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Magic Tree House: A Night in New Orleans

Sept 16 – Oct 20, 2016 • All Ages • Twin Cities Premiere!

Book and lyrics by Will Osborne and Murray Horwitz. Music and additional lyrics by Allen Toussaint. Based on “MAGIC TREE HOUSE #42: A Good Night for Ghosts,” by Mary Pope Osborne.

Directed by Jamil Jude
Musical direction by J.D. Steele
Choreographed by Michael Matthew Ferrell

Buy Tickets Group Tickets Study Guide

Magic Tree House: A Night in New Orleans
Jump into the Magic Tree House and venture back to New Orleans, 1915! The streets are alive with the sounds of the Jazz Age as Jack and Annie meet a 14-year old Louis Armstrong and watch him begin his journey to becoming the “King of Jazz”. Based on the beloved Magic Tree House books by Mary Pope Osborne this inspiring tale of big dreams is filled with music to stir the soul.


MUSICAL    |     RUNNING TIME: Approximately 80 Minutes

PLEASE NOTE: This production will utilize strobe lights.


  • Sunday, September 18 at 2 pm – Pay What You Can performance
  • Saturday, October 1 at 1 pm – ASL & Audio Described performance
  • Saturday, October 8 at 10 am – Sensory-Friendly performance



While none of Louis Armstrong’s music is in MAGIC TREE HOUSE: A NIGHT IN NEW ORLEANS, the show is heavily inspired by the great jazz legend’s music.

We put together a playlist of some of our favorite Louis Armstrong songs. Connect with us on our social media pages and let us know which of his songs are your favorites!




OLIVER – Akinbemi Hernández Abreu
SAM – Halle Audette
PARKER – Celia Birgy
HAPPY – Elon Byers
RILEY – Greta Nackerud
SARAH – Izzy Cruz
ANNIE – Rayo Daniel
BIG NOSE – Javari Horne
JACK – Ryder T. James
LITTLE MAC – Kennedy Lucas
DUKE – William Maus
DIPPER – Ricky Morisseau
JASMINE – Abby Schroeder
MARVEL – Will Spangrud


Akinbemi Hernández Abreu (Oliver): Magic Tree House is Akin’s first production with Stages Theatre Company.  He has previously appeared in productions with Lee Family Puppet Show and In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater.  Akin’s other interests include chess, Cuban and African music, and soccer. He has been fortunate to have spent several summers with family in Cuba, where he has enjoyed connecting with his Cuban family and culture.

Halle Audette (Sam): Halle is thrilled to be back for her sixth production with Stages Theatre Company. Previous shows include The Snow Queen, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Twelve Dancing Princesses, The Mitten and Owl Moon.  Besides theater, Halle’s other love is dancing at Escalate Dance and Theatre Studio.  She is grateful for the opportunity to work with this incredibly talented creative team and cast.

Celia Birgy (Parker): Magic Tree House is Celia’s second time on stage with Stages Theatre Company. She previously appeared in Annie Jr. Celia is a 13 year old student attending Hopkins West Jr. High who loves super heroes and mermaids. This past summer, Celia trekked across the ocean for the first time with her dad and sister Rose as part of a mission team to Rwanda, Africa. She would like to give a shout out to her family for their love and support and to Stages Theatre Company for another amazing opportunity to do what she loves most.

Elon Byers (Happy): Elon Byers has always loved the spotlight, has a spunky personality, and is delighted to be making her Stages Theater Company debut. In her very first performance as the Scarecrow in The WIZ, with FAIR School, she  received a  Hennepin Theater Trust spotlight recognition.  Elon has recently completed an internship with NorthNews and currently has an internship with Nordstroms as a fashion Ambassador. She is a honor roll student, an avid readers, a poet and in her free time enjoys watching Law and Order and Criminal Minds.

Izzy Cruz (Sarah): Izzy doesn’t have a background in theatre, but she has been playing with professional musicians and choirs since the age of 12. Her stage presence and intense admiring for the arts has brought her to what she hopes is her next step in being an all around artist. She is a prolific writer hopes to one day write screenplays, absorbing as much possible by acting, dancing and singing on stage.                         

Rayo Daniel (Annie): We are excited to have Rayo in her debut production with Stages Theatre Company. She previously appeared in Encore: Motown. Rayo enjoys playing piano, singing, biking, and writing. Special thanks to my family for always helping me and encouraging me to do things that are new and different.                         

Javari Horne (Big Nose): Javari is in the tenth grade at FAIR School Downtown, and Magic Tree House will be her seventh production with Stages Theatre Company. She has previously appeared in Annie Jr.; Giggle, Giggle, Quack; Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day; The Wiz; The Little Mermaid; and James and the Giant Peach. She has also appeared productions with Children’s Theatre Company and FAIR School Downtown. “Special thanks to my family and friends who always support me. All I need is music, food, and sleep.”

