Applied Drama and Theatre for the Young to perform “Junior High”

The cast of "Junior High" from left to right: Taylor Morrow, Dakotah Myers, Justin Myers, Michael McDonald, Gabby Morris, Rachel Kindred, Christina Gee, Oren Levin, Travis Ealem, Nikkolo Romero and Gabriela Ciavattone.

Experience the world of adolescence in Eastern Michigan University’s Applied Drama and Theatre for the Young’s production of the musical, “Junior High.”

ADTY has been touring to local elementary, middle and high schools for more than 40 years. As an EMU graduate program and class, it focuses on using theatre as a positive catalyst for young people and the community.

“When I first thought about doing this as a tour I asked several people if they thought I was crazy,” said the director of “Junior High,” Emily Levickas.

Growing up with the characters, music and story, Levickas is also the daughter of Paul Patton, the writer of the musical. Based on his eighth grade experience at Emerson Junior High in Detroit, the play is set in the 1960s.

“Junior High” is about a boy named Benny and his search for identity and acceptance. The story focuses on the challenges of junior high and issues such as bullying, peer pressure and identity.

“Middle school is hard,” Levickas said. “It is a time of transition, discovery and questioning. I hope that everyone who sees this show realizes that they are not alone in that struggle. The sooner we realize that everyone has a story and is worth getting to know, the better.”

A story told through honesty, fun music and a committed cast, Levickas hopes “Junior High” will encourage the audience to engage in discussions about identity, common struggles and the reality that we're all in control of our words and actions.

“Early adolescence is a difficult time for everyone,” Levickas said. This production reflects that we all struggle to figure out who we are and who we want to be.”

“Junior High” will be performed on Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. and Nov. 7 at 1 p.m. in the Sponberg Theatre. Tickets will be available at the door on a first come first serves basis. There is a suggested $5 donation. It is recommended for ages eight and older.

“Junior High” will also be performed at the following schools: Allen Park Middle School (Allen Park), McBride Middle School (Belleville), Garden City Middle School (Garden City), Shumate Middle School (Gibraltar) and Beach Middle School (Chelsea).

The show runs about 50 minutes and will be followed by a brief discussion.

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