.
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Last modified: 10/16/13