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Fun and misadventures: DSU to present 'Junie B. in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells'

Junie B's rival May has stolen Junie's journal, and of course that leads to a fight. Junie manages to get her journal back while grabbing May's sweater in rehearsal for "Junie B. in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells."

The Dickinson State University Department of Fine and Performing Arts presents the second show in its theater season, “Junie B. in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells,” a children’s play by Allison Gregory.          

The play opens 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7, with three additional performances at 2:30 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9. Performances will be held in Dorothy Stickney Auditorium in May Hall.

Junie B. Jones has been a favorite character in a series of children’s books for over 20 years. This stage version combines storylines from three books by Barbara Park, all of which feature Junie B. and her classmates in costume -- and in trouble.

First-grader Junie B. Jones is super-excited about the upcoming holiday sing-along and Secret Santa gift exchange at her school. Too bad tattletale May keeps ruining all of Junie B.'s fun. So when Junie B. draws May's name for Secret Santa, she comes up with the perfect plan to teach her nemesis a lesson. But will the Christmas spirit of peace and goodwill interfere before she can give you-know-who what she deserves?

The cast for this show includes students from many local schools. The role of Junie B. is shared by Keira Rambousek, who will perform in the evening shows and Autumn Sackman who will be in the afternoon performances.

Autumn, a student at Hope Christian Academy,  remembers her dad reading “Junie B” to her all the time.

‘It’s really been fun to laugh at her actions in the play,” Autumn said. “It’s been a really big experience for me. I haven’t been in a play like this before.”

In addition to the fun of watching Junie B, there’s lessons to be learned by the audience.

“Junie B probably displays a lot of wrong things, but in the end, she learns the lessons about how good she should be and what she should be thankful for,” Autumn added.

Keira Rambousek has probably read all the “Junie B” books that have been written.

“It’s probably because of the fun energy she has throughout the entire book,” Keira said. “She usually figures out something by making mistakes -- that’s how everybody learns.”

A student at Trinity, Keira has enjoyed the opportunity to perform with students from all over town.

“It’s fun because you’re not with people who you have daily classes with. It’s getting away from school with a fun community environment,” she added.

The role of May is shared by Angel Triplett in the evening and Eryn Bird in the afternoon. Rounding out the cast are Mickinzi Amundson as Lucille, Tristan Orton as Herb, Caleb Layman as Sheldon, Colton Brown as Jose, and Gus Zettel as Grandpa Miller, Chris Prchal as Mr. Scary, Michelle Triplett as Elf Ellen and Rachel Solberg as Mr. Toot.

This play is directed by Cheryl Hewson, who suggested  ‘Junie B’ as the stage performance.

“Junie B is a series of books by six-year-old kid in school who is getting in trouble all the time. The kids love these books and portion of the books have become this particular stage play. The kids know the characters.”

The children’s play is an opportunity for young students to step on stage for the first time.

“I know a number of students who would like an acting experience and many have aspirations for something higher in theater, like directing, writing, costuming, set design... For some, its an outlet to perform and get away from life.”

Hewson is a staff accompanist on campus, but accepted the opportunity to direct a stage play.

“I’m having more fun than I ever thought imaginable. The kids jazz me up after spending time with them and it takes me two hours to come down. It’s been just a blast working with them,” she said.

Jarvis Jahner will serve as the technical director and Rachel Solberg as stage manager.

Admission for the show is $5 for students and $10 for adults. Tickets can be purchased in May Hall room 3 during business hours, by calling 701-483-2154 or by visiting www.dsuarts.com.

For more information, contact the Department of Fine and Performing Arts at 701-483-2154.