JUNIE IS BUSTIN’ OUT ALL OVER …..
Brazos Valley TROUPE loves going back to material that we have created over the years. Over the past three years, Barbara Parks’ series of Junie B Jones books has been visited with two productions. Through the eyes of our child like Junie B Jones, things are simple yet complex and each story, among the dozens of books, has a lesson for every child …. and every adult who cares to see it. That coupled with comedic antics and the ever-special touch of Brazos Valley TROUPE flair gives us productions that are magical and memorable. The next production in the trilogy of Junie B shows is sure to be just that when we present Junie B. Jones Is Not A Crook.
Allison Gregory’s beyond hilarious play, based on two of Barbara Parks’ books (“Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren” and “Junie B. Jones Is Not a Crook”), finds us back in her kindergarten class with her “two bestest friends”, Grace & Lucille, and other Parks characters too. This is BVT’s second stint with Allison Gregory as we just produced her “Junie B. Jones in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells”. Her brand of humor and writing style is so vivid and colorful. It really gives the actors a huge leg-up when taking on the task of bring the text to life on stage. And “bring it” is exactly what this cast is doing.
The three main roles of the play are double-cast roles. The ‘Finders’ cast features Jadyn Burrows as Junie B., Evelyn Schmeichel as Grace and Emma West as Lucille while the ‘Keepers’ cast features Paige Perrone as Junie B., Ramona Dworkin as Grace and Molly Fleener as Lucille. Each of these girls, all 12 & under, has TROUPE veteran experience on stage and, at their ripe young ages, have built up quite a resume already. That’s because one of the crown jewels of BVT is opportunity and we love giving our kids the opportunity to shine. And, when given the chance, that is exactly what they do! The rest of the includes Jacob Smith (Handsome Warren), Jaxson Perrone (Ricardo), Nicolas Burrescia (Meanie Jim), Eleanor Garrison-Tate (Tattletale May), Larkin Burdine (Charlotte), Sarah Boytim (Shirley), Emmy Conley (Bobbie Jean Piper), Mia Hardin (Roger), Izzy Burlin (Camille) and Jayce Burrows (Pink Fluffy Girl). Every last one of these performers is under 12 years of age, but as I like to say, “acting years are like dog years”, meaning experience counts for a great deal when it comes to being on the stage.
In Junie B.’s world, there are adults too and many of them are being played by some of our over 12 crew. They are Reece Wright (Mrs.), Rachel Nodar (Helen Miller), Maddie Weeks (Principal), Marissa Moats (Grouchy Typing Lady) and Daniel Beck (Grampa Miller). Other members of the cast are what we call crew/characters and they include Richy Nodar (Mr. Scary), Karie Nodar (Mrs. Weller), Amy Wise (Gladys Gutzman), Tammie Burlin (Mrs Hall), John Burrows (Gus Vallony) and M. A. Sterling (Mr. Toot).
The team of designers & producers for Junie B. Jones Is Not A Crook are as stellar as the cast. John Burrows wears many hats in the production as he is not only the Stage Manager but the Scenic Designer and Executive Producer as well. Costume design is by Catherine West, Pam Perrone and Ashley Burrows (who also serves as Associate Producer along with M. A. Sterling). The Technical Designer and is Calista Moats (Lighting & Sound) who also serves as Apprentice Producer with scoring by M. A. Sterling. Technical Operations will be by Henry England and Liam Vantine. Hair & Makeup Design is by Viking Studio students. The Properties Master is Nicolas Roman. House Management is by Michelle Moats.
Junie B. Jones Is Not A Crook is a TROUPE mainstage production and will run for two FUNderful weekends. Evening performances are at 730pm on February 24, 25, March 3 & 4 with matinees at 3pm on February 25, 26, March 4 & 5. Ticket prices are $15 for adults, $12 for BVT members and Aggie/Blinn students with ID and $6 for youth (under 12). Premium Table seating up front is $25 per person ($85 per table of 4) and limited rear Bistro Table Seating is $20 per person. Table seating comes with tokens for concessions and the convenience of enjoying snacks at the table. Box opens 30 minutes prior to curtain time. BVT members, sponsors, season ticket holders & those who desire table seating may email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to place reservations. All other guests may visit our website at www.bvtroupe.com and be directed to our online ticket supplier, Eventbrite. They may also go directly to www.eventbrite.com to get their tickets (subject to a nominal service charge).
WHAT’S THE SCOOP?…..
