I took my six year-old granddaughter, Molly, to see Emerald City Theatre’s “Magic Tree House: A Night in New Orleans”. It turned out to be an excellent choice for her since she’s reading chapter books now. In fact, she told me she’d read the book. Since Molly loved the show, I’m giving it 4 Spotlights.
Molly may not be able to articulate why she likes or doesn’t like a play, but I can usually tell. When she likes it, she wants autographs; if she doesn’t like it, she walks right past the actors! With “Magic Tree House”, she literally pulled me along on her quest for autographs.
Molly was thrilled when Gilbert Dornally, who played Dipper (the young Louis Armstrong), greeted her by name. It turned out that he was one of her camp counselors at Lakeshore Sport & Fitness last summer. Molly was thrilled that she actually knew one of the actors.
“Magic Tree House: A Night in New Orleans” is based on “A Good Night for Ghosts”, Magic Tree House series #42, by Mary Pope Osborne. Jack (Garrett Lutz) and Annie (Katrina Kiss) explore Lil Mac (Angela Alise), Big Nose Sydney (David Robbins) and Happy (Trequon Tate) show them around the city with lots of music and dance.
Along the way, they meet 14 year-old Louis Armstrong (Gilbert Dornally), nicknamed Dipper, who is working lots of different jobs to help his family. Jack and Annie are happy to help Dipper do his jobs. They won’t accept any money, so he can’t figure out why they would help him. Finally, at the end of his work day, they give him a trumpet, and encourage him to play. Of course, they set him on his way to becoming the “King of Jazz”.
Emerald City Theatre’s “Magic Tree House: A Night in New Orleans” runs through January 3rd at the Apollo Theater, 2450 N. Lincoln, Chicago. Performances times and dates are available at www.emeraldcitytheatre.com. Running time is about an hour. Tickets begin at $15. Parking is available for a fee in the lot next to the theater. Street parking is also available. FYI (773) 529-2690 or www.emeraldcitytheatre.com.
To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-up and or Children’s theater and click at “Magic Tree House”. Emerald City is a fun place for kids to learn about theater and get comfortable with watching a play, quietly for an hour. If more adults had done this in their youth, we would have less troublesome theater audiences for actors and other audience members. (Editor note).