Do you ever wish you could go back to the simplicity of first grade? Last weekend, members of the Middle School cast of Junie B. Jones, The Musical did just that, taking audiences down memory lane through the eyes of a rambunctious first-grader.
(Spoiler alert: Elementary school is NOT always so simple!)
The cast brought Barbara Park's best-selling books to life, showcasing the adventures and antics of Junie B. Jones, including getting glasses, interacting with a friendly cafeteria lady, competing in an intense kickball tournament, and keeping a "Top-Secret Personal Beeswax Journal!"
The performers rehearsed for weeks, but the lessons they've learned throughout their rehearsals will have lifelong benefits.
"The most important lesson these young performers have learned is empathy. They've had to evoke empathy as they put themselves in a character's shoes," said Performing Arts Teacher Taylor Ragan '07. "Plus, the public speaking and self-confidence they gain while performing are unmatched."
Demonstrating teamwork is also critical as the show comes together.
"People may not immediately compare the cast of a play to that of a sports team, but they really are similar. The cast has to have teamwork and camaraderie for the final vision to come together and for each puzzle piece to fit," explained Mrs. Ragan.
The show was lively and entertaining and not without teachable moments for the cast and for the audience. "Junie B. is like us; she makes mistakes and has to learn to be a good friend. That's exactly what the performers are learning right now, as well," said Mrs. Ragan.
In fact, for Mrs. Ragan, one of the most rewarding parts of directing the show was seeing friendships form between the older and younger cast members.
"They have really enjoyed building these relationships. It's been great to see the 8th graders mentor and befriend the 6th and 7th graders. They are willing to be role models for the younger performers," she said.
Much like Junie B., Mrs. Ragan said the cast and crew were bubbling with excitement to perform the show for family and friends.
"When it comes to our Middle School performers, their enthusiasm and energy never seem to wane!" Mrs. Ragan exclaimed.
- Middle School