Junie B Jones opening Friday


Joseph Pratt

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The Portsmouth Area Arts Council (PAAC) and Children’s Theatre (PACT) is preparing to showcase the musical talents of local children through a production of “Junie B. Jones, the Musical,” which will hit the stage this weekend.

The musical is newly available for community theatre outlets. Prior to public access, the show was brought to Portsmouth through a touring company, which was sponsored by PAAC. The show was such a hit with local schools, that Executive Director Becky Lovins said she knew they had to bring it back. The twist with this production, however, is that it features the talents of nine local student performers, not counting the kids making it possible behind the curtains.

“After the tour, the show became available for licensing,” Lovins explained. “It is a script that the teachers and students, and everyone, just fell in love with it.”

When asked if this show could become a regular in the season, Lovins explained, “You know, it could. The characters and books are still very popular. The stories have a wonderful message and are just very, very entertaining. We will have to see.”

Lovins said that two of the three performances include student matinees that quickly sold-out and have growing waiting lists.

The show is composed of a collection of four classic stories by the same name. The four Junie B. Jones stories include “Top-Secret Personal Beeswax Journal,” “The Boss of Lunch,” “Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl,” and “First Grader at Last.”

According to show licensing company Musical Theatre International (MTI) “Junie B. Jones, the Musical” is “a delightful adaptation of four of Barbara Park’s best-selling books, brought to life in a genuinely comical, and not strictly-for-kids musical developed by TheatreworksUSA. Awaken a young person’s desire to read with the sassy little diva Junie B. Jones and her adventures in first grade.”

Lovins explained that PAAC ordinarily brings in these types of shows, so she was happy to hit two birds with one stone and allow the children an opportunity to do more.

“We had another show planned to fill this time slot, but, in June, the company called to tell us they canceled the tour,” Lovins explained. “We wanted something in December, though, and we decided to go back to this show. We had many teachers praise it and we knew it would work again.”

Junie B. Jones is being played by Julianne Parlin, a young theatre veteran with over 15 shows under her belt, many of which include leading roles.

Parlin explained that theatre is an important aspect of her life and she always looks forward to a show.

“Theatre is a great way to express yourself,” Parlin said. “It is great for kids my age, because you can express yourself through performance, while making friends and having fun. It is awesome all around.”

Parlin said that she also has fun getting into character and Junie was no different.

“It has been really fun. It is a completely different role from what I usually play. I have never got to play a little kid before and it is fun. Junie is really hyper and very different from me, because I’m not the kind of person who is hyper,” Parlin said. “It has been fun to play with that. It has been pretty awesome.”

The public performance will open curtain at the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, December 4. General admission is $7 for adults and $5 for students. Tickets can be bought at the door or through the McKinley Box Office.

“We love this show. The music is infectious and the characters are amazing,” Lovins said. “It is a fun, fun show and I believe people will leave here happy.”

Reach Joseph Pratt at 740-353-3101, ext. 1932, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.

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Jason Cate | 451 Photos
The cast of "Junie B Jones, the Musical"
http://portsmouth-dailytimes.aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2015/12/web1_CG3A4440.jpgJason Cate | 451 Photos
The cast of "Junie B Jones, the Musical"

Joseph Pratt | Daily Times
The cast of "Junie B. Jones, the Musical" rehearsing the opening act.
http://portsmouth-dailytimes.aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2015/12/web1_20151130_172828-1.jpgJoseph Pratt | Daily Times
The cast of "Junie B. Jones, the Musical" rehearsing the opening act.

Joseph Pratt | Daily Times
The cast of "Junie B. Jones, the Musical" rehearsing the opening act.
http://portsmouth-dailytimes.aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2015/12/web1_20151130_172945.jpgJoseph Pratt | Daily Times
The cast of "Junie B. Jones, the Musical" rehearsing the opening act.

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