Can a kindergartener be a criminal? What punishment does a mitten thief deserve? Can one vindicate themselves against a crime they have committed? These are just a few of the questions Junie B. Jones must answer in the story of this season’s children’s show at Northwestern.
The show involves a ten-color pen, a playground on wheels, several life-changing lectures (for kindergarteners) and other assorted attractions for both children and adults to enjoy. The show promises to be a genuine and wonderful story that will inspire the artistic drive in anyone who sees it.
“Junie B. Jones is Not a Crook” by Allison Gregory is the story of how little Junie B’s mittens have been stolen and her quest to get them back. Simultaneously, she herself found a ten-color pen on the ground and refused to turn it in to the lost and found. This moral dilemma of a child’s world eventually wraps up other classmates, Junie’s mother and the school principle. The play promises to be heartwarming, fun and have a strong moral backbone, as most children’s shows do.
Alexander Lowry, head stage manager for the show, said that director Drew Schmidt chose to put on this play because: “It’s an active and engaging story that will be good for the community.”
In regards to the moral, Lowery said, “the show really is for children. We want to show them art can be fun and meaningful. Adults might like it, but it’s not really for them.”
A staggering 3,000 students from area grade schools will see the show during its 17 showings spread over two and a half months. The cast and crew hope others will be inspired to create art of their own; maybe they’ll even join theatre.
“It can bring you back to childhood, especially if you read the books as a kid,” Lowery said. Lowry mentions he has written his own shorthand to notate the complexities of the show. He has to keep track of every piece of playground equipment and know who was in charge of every single puppet.
“Oh, there’s about thirty puppets all told” he said.
Old or young in either age or spirit, “Junie B. Jones is not a Crook” is shaping up to be an exciting and colorful experience for everyone. The public showings are at 7 p.m. Sept. 28 and 4 p.m. Sept. 29 in our very own R. Keith Allen Black Box Theatre.