Murray Arts Council announces cast for 'Junie B. Jones, The Musical'

"Junie B. Jones, The Musical" cast members include, front row, from left, Reagan Bailey, Noah Smith, Brady Talley, Jaynie Talley, Lia Blanchard, Austin Pass, Savannah Morgan and Pierce Bailey; second row, Hannah Pass, Madison Shelton, Cole Talley, Joe McDaniel, Emma McDaniel, Kasey Marshall, Kyler Bradley, Ben Bethea and Madi Olive; third row, Kadence Bennett, America Chavarria, Kaitlyn Wimpy, Aubrie Williams, Avery Southern and Ella Gordon. Not pictured are Zoey Wilson and Kirstan Mullinax.


The Murray Arts Council announces its cast for its fifth annual summer children's theater production, "Junie B. Jones, The Musical."

The show, directed by MAC President Lori McDaniel, will be performed July 11-13 at Pleasant Valley Innovative School (also known as the Old Eton School) in Eton.

"Junie B. Jones, The Musical" is a funny adaptation of four of Barbara Park's best-selling books, brought to life in a comical (and not strictly-for-kids) musical. This musical may even awaken a young person's desire to read about the sassy little diva, Junie B. Jones, and her adventures in kindergarten and first grade.

The musical begins on Junie B.'s first day of first grade, and a lot of things have changed for her: Junie's friend, Lucille, doesn't want to be her BFF anymore, and, on the bus, Junie B. makes friends with Herb, the new kid at school. Also, Junie has trouble reading the blackboard and her teacher thinks she may need glasses. Throw in a friendly cafeteria lady, a kickball tournament and a "Top-Secret Personal Beeswax Journal," and first grade has never been more exciting. Featuring a lovable character and fun-filled songs, "Junie B. Jones" will capture audience members' hearts just as the books captivated an entire generation of students.

"Junie B. Jones, The Musical" cast members include Emma McDaniel as Junie B., Brady Talley as Herb, Avery Southern as Lucille, Ella Gordon and Zoey Wilson as the fancy twins (Camille and Chenille), Cole Talley as Sheldon, Aubrie Williams as May, Kaitlin Wimpy as Grace, America Chavarria as Bobbie Jean Piper, Kasey Marshall as Mr. Scary, Kyler Bradley and Kadence Bennett as Junie's Mom and Dad, Ben Bethea as Jose, Madison Shelton as Lennie, Noah Smith as Mr. Woo and Reagan Bailey, Jaynie Talley, Lia Blanchard, Austin Pass, Savannah Morgan, Pierce Bailey, Hannah Pass, Madi Olive and Kirstan Mullinax as Junie's friends and classmates. Joe McDaniel will appear in a cameo role as Gladys Gutzman, the lunchroom lady.

"My children and I have read most, if not all, of the Junie B. Jones books after my best friend who is a teacher turned me on to them," said director McDaniel. "They are charming, hilarious and heartwarming. I think every audience will probably laugh so hard they cry, and the music is fantastic! I can't wait to see the show this cast of veterans and newcomers present."

The show is made possible by a grant from the McDaniel Family Foundation and Roman Open Charities.

"We have worked at Pleasant Valley for the past four summers doing 'The Stinky Cheese Man,' 'Mother Goose is Eaten by Werewolves,' 'Schoolhouse Rock' and last summer's 'Bedtime Stories.' It is a wonderful space -- big enough to seat a lot of people but small enough to be intimate," said McDaniel.

McDaniel has directed numerous children's productions for the Dalton Little Theatre including "Annie," "Schoolhouse Rock Live" and "Free to Be, You and Me." She is president of the Murray Arts Council and host of "The Local Scene" on WDNN TV, Channel 10. She works for Whitfield County Family Connections.

Performances are at 7 each night, with a 2 p.m. matinee on July 13. Tickets are $5 for students/senior citizens and $10 for adults. Tickets will be available for purchase at the door. Cash and checks will be accepted for payment.

For more information, go to the Murray Arts Council's Facebook page or www.murr

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