His singing is atrocious, his halo is always crooked and he's never on time.

But, hey, he's trying his best to become a full-fledged angel, and some recognize his efforts. But others regard him as mischievous and unruly.

He'll ultimately prove his worthiness when UpStage Theatre stages "The Littlest Angel" on Saturday, Dec. 2. Director Ava Brewster Turner adapted this musical from Charles Tazewell's classic 1946 children's book, and Marie Flowers composed an original score of songs.

"There's a musical that was written for this story, and we performed it a couple of years ago," Brewster says. "But this year, we're performing my original adaptation."

The production also is UpStage's second annual children's Christmas show, featuring an all-kids cast, which includes 12 actors and 17 dancers, choreographed by Winter McCray.

"A lot of our young actors are playing dual roles," Turner says. "This is good acting experience for them."

"The Littlest Angel" follows heaven’s youngest angel, who left Earth at age 8. He's homesick. And he's a bit of a pest to the bigger, older angels.

But then it's announced that the Christ child is to be born on Earth, and all the angels start contemplating the gifts they will offer. The only problem is the Littlest Angel's most precious gift is in a box beneath his bed on Earth.

Is there any way he can retrieve it? And if he does, will it be enough?

Not to worry. The Littlest Angel isn't completely left to figure things out on his own. He gets summoned by the Understanding Angel.

"The Understanding Angel understands the Littlest Angel when no one else does," says Cameron Lollis, who plays the character. "He knows how the Littlest Angel feels, and he helps him."

Lollis, 13, is a student at Southeast Middle School. He also plays Majestic Toymaker.

"I have to change personalities from one character to another, and when I'm looking at Dr. Turner, I can make that transition," he says. 

Alaina Green, 12, also has taken on dual roles — the Celestial Cook and one of the chorus angels. She is a student at McKinley Middle School, and this is her third UpStage Theatre production. 

"The characters have different personalities," she says. "But the Celestial Cook stands out. She's sassy, and she's busy making cookies for Jesus. It's what she does best, and that's going to be her gift to him."

Kniah Brooks, 14, ties the story together as The Gatekeeper, who also is the narrator. Brooks is a student at Lee High School, where she takes drama classes, but "The Littlest Angel" marks her first UpStage production.

"The Gatekeeper watches everybody and knows everything that's going on," Brooks says. "She brings the Littlest Angel into heaven, but she sees him as troublesome."

But, hey, he's only a kid — a kid who shows the others that anyone, no matter how small, can make a difference.  


The Littlest Angel

UpStage Theatre's children's Christmas production

WHEN: 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2

WHERE: UpStage Theatre Cortana Mall, 9401 Cortana Place, Entrance 1

TICKETS/INFO: $21; $15 for ages 12 and younger. (225) 924-3774 or upstagetheatre.biz.

Follow Robin Miller on Twitter, @rmillerbr.