First Stage presents the world premiere of JUDY MOODY & STINK: THE MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD TREASURE HUNT



A world premiere with excitement and adventure


By Allison Gregory

Based on the book series by Megan McDonald


Directed by Jeff Frank


Milwaukee, WI – April 17, 2018 – Based upon the wildly popular Judy Moody series of children’s books, the world premiere production of JUDY MOODY & STINK: THE MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD TREASURE HUNT comes to First Stage this May. A national collaboration with seven of the country’s leading children’s theaters, JUDY MOODY & STINK: THE MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD TREASURE HUNT finds third grader Judy Moody in a bit of a mood. She’s been given a school assignment to create a “Me” collage, and her know-it-all little brother Stink keeps getting in the way. When the Moody family drops anchor on “Artichoke” Island for a weekend getaway, they meet Cap’n Weevil with a secret treasure map, launching them on a mad dash across the island in search of gold. That’s when the fun and adventure begins!

JUDY MOODY & STINK: THE MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD TREASURE HUNT runs May 4 – June 3, 2018 at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts in the Todd Wehr Theater, located at 929 N. Water Street in downtown Milwaukee. Tickets can be purchased in person at the Marcus Center Box Office at 929 N. Water Street, by phone at (414) 273-7206 or online at Suggested for families with young people ages 5 – 9+. 


“Judy Moody is a compelling character and a great fit for the stage,” said playwright Allison Gregory. “She activates the world around her. From her dogged determination (which frequently looks like impulsivity), to her scrappy resourcefulness, she engages other characters, and us, to root for her.”

Added Author Megan McDonald, “I’m thrilled readers will get to see my books make the leap from page to stage,” McDonald, creator of the Judy Moody and Stink series, said, “Judy Moody has been to Antarctica, The Freedom Trail, Artichoke Island and college. She has gone around the world in eight (and a half) days. But never before has she been on stage!”

Director Jeff Frank also commented, “We are delighted to be part of this first-time collaboration between seven of the country’s best children’s theaters to bring Judy Moody to our stage. Millions of children around the world find Judy a funny, spunky girl they can easily relate to.”

Adapted for the stage by Allison Gregory. Based on the books: “Judy Moody” and “Judy Moody & Stink: The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Treasure Hunt” written by Megan McDonald and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds. Published by Candlewick Press, Inc. This play was co-commissioned by First Stage, Adventure Theatre MTC, Bay Area Children’s Theatre, The Rose Theatre, Oregon Children’s Theatre, Children’s Theatre of Charlotte and Orlando Repertory Theatre.



Allison Gregory (Playwright) has plays that have been produced all over the country. She has received commissions, grants and development from Oregon Shakespeare Festival, South Coast Repertory, The Kennedy Center and Indiana Repertory Theatre, among many others. An award-winning playwright, Allison also writes for young audiences; plays include GO DOG. GO!, adapted from the P.D. Eastman book, co-written with Steven Dietz; EVEN STEVEN GOES TO WAR (“Zoni” Best New Script Award; AATE and UPRP awards; Kennedy Center New Visions/New Voices selection); PETER AND THE WOLF (Seattle Times Best New Play Award; National tour), JUNIE B. IN JINGLE BELLS, BATMAN SMELLS! and JUNIE B. IS NOT A CROOK (over 200 professional productions), adapted from the beloved book series by Barbara Park, RONIA: THE ROBBER’S DAUGHTER, adapted from Astrid Lindgren’s story, premiered at Teatr Pinokio in Poland this year. Her adaptation of JUDY MOODY: THE MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD TREASURE HUNT, a seven-theater commission, is being produced during the 2017-18 season. Allison is a 2017-20 Core Member of the Playwright’s Center, and an alumni of LATC’S Wordsmiths and Hedgebrook. She splits her time between Seattle and Austin, where she is the co-founder of the Marthas, a playwright collective. Her plays are published by Playscripts, Smith & Krauss, Dramatic Publishing and Rain City Press.

Jeff Frank (Director) has been First Stage’s artistic director since February 2003. Previously he had served as education director/associate artistic director beginning in 1996. Jeff is a native Wisconsinite who earned a B.F.A. in Theater from UW–Whitewater and went on to the University of Utah, earning an M.F.A. in Child Drama. Last fall Jeff was welcomed back to the University of Utah where he was recognized as a Distinguished Alumnus in the theatre department. Over the past 20 seasons Jeff has directed over 50 First Stage productions. Among his favorites are: THE SNOW, LUCHADORA!, PETER PAN AND WENDY, U: BUG: ME, THE NEVERENDING STORY, A MIDNIGHT CRY, PERSEUS BAYOU, TOM SAWYER and NANCY DREW AND HER BIGGEST CASE EVER.

The adult actor cast of JUDY MOODY & STINK: THE MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD TREASURE HUNT includes: Bo Johnson (Member of Actors’ Equity Association) as Scurvy Sam/Ensemble; Kay Allmand (Member of Actors’ Equity Association) as Mom/Ensemble; Todd Denning (Member of Actors’ Equity Association) as Dad/Ensemble; Justin Lee as Mr. Todd/Ensemble; JJ Gatesman as the Understudy to Mr. Denning and Mr. Johnson; Brittany Curran as the Understudy to Ms. Allmand.


