A children's book comes to life this weekend at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts in Louisville.

StageOne Family Theatre presents its annual production of "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever." The 2012 season marks the 20th presentation of the play as part of the StageOne Family Theatre series.

Based on a book set in the 1950s, the play features six unruly children who find their way into the area's annual Christmas Pageant, a StageOne release said. The Herdmans, known as "the worst kids in the whole history of the world," are known for lying, stealing, cheating and biting.

Yet when the entire town shows up to the Christmas Eve pageant to see what the Herdmans plan to do during the performance, the townspeople are in for a surprise. Instead of a disaster like they expect, the Herdmans teach everyone a lesson about giving, caring and the true meaning of the holiday season.

The play's director Lucas W. Adams chose to update the 2012 production of the play to push theatergoers to think of their own surroundings in modern times and to allow the audience to identify with the characters they see on stage, the release said. With today's focus on bullying, Adams hopes the play opens a dialogue on first impressions and judging others on outward appearances.

The production features 32 student actors from Indiana and Kentucky, and the play is approximately one hour.

The play takes the stage in the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts Bomhard Theater, 501 W. Main St., on Saturday at 2 and 5 p.m. and Thursday, Dec. 20 at 10 a.m. and noon for the last weekend of performances for the season.

Tickets for "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" are $19.75 each, and may be purchased from Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts Box Office by phone at (800) 775-7777 or online at www.kentuckycenter.org.

The Louisville Ballet and Brown-Forman also present another annual holiday favorite with "The Nutcracker" at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts.

The production features the story of Clara and her beloved Nutcracker. During a dream by the Christmas tree, Clara and the Nutcracker battle the Mouse King and his army of mice. After a victory over the Mouse King, Clara and the Nutcracker journey on to other lands to tell of their daring defeat.

The Louisville Ballet and Louisville Orchestra will offer special performances of "The Nutcracker" with live music Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Performances will be held throughout this weekend and the following weekend with shows on Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts Whitney Hall.

Tickets, which start at $30, are available through the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts Box Office by phone at (800) 775-7777 or online at www.kentuckycenter.org.