<em>Junie B. Jones is Not a Crook!</em>&nbsp;at Dallas Children\'s Theater

Review: Junie B. Jones is Not a Crook! | Dallas Childrens Theater | Rosewood Center for Family Arts

Thief of Hearts

Dallas Children's Theater revisits a popular character with Junie B. Jones is Not a Crook!

published Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Photo: Karen Almond
Junie B. Jones is Not a Crook! at Dallas Children\'s Theater


Dallas — Children’s book readers first met “almost 6 years old” Junie B. Jones in Barbara Parks’ books. Parks introduced the character in 1992 and eventually authored a series of 28 similarly titled and tremendously popular books.  June B. Jones is Not a Crook! is ninth in the series. Austin playwright Allison Gregory has adapted this story (with influences from Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren) for the stage, and the Dallas Children’s Theater offers its regional premiere, is directed by Nancy Schaeffer.

Junie B. (Mary McElree), pint-sized destroyer of grammar and syntax, is a precocious kindergartener who hates her middle name. As we enter the story, she is proudly showing off the furry black mittens given to her by Grampa (Karl Schaeffer) to her friends Grace (Jori Jackson) and Lucille (Erika Larsen). Junie B. hopes they will attract the attention of the handsome new boy at school, Warren (William Carleton) so he will fall in love with her. During recess someone stole Junie B.’s  mittens. She is upset and when she later finds a colorful pen, Junie B. decides she should be able to keep it because ‘finders keepers’ is the rule. She thinks Warren will surely notice her new pen, but instead, Warren thinks she is nutty. The dilemma and learning opportunity for Junie B. is whether she should keep the pen, or turn it in to the lost-and-found.

This is not the first time McElree has portrayed this title character. She starred in the Junie B. in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells production at DCT in 2012. The cast is energetic, a requirement for an ensemble piece that assigns multiple roles to the actors. They move blithely in and out of their characters without a bump, character voices and all. Brett Warner is spunky as Mother. Johnny Lee is Meanie Jim and a dastardly character that appears in the dream sequence. The cast’s synergy is exactly what the script requires.

Marco Salinas’ sound design is imaginative and like an invisible character at times. The set (Bob Lavallee) sprawls across the stage like a foldout page in a paper doll book.  There is no separation between the colors of the set and the costumes (Lyle Huchton). The dream sequence could not work without Jason Lynch’s lighting. This DCT production team syncs very well, creating a wonderful environment for the action onstage.

This January, DCT has partnered with the S.M. Wright Foundation Beds for Kids program in creating an opportunity for DCT’s wee patrons to perform an act of kindness. There are more than 4,200 children on the organization’s waiting list for beds. DCT families are asked to donate an article of bedding—either a new blanket, twin-size bed sheets, or a pillow. 

The children are learning, along with Junie B., the lesson that only giving can provide. Thanks For Reading

View the Article Slideshow
Click or Swipe to close
Thief of Hearts
Dallas Children's Theater revisits a popular character with Junie B. Jones is Not a Crook!
by Janice L. Franklin

Share this article on Facebook
Tweet this article
Share this article on Google+
Share this article via email
Click or Swipe to close
views on theater, dance, classical music, opera and comedy performances
news & notes
reports from the local performing arts scene
features & interviews
who and what are moving and shaking in the performing arts scene
season announcements
keep up with the arts groups' upcoming seasons
listen to interviews with people in the local performing arts scene
media reviews
reviews and stories on performing arts-related film, TV, recordings and books
arts organizations
learn more about the local producing and presenting arts groups
performance venues
learn more about the theaters and spaces where the arts happen
keep up with fabulous ticket giveaways and other promotions
connect to local arts crowdfunding campaigns
post or view auditions and performing arts-related classes, services, jobs and more
about us
info on TheaterJones, our staff, what we do and how to contact us
Click or Swipe to close
First Name:
Last Name:
Date of Birth:
ZIP Code:
Your Email Address:
Click or Swipe to close
Join TheaterJones Around the Web

Follow Us on Twitter

Subscribe to our Youtube Channel

Click or Swipe to close
Search the TheaterJones Archives
Use any or all of the options below to search through all of reviews, interviews, features and special sections. If you are looking for a an event, use the calendar section of this website. This search will not search through the calendar.
Article Title Search:

Description Search:
TheaterJones Contributor:

TheaterJones Section:

Showing on or after:      Showing on or before:  
Click or Swipe to close
We welcome your comments

I am discussing:  

Your Name:
Your Email Adress:

please enter the text below and then click or tap SUBMIT :