Musical brings out the kid in students

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By Heather Lusk

Teens are channeling their inner 6-year-olds as Zionsville Middle School presents “June B. Jones Jr., The Musical,” based the book series by Barbara Park.

The show follows the ups and downs of first grade, from losing friends to getting glasses to a kickball tournament.

The show is March 22 and 23 at 7 p.m. and March 23 at 3 p.m. in the ZMS auditorium.

Initially, Noelle Elefante, in the title role, and Anjali Gupta, who portrays her friend Lucille, were apprehensive about the youthful content, not realizing that it was a musical.

“I thought, ‘Isn’t that for kids?’” said Elefante, who, after hearing the music and watching parts of the show online, discovered the fun stories.

“I’ve enjoyed acting like a little kid, like throwing tantrums,” Elefante said.

The seventh-grader studied for her role by watching videos of young children dancing.

“(Junie B.) is not a good dancer,” she said.

The character Lucille was Junie B.’s best friend in kindergarten, but they drift apart before first grade when Lucille decides to spend time with twins because their names rhyme with hers.

Challenging friendships is a theme eighth-grader Gupta believes will resonate with people of any age, but she hopes the end result is a lesson everyone can learn.

“Even when things start out bad, they can end up great,” Gupta said.

Ali Moody, who is directing and choreographing the show with her husband, Jordan, was delighted to find a show with plenty of female roles that is family friendly for the cast of 27 students.

“I read it as a kid,” she said. “How fun to be able to play young kids.”

Tickets are available at the door for $5.

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