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Video interview: Jonathan Aguirre makes a pitch for Friday’s Junior Company virtual cabaret

Update: Now that “Friday Night Live” went live, you can watch the archived version on YouTube below.

They grow up so fast.

Parents are usually the ones saying that, but fans of the Junior Company — that beloved troupe of young actors whose pre-shows are an institution at Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theater — have been known to express the sentiment as well.

It’s one of the first things I thought of when I sat down to interview Jonathan Aguirre, 16, who has been entertaining audiences at Roger Rocka’s and the 2nd Space Theatre for more than half a decade. Jonathan is one of the co-hosts (along with Tony Folmer) of “Friday Night Live,” a virtual cabaret that will be streamed on various platforms at 6 p.m. Friday, July 31. Performers include past and present members of the company. Headliner guests are Miranda Mae Mayo, a proud Junior Company alum and a series regular on NBC’s “Chicago Fire,” along with two of Miranda’s celebrity friends: Alex Kinsey, winner of the 2013 “X-Factor,” and R&B artist Apollo Mighty.

When it comes to Jonathan, it seems like just yesterday that he was doing the child-star thing in “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play.” He also starred as Ralphie in “A Christmas Story.” (Who can forget how he coveted that official Red Ryder carbine action, 200-shot, range model air rifle with a “compass in the stock and this thing that tells time”?) And he’s long been a hard-working presence in the Junior Company.

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Now Jonathan is taller, his voice is deeper, and he’s thinking about becoming a chemical engineer or a lawyer. Plus he’s helping run the Junior Company cabaret, an annual event that is normally performed live, of course, but had to be reimagined this year as an online show.

We talked about this year’s show, but we also touched on other subjects, including: Has he ever gotten his tongue stuck on a frozen pole? And if he had to pick between getting in trouble with his dad for breaking curfew or with Dan Pessano for being late to rehearsal, which would it be?

Here’s my video interview with Jonathan:

Here’s the archived show:


WIN A VIRTUAL BACKSTAGE VISIT WITH MIRANDA RAE MAYO

I’m offering a very cool giveaway related to the event. Instead of giving away free tickets to the cabaret — which wouldn’t be very exciting because it’s a streamed event that is free anyway — the prize is a private, 15-minute Zoom session with me and none other than the wonderful Miranda Mayo. (Think of it like a virtual version of a backstage meet-and-greet.) For a chance to “meet” her, leave a comment on this post answering this question: What is one question or piece of advice you’d ask Miranda? Deadline to enter is 5 p.m. Monday, Aug. 3.

I will pick one winner, and we’ll come up with a mutually agreeable time for our special Zoom session.

One more thing: At its cabaret fundraiser, the Junior Company Foundation usually rakes in some substantial bucks for scholarships, workshops and community outreach. This year it can use your help with donations. You can make a contribution online or by text:


The Munro Review has no paywall but is financially supported by readers who believe in its non-profit mission of bringing professional arts journalism to the central San Joaquin Valley. You can help by signing up for a monthly recurring paid membership or make a one-time donation of as little as $3. All memberships and donations are tax-deductible.



Covering the arts online in the central San Joaquin Valley and beyond. Lover of theater, classical music, visual arts, the literary arts and all creative endeavors. Former Fresno Bee arts critic and columnist. Graduate of Columbia University and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Excited to be exploring the new world of arts journalism.

donaldfresnoarts@gmail.com

Comments (21)

  • Jackie Ryle

    Delightful interview, Donald. Like you, I have loved watching Jonathan grow up, mature, and perfect his craft! I’m a big fan! What a joy to see him in this role. Thanks for the heads up! I’ll be there tonight!

    reply
  • Shelbie Harrison

    I would ask Miranda how she knew she wanted to become an actress!

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    • Jackie Cammerata

      I just found this article and I know I missed the deadline but I would have asked what is the best way to support or get involved with a cause you believe in? I know sharing in social media can help but don’t feel like it’s enough.

      reply
  • Stella Freeman

    You’ve had many accomplishments but what would be the thing that has made you the proudest?

    reply
  • Stella Freeman

    You’ve had so many accomplishments but what is your proudest moment?

    reply
  • Mahala Rummell

    Stella is such a strong female lead. How do you feel you are similar to her and how are you unlike her, and what about portraying her character do you think or strive to improve on?

    reply
  • Carol

    I’d ask Miranda as to why she chose acting as a career. Like how is it something you decided you liked and then carried on persisting to do? Btw love yous!!

    reply
  • Sophie

    The question I would like to ask Miranda is; What is your number piece of advice for people that aren’t comfortable with the way they look? For example; Say someone keeps comparing themselves to celebs or their own family members what advice would you give them.
    Another question who be; Did you always want to be an actress?

    reply
  • Silvia

    I would ask Miranda how do you stay so grounded? What is your morning ritual?

    reply
  • Sanna Fardad

    What is one book that you would recommend that could cause universal change?

    reply
  • Ryan

    I would ask Miranda how she’s dealt with the obstacles that being a black woman in the television industry has caused her!

    reply
  • Courtney Block

    I’d ask Miranda what the best career advice she ever received was.

    reply
  • izzy

    I would ask Miranda who her biggest inspiration in life is, and if she finds it hard being people’s biggest inspirations in life .

    reply
  • i would ask miranda how it feels to be so big in the public eye.

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  • Marwa

    I would ask Miranda, if she wanted to pursue acting from the start or did she have another career in mind at first?

    And also, Where was your first job ?

    reply
  • Marwa

    What’s you favourite thing about working on Chicago fire ?

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  • Marwa

    I would ask Miranda, What her favourite thing about acting is?

    Or more specifically What her favourite thing is about working on Chicago Fire?

    reply
  • Carolina Albuquerque

    My question is, is there any advice Miranda would give to young people, especially during this pandemic time, on how to help others and do something for the community but at the same time how to take care of ourselves, and not forget about our own health and spirituality. It’s really easy for us to lose ourselves trying to help others and forgetting to take care of ourselves but also some people seem to not know how to help and fight for all these issues we’re facing. Sending love to everyone

    reply
  • Sophie

    I would ask Miranda how she got started in acting and/or how I could do so too!

    reply
  • Aline Monteiro

    I would ask Miranda: what would be the main chapters of your autobiography?

    reply
  • Shania

    I would ask Miranda, how she feels about playing an influential “female” firefighter in a male dominated profession and how does she like filming with her cast mates on Chicago Fire.

    reply

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