PHILADELPHIA, PA: Boys and girls will love Walnut Street Theatre for Kids’ production of Junie B. Jones The Musical. The Junie B. Jones book series is celebrating its 25th anniversary, and the world’s funniest first-grader is front and center at Walnut Street Theatre. Kids, parents and grandparents can read the books together and see their favorite characters live on stage in an hour-long musical filled with lots of laughter. Due to popular demand, the Walnut has just announced the production has been extended! Junie B. Jones will now run June 2nd through June 18th.
It’s Junie B. Jones’ first day of First Grade, and things sure are different than they were in Kindergarten. Between new friends, getting glasses and not being allowed to play in the kickball tournament, there’s a lot going on! Plus, Mrs. Gutzman, the friendly cafeteria lady, doesn’t deliver fresh-baked cookies to class like she used to do. Join Junie B. and her friends Sheldon, Herbert and Jose as they find their own way to stardom at the First Grade Kickball Tournament. Through singing, dancing, and a little help from her grown-up friends, Junie B. Jones learns that “practice won’t make perfect, but it sure helps out!” Take a page from Junie B.’s “Top-Secret Personal Beeswax Journal:” it’s the bestest musical ever, featuring Junie B. herself and a whole school filled with lovable characters—except May, of course—she’s a tattletale.
Walnut Street Theatre for Kids encourages families to read together and discover a whole new level of imagination when they see books come to life onstage. Thousands of students across the Delaware Valley attend WST for Kids performances and experience live theatre for the first time as part of school trips. Junie B. Jones The Musical, suited for Grades K-6, has two special student matinee performances on Friday, June 2nd and Wednesday, June 7th, and additional performances have just been added for parents and kids. The Walnut takes pride in bringing families together, introducing students to live theatre, and beginning a creative conversation through reading and the arts.
Junie B. Jones The Musical is based on the wildly popular book series by Barbara Park. This year marks the 25th anniversary of her series that has sold over 60 million copies in North America and become a staple in elementary school classrooms worldwide. Park’s first Junie B. Jones book was published in 1992. Over the course of the 28-book series, her work has spent over 180 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller list.
Not long after setting out to teach high school history and political science, Park realized that her true calling in life was to bring laughter to children through writing. She went on to publish over 50 picture books and middle grade novels and won more than forty children’s book awards, including several Children’s Choice Awards. Adding to Park’s stories is illustrator Denise Brunkus, whose images lead kids through Junie B.’s action-packed grade school days. In addition to the Junie B. Jones series, Brunkus enjoys the popularity of her illustrations for over 60 children’s books including Read All About It! and Charlie Hits It Big.
Junie B. Jones The Musical was first produced in 2004 by TheatreworksUSA and was nominated for the 2005 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical. Bookwriter and Lyricist Marcy Heisler adapted Junie B. Jones for the stage. Heisler also wrote the lyrics along with award-winning lyricist and composer Zina Goldrich. Goldrich’s musical talent has also been featured in Broadway orchestra pits for Avenue Q, Oklahoma! and Titanic, as well as on TV in Nickelodeon’s Wonder Pets and Disney Channel’s Johnny and the Sprites.
Doylestown native Ellie Mooney brings the adventures of the world’s funniest first-grader from the page to the stage as Director and Choreographer. Recently, Mooney has directed and choreographed Walnut’s ongoing Independence Studio on 3 production of Jerry’s Girls. Mooney’s other WST directing and choreography credits include I Love a Piano in the Walnut’s Independence Studio on 3 along with Fancy Nancy: The Musical and Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol as part of the WST for Kids series. She can currently be seen on the Walnut’s Mainstage as Miss Prism in Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. Mooney is also a teaching artist at The Theatre School at Walnut Street Theatre. Mark Yurkanin (A Christmas Carol; Garfield, The Musical With Cattitude; Skippyjon Jones) joins the production as the Music and Vocal Director.
From the school cafeteria and Mr. Scary’s classroom, to the stinky school bus and the kickball field, Scenic Designer Laura Revelt creates a stage fit for any kid’s fantasy. Revelt is currently the Walnut’s Shop Management Apprentice and is excited to take on her second opportunity as WST for Kids Scenic Designer after designing Garfield, The Musical With Cattitude in February. Fashioning the school clothes for Junie B. and her lovable friends is Walnut’s Costume Apprentice, Aidan John Miller. The Walnut welcomes back Sound Designer Ryan Peavey (Laughter on the 23rd Floor, Skippyjon Jones) and Lighting Designer J. Dominic Chacon (The Rise and Fall of Little Voice; Garfield, The Musical With Cattitude).
The cast of Junie B. Jones The Musical are all members of The Theatre School at Walnut Street Theatre. In the title role of Junie B. Jones is Joslynn Cortes. Jacob Schrimpf, Faith Sacher and Jared Calhoun will quick change into the roles of Herb/Chenille, Lucille/Jose/Bobbi Jean Piper and Sheldon/Camille/Lennie, respectively. Junie B.’s rival, May, along with Junie’s Mom and one of her friends, Grace, will be played by Jamie Beth Weist. Playing the generous lunchlady, Gladys Gutzman, along with Junie’s teacher, Mr. Scary, and Junie’s Dad is Rafael Martinez-Salgado.
The media sponsors for Walnut Street Theatre for Kids are Courier-Post and Mix 106.1. Tickets are only $14.50-$16.50 with group discounts available for groups of ten or more. Study guides are available for teachers and school groups on the Walnut’s website. For tickets and information, please call 215-574-3550 or 800-982-2787. Tickets can also be purchased online at Ticketmaster or by visiting the Walnut’s website at www.WalnutStreetTheatre.org.
JUST THE FACTS:
WHAT: Junie B. Jones The Musical
Book and Lyrics by Marcy Heisler
Music and Lyrics by Zina Goldrich
Based on the Series of books by Barbara Park
WHEN: June 2nd – June 18th, 2017
WHERE: Walnut Street Theatre
825 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA
WHO: Director/Choreographer: Ellie Mooney
Music and Vocal Director: Mark Yurkanin
Set Designer: Laura Revelt
Lighting Designer: J. Dominic Chacon
Costume Designer: Aidan John Miller
Sound Designer: Ryan Peavey
TICKETS: $14.50 – $16.50
$10.50-$12.50 for Groups
CURTAIN: Friday, June 2nd at 10:30am
Saturday, June 3rd at 10:30am, 1:00pm and 3:30pm
Sunday, June 4th at 11:00am
Wednesday, June 7th at 10:30am
Saturday, June 10th at 11:00am
Friday, June 10th at 11:00am
Sunday, June 11th at 11:00am
Saturday, June 17th at 11:00am
Sunday, June 18th at 11:00am
PHONE: 215-574-3550 or 800-982-2787
WEBSITE: www.WalnutStreetTheatre.org or Ticketmaster
Sheldon/Camille/Lennie ……………………………………JARED CALHOUN
Junie B. Jones………………………………………………JOSLYNN CORTES
Mr. Scary/Gladys Gutzman/Junie’s Dad..………………..RAFAEL MARTINEZ-SALGADO
Lucille/Jose/Bobbi Jean Piper……………………………..FAITH SACHER Herb/Chenille………………………………………………..JACOB SCHRIMPF
Junie’s Mom/May/Grace……………………………………JAMIE BETH WEIST