Something terrible happened to Junie B. Jones at school today! Someone stole her new furry mittens! So when Junie B. finds a wonderful pen of many colors, she should be allowed to keep it, right? Because finders keepers, losers weepers. And guess what? There’s a new boy in kindergarten and he is the handsomest. The only thing is both Grace and Lucille want him to be their boyfriend. Maybe he will love Junie B. when he sees her wonderful pen! It is okay to keep it, right? Junie B. Jones is not a crook . . . or is she? A hilarious and heartfelt tale based on the best-selling book series by Barbara Park.
Allison Gregory has successfully woven together the books, “Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren” and “Junie B. Jones Is Not a Crook”, into a delightfully funny play that both entertains and enlightens. While the focus of the piece is mainly on Junie B.’s search for her missing mittens, Gregory does a good job of providing plenty of humor in the piece, both for children and adults, as well as ensuring that Junie learns from her experiences. The included issues of right and wrong in dealing with what to do when you find something that doesn’t belong to you as well as how to interact with kids who are new to your school to make sure they feel included are simple yet incredibly effective lessons for younger children to learn.
“Junie B. Jones Is Not a Crook” shows how simple little things like losing one’s mittens can become what seem like gigantic issues for a child. But it also proves that being yourself and doing the right thing can make something that seems to be giant actually be something very small. And you might make a new friend in the process as well. With an incredible cast & crew led by Jadyn Burrows and Paige Perrone, as Junie B. Jones in alternating performances, and a well-written & well-paced adaptation from Allison Gregory, BVT’s production is sure to be the “hat trick” hit in the trilogy of ‘Junie B’ productions over the last 2 seasons. If you merely like TROUPE’s presentations of “Junie B. Jones, The Musical” and “Junie B. Jones in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells”, you will love “Junie B. Jones Is Not A Crook”.
WHAT’S THE WORD ON THE PLAY…..
Talkin’ Broadway says
“Gregory does a good job of providing plenty of humor in the piece, both for children and adults, as well as ensuring that Junie learns from her experiences. The included issues of right and wrong . . . are simple yet incredibly effective lessons for younger children to learn.”
“A lesson on ethics and empathy told with heart and humor.”
Broadway World says
“Although a children’s production, Junie B. Jones is by no means shallow. Junie B. and her friends face various dilemmas and moral lessons, including forgoing selfish desires and the power of friendship. The show provides children with great principles.”
ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT…..
Allison Gregory is a playwright and theatre collaborator. Her plays have been produced all over the country and she has received commissions, grants, and development from Oregon Shakespeare Festival, South Coast Repertory, The Kennedy Center, Indiana Repertory Theatre, the Skirball-Kenis Foundation, ACT Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre, The Empty Space, Seattle’s Arts and Cultural Affairs, LATC, The New Harmony Project, Seattle Dramatists, Northwest Playwright’s Alliance, Amphibian Stage Productions, ZACH Theatre, and Austin Scriptworks. Her work has been the recipient of the Julie Harris Playwriting Award (Forcing Hyacinths), South Coast Repertory Theatre’s Playwrights Award (Forcing Hyacinths), Garland & Dramalogue Awards (Fall Off Night, Breathing Room, L.A.), and Seattle Times Best New Play Award (Burning Bridget Cleary), as well as finalists for the O’Neill Playwright’s Conference, Bay Area Playwright’s Festival, and Harriet Lake PlayFest. Her play Not Medea, an O’Neill finalist, will receive a 2016 National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere at B Street Theatre, Contemporary American Theatre Festival, and Perseverance Theatre.uncertain terms was developed at Hedgebrook Women Playwright’s Festival and premiered at ArtsGarage, directed by Louis Tyrrell. She is currently working on a play about race and motherhood in America, titledMotherland.
Allison also writes for young audiences; those plays include Go Dog. Go!, adapted from the P.D. Eastman book, co-written with Steven Dietz; Even Steven Goes to War (“Zoni” Best New Script Award; AATE and UPRP awards; Kennedy Center New Visions/New Voices selection); Peter and the Wolf (National tour), and Junie B. in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells! (over 150 professional productions). Her play Ronia: the Robber’s Daughter, adapted from Astrid Lindgren’s story, was recently licensed internationally and premiered at Teatr Pinokio in Poland, and Junie B. is Not A Crook, adapted from the beloved book series by Barbara Park, takes the stage with Brazos Valley TROUPE this spring. Her plays are published by Playscripts, Smith & Krauss, Dramatic Publishing, and Rain City Press.
Allison is an alumni of LATC’S Wordsmiths, and a former Hedgebrook resident. She lives in Austin where she is the co-founder of Austin ‘Wrights, an awesome playwright collective.