Junie B. Jones Comes to Life

Okay, so this one isn’t going to resonate with the non-parents out there — in other words, most of my regular readers — but the Bethesda Academy of Performing Arts’s Imagination Stage is putting on a show I wanted to call attention to: Junie B. Jones and a Little Monkey Business. From what I’ve read, if you have (or know) any elementary-age children, this one’s a must-see, and a great choice for the new stage’s inauguration.

For those of you unfamiliar with the phenomenon that is Junie B. Jones, let me offer a bit of background: She’s the creation of children’s author Barbara Park (with the help of illustrator Denise Brunkus). Junie B. — and it’s very important that you not omit the “B” — is a kindergartner with a knack for... if not always trouble, then at least difficulty. She appears in a series of books (now numbering 21) that are wildly popular with the elementary-school set. And, I’ll be honest, with parents as well; they’re genuinely funny, intelligent, and well written. There have been several occasions where I’ve been disappointed that my daughter’s finished one of the books without me — and I’ve had to go back and finish it to see what happened.

Well, they’ve made it into a musical, with book, music, and lyrics by Joan Cushing (based on the books), direction by Kathryn Chase Bryer, and starring Sherri L. Edelen as Junie B. Jones; in the vein of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, the cast is composed entirely of adults. And so far, it’s been successful enough that they’ve extended it until August 24th.

Go see it, and remember what it’s like to be a kid again.


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