Music Director MJ Harper gives notes to McKenna Shaw, who plays the lead character in "Junie B. Jones The Musical," in a Green Room vocal rehearsal.
It's been three years since I have lived in the first grade world. Sure, I give voice and piano lessons to a first grader, and there's a second grade girl I teach violin and ukulele to ... but one on one is different than a set of 24 unique Littles of the first grade variety for a 30-minute music class.
Jumping headfirst into the musical version of "Junie B. Jones" was like coming home. It tasted like "hey, I remember this ... and I loved it!" That doesn't mean this music is easy, it's just very accessible and kid-friendly. From the sweet ragtime of "When Life Gives You Lemons" to the hard rock of "Show and Tell" to the 1950s-60s-era "Lucille, Camille, Chenille" and the many "shoo bee" transitions, there's something for everyone in the family to tap their toe to.
The cast worked intensively to piece the music together for the show in just three days. That requires an abundance of dedicated practice outside of regularly scheduled rehearsals, not to mention quick learners with good ears and great attitudes. Now, onto choreography and blocking! Exploring life through the eyes of Junie B. Jones awakens the magic of what life was like when YOU were a tiny human. Everything is new. Every event is the BEST THING EVER. Every stumble in the road is a tragedy of epic proportions. Whether you know an elementary student currently, or simply remember "the good old days," this musical is the show to see!
Production dates: March 24 for schools, March 25-26 for the public. Tickets will be on sale soon at www.memorialauditorium.org
— Mary Jo Harper Music Director of "Junie B. Jones The Musical" and Ft. Scott Elementary music teacher
The cast of "Junie B. Jones The Musical" holds a pose after a musical number, choreographed and taught by Pittsburg High School Senior Will Jewett (front), who also plays the role of Sheldon.