Thursday, December 10, 2009

SS#9 Starring the Baby-sitters Club!


SMS is going to be doing a production of Peter Pan. Oh, excuse's not a production; it's a MUSICAL EXTRAVAGANZA!!!!!! All elementary, middle, and high school students will be invited to try out, and the BSC members (well, most of them) are excited.

Jessi has just been named the 6th grade correspondent for the school newspaper. When she finds out about the auditions, she convinces Emily Berenstein (editor of the paper) to let her write an article from an insider's perspective. Jessi is not only sure that she'll get a part, but is also convinced that her dance experience makes her a shoe-in for the role of Peter Pan. She goes around telling everyone who will listen that she's going to be playing the lead, and needless to say, is not thrilled when she only gets cast as a pirate. The fact that Kristy does get cast as Peter makes it even worse. Jessi tells Mr. Cheney (he's directing the play) that she doesn't want some silly pirate role, and he asks her to stay on and help choreograph dances for the younger children. She agrees, but she keeps expecting that she'll somehow wind up playing Peter Pan anyway. She also gets sort of inflated with a sense of her own importance to the production, and thinks she should be credited as assistant producer. When Jessi checks her credit in the program before it goes to press and sees that she's only listed as the assistant choreographer, she just crosses her name off the list. Mr. Cheney catches her doing it, and she doesn't really have much to say for herself. He tries (again) to explain to her that he gave the part of Peter to a less experienced student because Jessi has already had so many chances to perform. It's also implied that her singing and acting aren't anything to write home about... Anyway, Jessi ends up feeling bad about her attitude, and apologizes to her friends. She regrets not accepting the role of a pirate, but ends up getting to be in the play anyway. Pete Black, who's supposed to be playing Nana and the crocodile, breaks his nose on opening night and can't be in the play, so Jessi takes over his roles.

Kristy had her heart set on playing Nana and the crocodile, and is kind of shocked when she gets cast as Peter Pan. She has a lot of trouble learning her lines, especially since Dawn keeps changing hers, and keeps having to deal with Cokie. Kristy manages to turn out a pretty good performance in the end, though.

Dawn auditions for the part of Tiger Lily. Apparently, she's been hiding her talent for ages, because all of her friends are surprised at how good she is. She's so good, in fact, that she gets cast as Wendy. As rehearsals progress, Dawn decides that Peter Pan is too sexist, and that she needs to change her lines to make it a little more up-to-date. She's got Peter sewing on his own shadow, and Wendy going to Neverland to give the Lost Boys cooking lessons. Good gravy. Dawn eventually gets her act together, though, (pun kind of intended), and realizes that fairy tales are fairy tales, and that kids can learn about women's rights from some other source.

Stacey auditions wanting any little part, and ends up playing Mrs. Darling opposite Sam. Sam has been getting some flak from his friends at school for dating an 8th grader, so he decides he needs to show them how much fun he and Stacey have together. He reverts back to his Shadow Lake goofy behavior, and Stacey doesn't quite know what to think about it. Eventually, she gets sick of it and kind of blows up at Sam. They talk things out, and that's that. :)

Cokie Mason gets the part of Tiger Lily, and sets up her own dressing room in a mop closet. She also continues to harass the BSC. Same old, same old.

Mary Anne wants nothing to do with the play at first, but ends up agreeing to be the "backstage baby-sitter." For the second Super Special in a row, all she really gets to do is baby-sit. She also gets mad at Mallory when Mal tries to take over.

Speaking of Mallory, she's the apprentice costume designer. She thinks her job will be glamorous, but her first task is to take measurements from the cast members. Poor Mal is traumatized, because "cast members" equals "boys." Once the costumes arrive, she thinks her job is over and gets bored. That's what leads to her trying to take over as the backstage baby-sitter. It takes a wake-up call from Cokie Mason to get Mallory's head back in the game; costume pieces are getting lost and mixed up, and it's really up to Mal to make sure that doesn't happen.

