Seattle Children’s Theatre Brings Popular Book Series

To Life on Stage in Musical:

Junie B. Jones and a Little Monkey Business

(Seattle, WA)—Seattle Children’s Theatre (SCT) will say goodbye to its 2005-2006 season and hello to spring with Joan Cushing’s lively adaptation of Barbara Park’s Junie B. Jones and a Little Monkey Business. Filled with comical song, dance and bright design, the play sprawls more than 20 Junie B. Jones books, superimposed with the story of the monkey business, bringing to life the grand tales of excitement and trouble from a feisty kindergartner.

Since her first book in 1992, Park’s Junie B. Jones series has sold 28 million copies in eight languages, becoming the fifth highest selling children’s series of all time. There are 26 books in the series, which Booklist calls “sassy, hilarious and insightful,” and Park has won 40 awards for her books, including 25 Children’s Choice awards. Since its 2003 premiere at Imagination Stage in Maryland, the funny and dynamic Junie B. Jones and a Little Monkey Business has been produced to critical acclaim across the nation.

Of Seattle’s production, SCT Artistic Director Linda Hartzell says: “Bringing the world of this sprightly child to life is an exceptional cast, full of some of the funniest, most clever and playful actors seen anywhere in Seattle. With direction from David Bennett, who brought us Bunnicula, this show has an energy and vitality sure to capture the hearts of everyone in the family.”

Junie B. Jones and a Little Monkey Business, recommended for ages six and older, runs April 14 through June 18. Public performances run Fridays at 7 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays at 2 and 5:30 p.m. at Seattle Children’s Theatre, located at 201 Thomas Street at Seattle Center. Tickets range in price from $16 to $31 and may be purchased by calling the SCT ticket office at (206) 441-3322 or by visiting www.sct.org.

Playwright, composer and lyricist Cushing is best known for her political satire, and her satirical revue Mrs. Foggybottom & Friends ran for 10 years in Washington, D.C. More recently, she has been commissioned to adapt five popular children’s books as musicals: Miss Nelson Is Missing!; Brave Irene; Junie B. Jones; Miss Nelson Has a Field Day!; and Petite Rouge: A Cajun Red Riding Hood. She recently completed a full-length musical, The Christmas Doll, based on the book by Elvira Woodruff, and her musical Tussaud, based on the dark tale of Madame Tussaud, opens in Tampa, Florida in July.

Bennett directed last season’s Bunnicula at Seattle Children’s Theatre. He also directed Miss Saigon, My Fair Lady and The Most Happy Fella at 5th Avenue Theatre, and Once On This Island and Man of La Mancha at Village Theatre.

Junie B. Jones and a Little Monkey Business follows an outspoken and precocious young girl through her feelings of frustration at having a baby brother on the way, and the dilemma of finding something great for show-and-tell at school. Styled for the eyes of a young child, the play uses vibrant costumes and fanciful sets, backed by an upbeat score with Junie B.’s own rich, expressive language. The sets and costumes were designed by Edie Whitsett and Karen Ledger, respectively.

CAST AND DESIGN TEAM

The cast for Junie B. Jones and a Little Monkey Business includes Lisa Estridge as That Grace, Stephen Hando as Principal/Crybaby William/Father, Peter A. Jacobs as Grampa/Meanie Jim, Laura Kenny as Mrs./Grandma, Leslie Law as Lucille/Mother, and Liz McCarthy as Junie B. Jones. Chad Jennings and Alyssa Keene are the understudies.

SCT’s production features choreography by Kathryn Van Meter, musical direction by Mark Rabe, arrangement by Greg Fulton, set design by Edie Whitsett, costume design by Karen Ledger, light design by Michael Wellborn, sound design by Chris R. Walker, and assistant direction by Andy Jensen.

SYNOPSIS

Junie B. Jones is a strong-willed, spirited six-year-old girl. One night, her parents tell her they have a surprise for her. Surprise usually means presents and Junie B. loves presents! But there isn’t a present, just the news that there will be a baby in the house soon.

Later on, Junie’s teacher, Mrs., tells the class that next Monday is going to be very special because they are going to have show-and-tell. Junie B. has a big problem now—what special thing is she going to bring? That Grace has her new pink hightops and Lucille has her pretty princess dress; everyone has something except Junie B.

When her mother and father are too busy decorating the nursery, Junie B. decides her show-and-tell dilemma is a problem for Grampa. Junie B. visits Grampa to help do odd jobs around the house and asks his advice.

After sleeping on it, Junie B. wakes the next morning to the smell of waffles—Grampa made them special for her because Grandma is at the hospital where mother is having the baby. When Grandma comes home, she has great news—Junie B.’s new baby brother is the cutest little monkey Grandma’s ever seen. Now Junie B. will have the best show-and-tell of all—a real live monkey!

Once back at school, her show-and-tell idea receives rave reviews from That Grace and Lucille. In fact, they are so excited they both want to be the first one to see the new monkey brother. Lucille gives Junie B. her locket, sweater and snack ticket; That Grace gives up her cereal box ring, snack ticket and new pink high tops. Junie B. is on top of the world, until Mrs. sees That Grace in her socks and sends Junie B. to the Principal’s office. The Principal listens to her story and gets Grandma on the phone to explain to Junie B. that her brother isn’t really a monkey after all.

A limited amount of $10 rush tickets will be available Friday nights (except for opening night) at SCT’s ticket office, located at 201 Thomas Street in Seattle. There will be an American Sign Language interpreted performance of the play for deaf and hard-of-hearing patrons on Saturday, June 3, at 2 p.m. For tickets, call (206) 441-3322, voice, or (206) 443-6938, TTY.

Seattle Children’s Theatre would like to thank season sponsor Microsoft and show sponsors Boeing, U.S. Bank and Davis Wright Tremaine, LLP for their generous support of Junie B. Jones and a Little Monkey Business.

Seattle Children’s Theatre, celebrating its 31st season, performs September through June in the Charlotte Martin and Eve Alvord Theatres at Seattle Center. Since its inception, SCT has gained acclaim as a leading producer of theatre, educational programs and new scripts for young people, and was recently listed in the top five children’s theatres in the nation by Time magazine. SCT has presented 174 plays, 92 of which have been world premieres, and entertained over 4 million children.

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