The Loaned Manger

Introduction

Wrangled by Steve Moore, Rob Howard, and David Guthrie

Summary

In the small western town of Incarnation, Christmas is celebrated with grit, giddy-up, and gusto! They like to think of themselves as “the most Christmassy town in the west.” But 1891 is the year that two big “signs o’ progress” could spell either trouble, or opportunity. The railroad has finally punched through with the grand opening of Incarnation Station, bringing visitors for the first time from far and wide to take in their Christmas festivities. And, the advent of the electric light promises to revolutionize their nativity program. Some fret that all the expected “outsiders” could threaten the peace of their quiet town, and maybe bring in desperadoes, while others see the chance to spread even wider the Good News of the birth of the Jesus. Round up some rambunctious cowpokes, some forward-thinkin’ townsfolk, a manger on loan, and a lot of raucous yee-haw for the Wild West Christmas Adventures of The Loaned Manger!

Cast List/Character Descriptions

There are 19 speaking roles available for casting in The Loaned Manger. Any of the roles may be played by a boy or a girl with only slight name and gender modifications in the script. The indications below show how we recorded them on the demonstration recording. Many roles could be played by older youth or adults.

Rotate your device horizontally to view the entire table.

NameCharacterGender*What They’re Like ...No. of Lines
CurlyBarbergirlShe is concerned that Incarnation not appear “quaint,” and really step it up this Christmas with a good idea.25
DustyProspectorboyHe offers us insight throughout as a narrator.8
SheriffSheriffboyHe leads with wisdom, and is respected by the town.32
Miss PollySchool TeachergirlShe is in charge of organizing the Christmas Eve service. She is sweet and means well.25
JaneCowgirlgirlSuspect of new visitors to the town, she gets wrapped up in finding the Lonesome Stranger.17
ElvinBlacksmithboyMeans well, but gets wrapped up in finding the Lonesome Stranger.19
DeputyDeputyboyServes the town, gets worried about the Lone- some Stranger.11
Mrs. SneefStore OwnergirlShe is worried about all the new people the train will bring, and gets wrapped up in finding the Lonesome Stranger.13
SallyPostmastergirlIs a leader in the town, understands Christmas and has perspective.14
PhotographerPhotographergirlArrives to document Christmas in Incarnation.7
StationmasterTrain StationmastergirlProud of her town and excited about all the new people coming.7
Cowpoke 1CowpokegirlA ranch hand who travels to see the Christmas festivities in Incarnation.2
Cowpoke 2CowpokeboyA ranch hand who travels to see the Christmas festivities in Incarnation.3
Cowpoke 3CowpokegirlA ranch hand who travels to see the Christmas festivities in Incarnation.3
Parson WhitfieldPreacherboyKind and unassuming.1
MaryNon-speakinggirlTraditional nativity character.0
JosephNon-speakingboyTraditional nativity character.0
Shepherd(s)Non-speakingboyTraditional nativity character.0
Angel(s)Non-speakinggirlTraditional nativity character.0
Click here to view the Cast List/Character Descriptions PDF

Production and Staging Highlights by Deborah Craig-Claar

The Loaned Manger is a fun and high-spirited but ultimately meaningful look at Christmas through the lens of the Wild West in the late 1800’s. The entire look of the production should be whimsical and fanciful – much like the famous “singing cowboy” movies starring Roy Rodgers and Dale Evans (if anyone is old enough to remember those!). The colors should be bright, and the smiles should be as wide as Texas. The Loaned Manger can be adapted to both large and modest performance spaces and can accommodate choirs of any size. The comprehensive production ideas and directions that are provided in the Director’s Resource Kit by the renowned Deborah Craig-Claar will give you a variety of visual ideas to bring your presentation to life. Here is a small sampling:

  • Create a street of western building flats for the General Store, Post Office, Barber Shop, and other locations mentioned in the script (drawings and details included in the Director’s Resource Kit).
  • As an alternative, create a simple “Main Street” using props like hay bales, crates, split-rail fence, signpost, etc. (drawings included in the Kit)
  • No special lighting requirements
  • Simple to costume in western wear (drawings included in the Kit). Main costume themes will be cowboys and cowgirls, pioneers (think “Little House on the Prairie”), and townspeople. Little Big Stuff has also created very cool t-shirts as either a standard choir costume, or as a great keepsake from the performance.

Questions or Special Requests?

Are you hoping to record your performance on video and make DVDs or put it up on the web? Please don't hesitate to contact us for this license or any other special requests or questions and we will be happy to help! Visit the Contact Page for more information.

Listen to the Musical

Directors and Choir Workers Only!
No Choir Members Allowed!

Approximate Performance Time

41 minutes

Graphics Files

We've provided graphic files for you to download to use for posters, bulletins, ads, and tattoos (well, be careful on that one!). These files may be downloaded and used in conjunction with your performance for no charge. Click the thumbnails below to enlarge.

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Look for the blue, cloud icon to purchase downloadable, reproducible products. Learn more about our Reproducible Options .

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