Grades 4-7 present 'Junie B. Jones Jr.' musical
Posted on: Feb 21, 2018
Theater-goers can step into the mind of an elementary student in this weekend’s musical production of “Junie B. Jones Jr.”
Over the past two months students in fourth grade through seventh grade have been preparing Delano’s next show, which captures the highs and lows of first-grade life. There are more than 25 books in the Junie B. Jones series, written by Barbara Park, and the play encompasses elements of the first three books.
“If you read the books, you’re going to want to see this,” said seventh-grader Sydney Kazin, who plays the role of Junie’s mother in the story.
Director Barb Roy said the stories flowed well from the written page to the stage.
“Junie B. Jones is a popular series of books for young readers, and the script was great,” she said, adding that the enthusiasm of the young actors is her favorite aspect of working with students in the upper elementary and middle school range.
Rehearsals started last month, and have given the cast and crew enough time to polish the production that stars sixth-grader Kiersten Koets in the lead role.
“This is my first play ever,” said Koets earlier this week. “I’ve done a few church plays, but didn’t have much for speaking parts in those. I am so nervous about it, but I haven’t had a lot of time to think about the actual play so far.”
Kazin said there was a very good reason for Koets to play the leading role despite her relative lack of experience.
“She can sing like no other,” she said.
Koets was talked into trying out for the role by fellow sixth-grader Moriah Tonsberg, who plays food service icon Gladys Gutzman.
“The parts are overdramatic, but they’re super silly at the same time,” said Tonsberg, who is a veteran of multiple past school plays.
What keep Tonsberg coming back to the lights and stage?
“I just like the feeling of being something that you’re not, but nobody cares that you’re not being yourself,” she said with a laugh. “It’s also a good excuse to wear costumes without looking like a lunatic. The costumes in this play are all very bright and colorful.”
That goes for the set too.
“[High school junior] Kelli Carroll has done an amazing job painting the set to make it look like a composition book,” said Roy. “She has painted all of our sets this year and she is so good at it.”
More than half a dozen high schoolers have served as student directors for the show, and Tonsberg, Koets and Kazin agreed that their presence has been very helpful as well as humorous.
“Everybody doing this, we all just become like a family,” Tonsberg said.
The production opens on Thursday evening, Feb. 22, at 7 p.m. in the middle school auditorium. Additional shows follow at 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 23, and 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 24. Tickets are available at the door.