Junie B. Jones- a 1st grade delight

Reviewer: Kristine Gotham

Venue: Bay City Players

Audiences were treated to a rare performance at Bay City Players last weekend, a children’s musical!

June B. Jones Jr delighted viewers with a high energy, colorful performance, full of songs and activity and even a kick line, centered around newly minted first grader, Junie B. Jones (Jecara Williams).

The play starts with Junie writing about her excitement and angst about first grade in her journal, which she calls her “Top Secret Personal Beeswax”. The first day of school arrives and Junie finds herself without a best friend, since last year’s friend, Lucille (Lexi Markham), has decided to befriend twin sisters, Camille (Avery Barron) and Chenille (Kennedy Griffith) instead.  Junie soon finds a friend in , Herbert (Nicholas Breen). The ups and downs continue.  Junie needs glasses, then she gets to help the favorite lunch lady, Gladys Gutzman (Addison Baker).  Junie is excited to participate in the Kickball tournament, but a foot injury sidelines her.  Dad (Brady Beson) and Mom (Marissa Farhenbruch) encourage Junie to make lemonade from lemons.  

In the end, first grade wasn’t so bad after all.  Junie has filled her Top Secret Personal Beeswax with all sorts of stories and adventures of her school days.  

Williams’ performance of Junie B. Jones is totally on point.  Watching her, you see an eight year old girl starting first grade, filled with both excitement and anxiety.  Markham’s, Lucille, is the perfect foil and Breen’s, Herbert, is the best best friend a girl could have.  Supporting Williams on stage are a number of supporting characters, Grace (Karrianna Marinez), Bobbi Jean Piper (Harper Ostahowski), Mr. Woo (Luke Sommerfield), May (Serena Gohs), Lennie (Hudson Frye), Jose (Hillel Rak-Mehler), Mr. Scary (Chloe Tasior), Shirley (Elise Fibranz) and Sheldon (Micah Fibranz), and students/ensemble members, Kerrington Appold, Sophia Winningham, Madeline Raasch, Gabby Murray, Eliza Obey, Hailey Holsinger and Sawyer Madduz-Foco.  

The cast was backed up by Director, Erin Frye, Assistant Director, Zoey Scwab, Music Director and Choreographer, Sherri Angelotti, Producer, David Angelotti, as well as Set Design, Sound Design, Lighting Design, Costumers and Props.

I saw this performance on a sunny, Sunday afternoon.  The theater was filled with family and friends, excited to see their favorite young thespian on stage.  These performers did not disappoint!  I am sure that we will be seeing more of them on the stage in the future.  

Junie B. Jones, Jr.: the musical, is on at Bay City Players again this weekend, September 30 and October 1 at 3 pm.

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