Ryder T. James (Jack): Ryder is excited to make his Stages Theatre Company debut. He has previously performed with Children’s Theatre Company, Woodbury Community Theatre, Ashland Productions, and Black Dirt Theatre. Ryder also enjoys Boy Scouts, time with his pets, playing board games and scripting video games. He would like to thank the Magic Tree House creative team and his parents for making this possible. Enjoy the show!

Kennedy Lucas (Little Mac): Kennedy is excited to be making her Stages Theatre Company debut. Her favorite credits include HAIRSPRAY,  Bugsy Malone Jr, Aladdin Jr., My Son Pinocchio Jr., and The Magical Mrs. Piggle Wiggle. Kennedy is a 2 time finalist in the Minnesota State Piano Competition, is 11years old, and is in the sixth grade at Breck.

William Maus (Duke): William is excited to be returning to Stages Theatre Company for his second production. He previously appeared in I Love You, Stinky Face. William has also appeared in productions with Chaska Valley Family Theatre. “I would like to thank my parents for their extreme support and allowing me to pursue my passion of acting! I am so grateful for everything they do for me!”

Ricky Morisseau (Dipper): Ricky is from Palm Beach, FL where he earned his BA in Theatre Performance with a minor in Dance from Florida A&M University. We are excited to have Ricky in his Stages Theatre Company debut. He has recently worked with Mixed Precipitation, History Theatre, and Lyric Arts. His previous theatre experience include touring with Climb Theatre’s Performing Company’s Once on This Island and The Colored Museum. “Special thanks to everyone that continues to support and believe in my gifts!”

Greta Nackerud (Riley): Magic Tree House is Greta’s sixth production with Stages Theatre Company. She previously appeared in Annie Jr., Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star; One Dog Canoe; Goodnight Moon; Bear Snores On; and Number the Stars. Greta has also been in productions with St. Louis Park Middle School. She is 15 years old and a student at St. Louis Park High School. “I love reading, hanging out with friends, and because I never want to grow up, I love playing make-believe with my younger cousins. Besides acting, writing is my passion and I hope to be a published author someday.” 

Abby Schroeder (Jasmine): We are excited to have Abby back for her seventh show with Stages Theatre Company.  She has previously appeared in A Charlie Brown Christmas; Miss Nelson is Missing; Lily’s Purple Plastic Purse; Huckleberry Finn; Diary of a Worm, a Spider, and a Fly; and Twelve Dancing Princesses.  Abby has also appeared in productions with Children’s Theatre Company and Central Middle School.  “A special thank you to my amazing family who support me in everything I do!”

Will Spangrud (Marvel): Will is excited to make his debut performance at Stages Theatre Company.  He has performed in Willy Wonka Jr and Aladdin Jr in the Bloomington Summer Musical program and has been a member of the Hillcrest Players for the last three years.  He is in 5th grade and loves gymnastics, dance, and giant pandas. “Special thanks to Mom, my biggest fan!”

UNDERSTUDIES: Lynnea Doublette and Roy Richardson Jr.

Lynnea Doublette (Understudy) is thrilled to join the cast of the Magic Tree House. She was previously in the 2009, 2011, 2014, and 2016 productions of Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story and recently in Complicated Fun at the History Theater. She has worked with Theatre Latte Da (Violet), Guthrie Theater (Caroline, or Change), Illusion Theater (Autistic License), and Theatre in the Round (Lysistrata). She has been seen in numerous commercials, industrial films, and print ads and her film credits include Turnipseed, Autistic License and His Neighbor Phil. She received a B.A. in Psychology from Winona State University and a M.S. in Healthcare Communications from Saint Thomas University. “Thank you, Lord for your many blessings and thank you Mom, Dad, Ivory and Danielle! The Lord bless you and keep you- Numbers 6:24

Roy Richardson Jr (Understudy): Bio Coming Soon!


Artistic Director – Sandy Boren-Barrett
Director – Jamil Jude
Music Director – J.D. Steele
Choreographer – Michael Matthew Ferrell
Stage Manager – Emilia Allen
Technical Director – Gretchen Katt
Costume Designer –  Josette Elstad
Lighting Designer – Karin Olson
Sound Designer – Alan Pagel
Props Designer – Merritt Rodriguez
Production Manager – Melanie Salmon-Peterson
Set Designer – Joe Stanley
Book & Lyrics – Will Osborne and Murray Horwitz
Music & Additional Lyrics – Allen Toussaint
Based on “MAGIC TREE HOUSE #42: A Good Night for Ghosts,” by Mary Pope Osborne


JamilJude-NoTieButSmileJAMIL JUDE (Director)  is the Artistic Programming Associate at Park Square Theatre. He is a participant in the Leadership U: One-on-One program, funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and administered by Theatre Communications Group. Jamil is the co-producer of the New Griots Black Arts Festival and is a freelance stage director of theatre and opera.


