JJHS Thespians Celebrate Diversity with Honk Jr. Musical

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The highly esteemed Jenison Public Schools Theatre program is back again with a story that will warm your heart on the coldest of winter days!

Honk! JR. is a celebration of being different that is sure to delight audiences of all ages with its wit, charm and deeply moving message. The Jenison Junior High School cast, crew, and production team have worked extensively creating an amazing production and are thrilled to share this timeless story with you.

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The story you will see presented on stage has endured and evolved since the original published in the 19th century, but has remained as endearing as when it was first read and enjoyed in Denmark.  It continues to be relevant, as its themes are those of growth, understanding, and acceptance.  

Most of us can relate and have probably felt like the Ugly duckling at one point or another. Comparing ourselves to those around us, wondering why we couldn’t be more talented or more admired. Perhaps, wishing we could change something about our unique selves in order to better “fit in” with the world around us. Some may even have experienced very ugly circumstances because of our differences. 

Performances will take place at the Jenison Center for the Arts

Evening | January 23 and 24 | 7:00pm

Matinees | January 25 and 26 | 3:00pm

Tickets | $12 adults | $8 Senior Citizens | $6 Students under age 18 

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I promise, you and your family will be filled with joy and pride as the main character finds the strength to hold his “head up high” and be himself. He reminds us that each and every individual has something very special to offer the world.

In the end, it is not Ugly’s surprise transformation that is the most remarkable. The more significant shift occurs within his community. When Ugly makes the decision to return to his family who rejected him and the poultry who picked on him, he opens the door for reconciliation and forgiveness. By enthusiastically accepting him in the end, they dedicate themselves to celebrating differences. With Ugly’s return, they find strength through individuality rather than division.

I’m always impressed with the teamwork and community mentality from the directors, students and thespian parents. Many junior high students are new to the stage but we see each and every single member of the cast and crew embrace their unique role – playing their part to the best of their ability. You will feel uplifted and inspired by their performance, and I hope you will celebrate and encourage the ways in which each of us is “different” and unique. (Click here for the full photo gallery.)

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Break a leg, cast + crew! Once again, we are amazed by the hard work and dedication of the Jenison Thespians and can’t wait to see your latest production! You can get your tickets for this weekend here!

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Introducing the Jenison Junior High Theatre Directors

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Carol Johnson (Choreographer), Julie Oosterink (Director) and Sarah Hazel (Music Director)

Carol Johnson is Director of Orchestras at Jenison Junior High, and loves being a part of the Jenison theatre program. Over the past seventeen years, she has served on the director team for over a dozen of Junior High and High School musicals as choreographer, vocal director, pit orchestra director, elementary director, pianist, and violinist. She also helps direct a youth musical each summer at her church. Starting in early childhood, she loved spending countless hours on stage as a dancer, instrumentalist, vocalist, and performer in many musical theater productions in her hometown.

Although, this is Julie Oosterink’s first year directing the JJHS Musical, she is no stranger to the stage or the Jenison Theatre program. As a Jenison student she studied theatre through electives, participated in the props crew and also sang and dance in the high school musicals. She found a love for directing during Festival of Plays. In 2018, she joined the JHS staff as an English Language Arts team member. She is thrilled to join the JJHS theatrical team this year and looks forward to celebrating the magic of theatre with Jenison students as they share their talents with our community.

Sarah Hazel is also a proud Jenison alumni, who graduated from JPS in 2011. Her love of theater began at a young age performing in musical productions at church. In high school, Sarah found her niche in the theater program both on and off stage. Sarah earned her Music Education degree at Western Michigan University and is now a full-time private voice instructor at JPS. She has been working with the Jenison Theatre program since 2016. To be a part of Jenison productions once again, this time as a music director, has been so enjoyable and very nostalgic. She feels very blessed to work with a team of teachers, students, parents, and volunteers that is so passionate about the arts.

Honk, Jr. Performance Photos

Check out the photos to get a peek at a show you don’t want to miss! Click here for the full photo gallery.

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Click here for the full photo gallery.

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Mary Poppins Musical is ‘Practically Perfect’!

Yesterday was the first day of Spring; excitement was high and sighs of relief could be heard across the stage. Despite losing 10 days of working sessions due to bad weather over the winter, they made it – spring is here and they are ready to sweep you off your feet! 

The Jenison Thespians are proud to present their spring musical, Mary Poppins. It’s the broadway version of a quirky story about a flying nanny with her trademark long coats, umbrella with a parrot head and rosy cheeks. An irresistible tale known by many; Mary Poppins teaches children with patience, kindness, and a little bit of magic. Through numerous recognizable and unforgettable singing adventures, Mary and her friend Bert help the Banks family set things right – maybe more right than they’d ever been before. 

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In true Mary Poppins fashion, high school cast members surprised their Jenison elementary friends this week by popping in at their schools for a flash mob. Appearing out of nowhere, the actors performed a singing preview of Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! for a stunned but excited lunchtime audience.

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The hard work and attention to every last detail by the cast and crew, along with countless adult volunteers, will not go unnoticed! You will be delighted with outstanding acting, stunts and artistic talent. The songs, dance steps and full live orchestra performance will leave you flying higher than a kite!

There are 4 more opportunities for you to catch this family friendly production this weekend. You will not want to miss it! Visit www.jpsarts.com for tickets

A huge thank you as well to the JHS direction staff for the Mary Poppins show. Director: Todd Avery | Music Direction: Sarah Hazel | Choreography: Emily Ambs | Orchestra Director: Dan Scott

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JJHS presents Seussical the Musical, Jr.

A few weeks ago, the Jenison Junior High Thespians traveled to our elementary schools to give students a sneak peek of what was to come in their show, Seussical the Musical, Jr. While they used limited props and were unable to travel with their amazing set, this is always a fun experience for the actors and audience alike and sparked great excitement.

Since then, the finishing touches have been finalized and the JJHS production officially opens the curtain tonight! Led by Director – Holly Florian, Music Director – Sarah Hazel and Choreography Director – Carol Johnson; this group of dedicated and passionate students (on stage and many hidden behind stage) have demonstrated amazing team work and put their talents to work creating something very special.

The story on stage begins with a small boy, with a big imagination. With assistance from the Cat in the Hat, an inspiring and peculiar story will unfold; transporting viewers into an imaginative, colorful, and playful world. At first glance, Horton is just a jolly and friendly elephant, but soon he exhibits a dedication to his beliefs with inspiring determination. Director, Holly Florian embraces this theme and says: “In a year where young people have committed to making their voices and beliefs heard on a National and International level, Horton’s story has been a reminder of the power of listening carefully, and not being afraid to speak up in the face of injustice.”

136804905aecb19948c2b14793d449147828c32a13680527681ae838fca1bfffc5d630c0f4652fd8This show will be a hit for all ages, as many of us grew up reading Dr. Seuss and his stories remain a classic for students today. Ms. Florian captures the essence of the joy behind this show for her and the students saying, “His stories allow the reader to be transported to a magical world where anything is possible and even the “smallest of smalls” can have a role in making a positive change in the world.”

Treat yourself this weekend and make time to witness this spectacular show! I promise, you will leave your seat inspired to follow in Horton’s footsteps and make the world a better place! Show times are January 24 and 25 at 7:00pm and January 26 and 27 at 2:30pm. Tickets are available here!

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