Claudia is the set designer. She's intimidated at first; all she wanted to do was paint scenery. She also gets scared (mostly thanks to Cokie) that one of her backdrops is going to break loose and kill someone. That doesn't happen. :)

Jackie Rodowsky gets the part of Michael Darling. He's having a great time, except for two things: his costume is a nightgown, and he's terrified of the crocodile. Seriously; he screams whenever he sees it, and even throws foam rocks at it (and says "crocabunga") during their dress rehearsal. He kind of has to suck it up and deal with the whole nightgown thing, but he doesn't get over being afraid of the croc until Jessi takes on the role.

Logan is cast as a pirate....named Noodler. That fact embarrasses him to no end; he's afraid some of his sports teammates will find out and tease him about it. He also gets temporarily thrown out of the play for goofing around with his pirate cronies.

Rating: 5

Thoughts and Things

  • Jackie is 7...isn't that a little old to be so scared of a crocodile costume?

  • It wasn't that many books ago that Kristy said she'd die if she ever had to try out for anything. Funny how things change, isn't it? :)

  • I love that Stacey is the mature one in the Stacey/Sam relationship.

  • As ridiculous as Jessi was in this one, she had a point when she lit into the other club members for complaining about their roles in the play. After all, most of them WERE given better parts than they expected.

  • This just might be my most read Super Special. I was a wanna be drama geek when I was a kid, so something like this book happening to me was my fantasy. Sadly, all my school plays were musicals, and I can't sing worth beans. Being in a play is STILL on my bucket list, though. :)

  • So...if Peter Pan is wonderful and worthy of participation by the entire club, why is Mary Poppins "disgusting," as per #53? Both take place in England but involve trips to fantasy worlds, both involve a set of siblings and parents who are a little clueless, and both involve flying. Yep...they're SO different.


  1. I don't get it either--the Mary Poppins thing. Anyway I really want to reread this, too, as being on a play is on my bucket list. Though it's been a while I remember Jessi coming off as such a drama queen. She was also super bitchy in the dream horse thing--god forbid anyone else be talented or in the spotlight!

  2. love the typo re: emily "berenstein". now i am imagining her as an anthropomorphic talking bear.

    as far as jackie being afraid of the crocodile costume--i think seven-year-olds are still pretty young & subject to strange phobias. or, things that seem cool when they are imaginary are scary when they are "real" (ie, crocodiles are fun for seven-year-old boys to imagine, but less fun when it seems like one is hanging out with you, even it's just a dude in a costume). when my brother was seven, he dressed up as a ghostbuster for halloween (in was 1989). he kept yelling about how no ghosts or monsters scared him, he was so tough, he'd bust those ghosts, etc. but then we got to the neighborhood house that pulled out all the stops for halloween. the guy who lived there had "ghosts" (sheets with straw-stuffed heads) hanging from all his trees. my brother was "busting" them all & talking about how unafraid he was, until one of the ghosts turned out to be a real guy, who swooped off his hidden perch to "float" at my brother. who promptly dropped his buster & ran all the way home, screaming. maybe you can chalk it up to the element of surprise, but it illustrates the point, right?

  3. Fantastic point about Mary Poppins...

  4. Peter Pan has pirates in it! Obvi thats why it's cooler... :P

  5. well, Jessi is usually on of my favorites, but she is totally witchy in this book...

  6. It's really an amazing article,
    Thanks for sharing with us,
    baby sitter

  7. Since my grades sucked in high school, I had to drop out of South Pacific one year because the grades weren't good enough to be in the show. (Yeah, got my GED, but I DID graduate from college!) Anyway, they needed someone to look after the NINE KIDS cast in the show. Why the hell they decided to cast nine kids is beyond me. They really just needed the two kids to play lead's children. But they tacked on an extra seven little girls to do a little dance... 11 years later the youngest was a senior in the musical and I saw her perform when I went back to the high school and saw it. Yeah, she remembered me and it made me feel ancient.