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Popular Kids' Tale Highlights Family Theatre Series

Imagine U features Junie B. in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells!

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November 8, 2012 | by Judy Moore
The Imagine U production adapts a wildly popular children’s book about Junie B., a precocious first grader and her class celebrating the ritual of Secret Santa.

EVANSTON, Ill. --- A popular children's tale about a little girl who loves everything about the holidays will kick off the 2012-13 Imagine U Family Series at the Theatre and Interpretation Center (TIC) at Northwestern University.

“Junie B. in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells!” -- by Allison Gregory and adapted from the books by Barbara Park -- will be staged at the Mussetter-Struble Theater, 1949 Campus Drive, on the University’s Evanston campus. Performances will take place at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9; 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10; 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 11; 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16; 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17; and 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18.

Each performance will provide an opportunity for children to meet members of the Northwestern undergraduate student cast. Audience members are encouraged to bring Junie B. books to be signed by the performers after the show. Take-home programs filled with activities, art projects, fun facts and games will be given to all children in the audience. The production also will include workshops after both 10 a.m. Saturday performances and a pre-show holiday reception Friday, Nov. 16 in association with Downtown Evanston’s Holiday Bash.

A “holiday pajama drive” throughout the run of the show in partnership with The Child Life Program at The University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital and the Gurnee Chapter of the Pajama Program, a non-profit organization that helps to create a warm and nurturing environment for children living in difficult circumstances, will benefit more than two dozen children under the hospital’s care.

Directed by Northwestern University faculty member and Goodman Theatre resident artistic associate Henry Godinez, “Junie B. in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells!” is based on the Junie B. Jones series of books, including “Junie B., First Grader: Jingle Bells, Batman Smells! (P.S. So Does Day)”; “Junie B., First Grader: Dumb Bunny”; and “Junie B., First Grader: Shipwrecked.”

In TIC’s Nov. 9 to 18 stage adaptation, Junie B. loves everything about Christmas -- elf costumes, Santa and, best of all, presents. Only one thing could ruin her holiday joy: her tattling classmate May. Junie B. has to decide between salvaging her holiday spirit when she pulls out May’s name for the Secret Santa exchange or letting May know exactly what she thinks of her.

“This is a fun-filled adaptation of the wildly popular children’s book about a precocious first grader and her class celebrating the ritual of Secret Santa,” said Godinez. “Almost all children -- and probably quite a few adults -- know how it feels to see an incredibly cool toy and have to struggle to remember that the holidays are about giving and not receiving.”

Imagine U Family Series productions are recommended for children aged 5 to10 and their families.  

Single tickets are $5 to $10; $5 tickets are available exclusively to Northwestern students with valid IDs on advance ticket purchases only. To save 20 percent on a subscription to all three plays in the 2012-13 Imagine U Family Series season or for discounts for groups of eight or more, call the TIC Box Office at (847) 491-7282. Tickets can be purchased through the TIC Box Office at (847) 491-7282 or online at www.tic.northwestern.edu/imagineu.

SHOW-RELATED EVENTS

• Junie B. Pajama Drive, all performances, from Friday, Nov. 9 through Sunday, Nov. 18, Mussetter-Struble Theater, Northwestern University, Evanston campus. Imagine U is partnering with the Gurnee chapter of the Pajama Program and The Child Life Program at The University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital to provide 26 children under the hospital’s care with much-needed pajamas. Families who are interested in participating can learn more at

http://www.communication.northwestern.edu/tic/documents/ComerChildrensHospital.pdf.

• Junie B. Saturday Post-Play Workshops, following the 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 9, and 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 17 performances, Northwestern University, Mussetter-Struble Theater, Evanston campus. From buying presents to hoping for presents to wrapping presents, it can be easy to be overwhelmed by the holidays! Join Junie B. and the cast after each Saturday morning performance to get back into the spirit with festive games and crafty holiday decorations. Each workshop will explore how we celebrate, what it means to give and why friendship is important. Workshops are free and open to the public; advance registration is recommended. Call the TIC Box Office at (847) 491-7282 or visit www.tic.northwestern.edu/imagineu.

• Junie B Holiday Bash Reception, 6 to 6:45 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16, Northwestern University, Mussetter-Struble Theatre lobby, 1949 Campus Drive, Evanston campus. In association with Downtown Evanston’s Holiday Bash and Tree Lighting celebration, join Imagine U for a pre-show reception featuring light refreshments, crafts for children and a very special holiday sing-a-long featuring the creative team behind the 2013 Waa-Mu Show, “Flying Home.” The reception is free and open to the public; no reservations are needed.

CONSTRUCTION ALERT

A three-year construction project underway on the southeast end of the Northwestern University Evanston campus has closed Arts Circle Drive to traffic. Free parking for evening and weekend events remains available, but the project will impact handicap parking and patrons requiring special access to Evanston campus theaters. Visit www.tic.northwestern.edu/construction to learn more.