‘Junie B. Jones is NOT a Crook’ opens Nov. 14 at St. Joe for three-night run


The cast crew of the St. Joseph Catholic School stage production of “Junie B. Jones is NOT a Crook.” Back row from left: Mr. Madison Upendo, the St. Joe theater teacher and play’s director; Loria Williams; Ava Schuetzle; Anna Grace Starnes; Anna Veston Deer; Abigail Hardeman; Molly Moody; Turner Brown; Connor Odom; and Addie Welshans. Second row sitting in desks from left, Anderson Nixon, Annalise Rome, Hannah Dear, Georgia Conrad, Natalia Igwebuike and Andrew Bain. Sitting on the floor, Mary Kathryn David, Madalyn Weisenberger, Iliana Ramos, Meredith Morrow and Heath Dodson. Leaning against the desk on the far left is Kim Kaiser.

Special to The Bear Facts

MADISON (Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019) – Junie B. Jones comes to life at St. Joseph Catholic School next week in a stage production based on the popular series of children’s books featuring the kindergarten-aged character.

“Junie B. Jones is NOT a Crook,” starring St. Joe theater students, opens a three-night run at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14 in the school’s Fine Arts theater. Other performances are 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 15 and 16.

“I can’t think of a better family-oriented production than this to open the performing arts season at St. Joe,” said Madison Upendo, St. Joe’s theater teacher who is directing the play. “

Admission to the play is $10 each with St. Joe students free; tickets can be bought at the door the night of each performance. Students from other area Catholic schools are admitted free if they wear their school shirt while attending the play.

“Junie B. Jones” is the first of two stage productions students will perform this school year, including their annual spring semester musical. Other upcoming productions include the popular “Gifts of the Season” Christmas concert next month.

Pullquote Photo

I can’t think of a better family-oriented production than this to open the performing arts season at St. Joe. This play is a lot of fun, has great humor and is the perfect family outing.”



St. Joseph Catholic School, founded in 1870 by the Sisters of Mercy, is celebrating 150 years of faith formation and excellence in education. The school offers seventh- through 12th-grade students a rigorous college prep curriculum grounded in the teachings of the Catholic Church.

The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the accrediting arm of Cognia.

“Junie B. Jones is NOT a Crook” is an adaptation by Allison Gregory of the wildly popular young children’s book series by Barbara Park. The books, aimed at beginning readers, is about precocious Junie B. Jones’ adventures in kindergarten.
In the stage adaptation, someone has stolen Junie B. Jones’ new furry mittens. Because someone took her new mittens, should she be allowed to keep something she finds that doesn’t belong to her?

Upendo has assembled a group of talented young actors and actresses from all grades at St. Joe to tell this light-hearted, funny story that is sure to make people fall in love with the main character as well as provide the audience with some strong laughs.

Students have been rehearsing the play since shortly after the 2019-2020 school year began. Now, after weeks of rehearsing and learning their lines, St. Joe’s talented group of actors is ready for opening night.

And so is Principal Dena Kinsey.

“The ‘Junie B. Jones’ books are a great way to encourage young children to learn to read,” Kinsey said. “This stage version is bound to excite many of those same children about the possibilities of live theater.

“Barbara Parks’ stories center around a young, lively, spirited little girl,” she said. “I can’t wait to see the spin our own students put on this production. I’m looking forward to seeing a talented group of students bring this story to life.”