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'Junie B. Jones and a Little Monkey Business’ teaches while entertaining

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Junie B. Jones and a Little Monkey Business

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Perfect for the youngsters in preschool and early elementary school, Theater for Young America presents, “Junie B. Jones and a Little Monkey Business”, a musical adaption of the book by Barbara Park on the City Stage in Kansas City’s historic Union Station.

The musical adaptation of the popular book Junie B. Jones and a Little Monkey Business, by Park with script, music, and lyrics by Joan Cushing, to opened March 4 on and continues sold out performances because of the popularity of the children’s book series.

“Junie B. Jones and a Little Monkey Business” runs through April 12, sometimes with two performances on certain days, including one evening performance. The musical play is recommended for kindergarten and up. Like all TYA shows, the upbeat plays feature lots of colorful costumes, lively actors, and most fit within an hour to help the young audience focus. Afterward, questions and answers help the audience meet the real actors and gain insight into plays, characters, costumes and other aspects of live theater.

“Junie hears her parents have a surprise for her and thinks it's a present,” Amy Hurrelbrink said. “She eventually understands that her mom is going to have a baby.”

Junie B. Jones’ mother and father say that they are getting a present for the kindergartner, but instead on the type of present she expects, it is a new baby brother, a spokesman for TYA said. When she hears her grandparents say, “He’s the cutest little monkey,” she brags to her friends that they can see this monkey if they give her lunch tickets and other gifts. The principal (Boss of the School) explains figures of speech to Junie B. This hilarious musical ends with her deciding that she’s a “lucky duck” to have such a cute little monkey brother.

As an assist for curriculum standards and theories, TYA offers curriculum connections for the production–live musical theatre. dramatization of contemporary literature, figures of speech, family relationships, peer to peer relationships, humor.

The title role of Junie B is played by Mia Hedgepeth-Guerra. Others in the cast are Amy Hurrelbrink, Mike Ott, Eric Johanson, Damron Armstrong, and Alexandria Washington.

Hedgepeth-Geurra bring Junie B. to life with a huge, bright pink bow along with a big smile and effervescent attitude of a kindergartner. She is a charming Junie B. As her best friend, Amy Hurrelbrink is just the perfect spoiled princess, who doesn’t know she’s spoiled or better off than some others. Hurrelbrink’s voice shows it’s range in her solo number. Mike Ott gives one of the funniest performances of the show with his child character. He’s funny to watch as he works through the show. Johanson if funny and when he gets a chance lets his clear pleasing vocals shine. Washington is funny as the character of the grandmother who creates the misunderstanding. Armstrong is funny as Grace, Junie B.’s good friend.

Young and young at heart alike will enjoy the show. Even as adults, it’s fun to watch the excitement and hear the laughter as the young audience gets involved with the show. Snappy numbers, bright costumes, G-rated humor targeted to the younger set all help make “Junie B. Jones and a Little Monkey Business” well worth a viewing.

Single tickets and group reservations may be reserved online at www.unionstation.org or by calling Union Station at 816.460.2020, or Theatre for Young America at 816.460.2083. The single ticket price is $9. Groups of 15 or more are $5.50 per person with a reservation. Season tickets are available at: www.tya.org or by calling 816.460.2083.

"Junie B. Jones and a Little Monkey Business" run mostly during days with performance times to fit the audience’s schedules. Many shows are planned at 10a.m., noon, and 2 p.m. Check website for specific times and dates.

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