JDSteeleJ.D. STEELE (Music Director)  J.D. Steele exploded onto the Minnesota music scene in the mid 1980’s along with Prince, Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, Soul Asylum and The Steeles, putting Minnesota on the National music map forever. Mr. Steele began his career singing and arranging jingles for local and national spots including Kodak, Target, and other national brands. He developed his abilities as a vocal arranger as a young teen while directing a 100-voice choir at age 16. At Purdue University, where he majored in marketing, he also organized and directed the African American Cultural Center ensemble and began writing and arranging his original compositions.

Since arriving on the Minnesota music scene, Mr. Steele and his dynamic vocal siblings, “The Steeles”, have garnered every major music award and accolade the state has had to offer. J.D. and the family began touring the international hit show “Gospel at Colonus” with Morgan Freeman around the world before finally landing on Broadway in 1988 for a successful nine-month run. After that The Steeles signed their first record deal with Elektra records and released “Heaven Help Us All” in 1993. Mr. Steele produced and cowrote 12 of the 14 songs released on that record. Since then J.D. has produced, performed and recorded six additional Steeles albums and has gone on to write, produce, perform and record with Prince, Donald Fagen, George Clinton, Mavis Staples, Kim Carnes, Fine Young Cannibals, The Sounds of Blackness and many other artists. He has performed on stages all over America, in Spain, Italy, London, Moscow, South America and many other cities and countries.

J.D. has also taught and developed music workshop curricula across the country with K – 12 students as well as university music programs including students for Berkeley School of Music in Boston, MA, and San Francisco.

J.D.’s publishing company and music catalog is administered by Rondor/Universal music in Los Angeles, CA. The catalog, Just Divine Music, is registered with ASCAP. Mr. Steele is also a member of the American Federation of Radio and Television Artists, Screen Actors Guild, and Actors Equity. His many credits also include a cameo in the Prince produced movie “Graffiti Bridge”, and songwriting and arranging credits for the movies “Corrina, Corrina” (Whoopi Goldberg), “Blankman” (Damon Wayans”, and the award-winning documentary “Hoop Dreams”. He was also nominated for an Emmy for the P.B.S. version of “Gospel at Colonus”.


Michael Matthew FerrellMICHAEL MATTHEW FERRELL (Choreographer)  is the 2014 Ivey Award recipient for his work in Theater Latté Da‘s Cabaret, 2013 Ivey Award recipient for his work on BCT’s Singin’ in the Rain, the 2007 Ivey Award recipient for Choreography, and 2010 & 2015 Choreographer of the Year named by Lavender Magazine. Credits include Aida, Company, Spring Awakening (Theater Latté Da); Shrek, Wizard of Oz, Annie (Children’s Theatre Company); Cats, The Sound of Music, and Camelot (Chanhassen Dinner Theatres). He is also the Founder and Artistic Director of Alive & Kickin, the Twin Cities newest musical ensemble of Rockin’ Senior Citizens for which he won the WCCO Making a Difference Award.



Check back soon






Buy Tickets Group Tickets Study Guide


Fri 9/16 7pm
Sat 9/17 1pm
Sun 9/18 2 pm – Pay What You Can performance

Thu 9/22 10am
Fri 9/23 7pm
Sat 9/24 10am & 1pm
Sun 9/25 2 & 4:30pm

Thu 9/29 10am & 12:30pm
Fri 9/30 10am & 1pm
Sat 10/1 10am & 1 pm – ASL & Audio Described performance
Sun 10/2 2 & 4:30pm

Wed 10/5 10am & 12:30pm
Thu 10/6 10am
Fri 10/7 7pm
Sat 10/8 10 am – Sensory-Friendly performance & 1pm
Sun 10/9 2 & 4:30pm

Wed 10/12 10am
Thu 10/13 10am & 12:30pm
Fri 10/14 7pm
Sat 10/15 10am & 1pm
Sun 10/16 2pm

Tue 10/18 10am & 12:30pm
Wed 10/19 10am & 12:30pm
Thu 10/20 10am & 12:30pm

A Night in New Orleans is produced by special arrangement with Tree House Jazz, LLC. Rolling World Premiere Productions of A Night in New Orleans took place at Orlando Shakespeare Theatre in Partnership with UCF-Florida. Magic Tree House is a registered trademark of Mary Pope Osborne. All rights reserved.
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