Bo Johnson (Scurvy Sam/Ensemble) first became involved with First Stage in 1988. He took the jobs of Production Manager/Tech Director/Props Manager and filled those roles for two seasons. After that, he started working for the company as an actor. He has appeared in approximately 25 productions including LILLY’S PURPLE PLASTIC PURSE, CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, A CHRISTMAS STORY and CHARLOTTE’S WEB. He spent 10 years teaching at First Stage’s Summer Theater Academy. He has also performed with Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Next Act Theatre, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, In Tandem Theatre and American Folklore Theatre. He is co-founder of Umbrella Group Theatre and plays guitar in the rock band Random Maxx.


Kay Allmand (Mom/Ensemble) returns to First Stage for JUDY MOODY & STINK after appearing last season in JUNIE B. JONES IS NOT A CROOK. This August she can be seen in Milwaukee Chamber Theatre’s production of SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE CASE OF THE JERSEY LILY. Other previous Milwaukee credits include: TIME STANDS STILL at In Tandem Theatre; A LOVELY SUNDAY FOR CREVE COUER, FALLEN ANGELS and JEEVES TAKES A BOW at Milwaukee Chamber Theatre and ISAAC’S EYE, STEEL MAGNOLIAS, THE GLASS MENAGERIE and THE 39 STEPS at Third Avenue Playhouse in Door County. She also spent three seasons with Door Shakespeare, 2009-2011. Kay has a BFA from Midwestern State University, an MFA from the University of South Carolina and was an acting intern at Milwaukee Repertory Theater.


Todd Denning (Dad/Ensemble) has worked with First Stage since 1998. He has acted in over 25 productions, directed numerous productions (Mainstage, First Steps, Young Company and Company Class), as well as teaching within the Theater Academy. He was last seen at First Stage as Santa Claus in RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER™: THE MUSICAL. This season, Todd has appeared on Milwaukee stages as the Ghost of Christmas Present in A CHRISTMAS CAROL with Milwaukee Repertory Theater and Johnny in FRANKIE AND JOHNNY IN THE CLAIR DE LUNE with Milwaukee Chamber Theatre. Other regional acting credits include the Utah Shakespeare Festival, South Coast Rep, Illinois Shakespeare, Tennessee Rep, Georgia Shakespeare, Willamette Rep, PCPA Theaterfest, Next Act Theatre, Optimist Theatre, In Tandem Theatre and Milwaukee Shakespeare. Todd is an adjunct faculty member at Marquette University. He holds an MFA in Acting from the University of California-Irvine.


Justin Lee (Mr. Todd/Ensemble) appears with First Stage again after this season’s production of Dr. Seuss’s THE CAT IN THE HAT and ANTARCTICA, WI. A proud graduate of Xavier University, he has been serving as this year’s Artistic Fellow at First Stage.

Young performer roles are double cast. Young performers in the Porcupine Cast include: Eloise Field (as Judy) from Oconomowoc; Thatcher Jacobs (as Stink) from Fox Point; Abby Schaufler (as Smart Girl) from Milwaukee; Liam Jeninga (as Tall Boy) from Delavan; Benny Skwierawski (as Rocky) from Shorewood; Rachel Young (as Ensemble) from Greendale; Zephaniah Ponder (as Ensemble) from Brookfield; Zaire Key (as Ensemble) from Milwaukee; Evie Patrick (as Ensemble) from Whitefish Bay; Gianna Zampino (as Ensemble) from Milwaukee; Henry Dizard (as Ensemble) from Wauwatosa; Yan Luis Lebron (as Ensemble) from Milwaukee; Katie Buettner (Ensemble) from Whitefish Bay; Lauren Edwards (as Ensemble) from Greenfield and Bethany Martin (as Ensemble) from River Hills.


Young performers in the Turtle Cast include: Hope Stiverson (as Judy) from Nashotah; Abram Nelson (as Stink) from Whitefish Bay; Abby Hanna (as Smart Girl) from Franklin; Saul Ramirez (as Tall Boy) from Milwaukee; Trygve Gundersen (as Rocky) from Madison; Hannah Fedor (as Ensemble) from New Berlin; Ezekiel (Zeke) Harris (as Ensemble) from Milwaukee; Elena Harms (as Ensemble) from Whitefish Bay; Lina Singh (as Ensemble) from Bayside; Sarai Santiago (as Ensemble) from Milwaukee; Ryan Vanselow (as Ensemble) from New Berlin; Oliver Kelley (as Ensemble) from Germantown; Phoebe Mann (as Ensemble) from Wauwatosa; Ellora Rangel (as Ensemble) from Germantown and Sanaiah Hibbler (as Ensemble) from Oak Creek.


The Artistic Staff for JUDY MOODY & STINK: THE MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD TREASURE HUNT includes: Brandon Kirkham (Scenic Designer); Jesse Klug, USAA (Lighting Designer); Jason Orlenko, USAA (Costume Designer); Erin Paige (Sound Designer); Melissa Wanke, Member of Actors’ Equity Association, (Stage Manager) and Julia Xiong (Assistant Stage Manager).


Tickets start at $15 – Tickets may be purchased at or through the Marcus Center box office, in person at 929 N. Water Street in downtown Milwaukee or by phone (414) 273-7206 or toll free at (888) 612-3500. The number for TDD (for deaf and hard of hearing patrons) is (414) 273-3080.

Group Sales – Groups of 10 or more receive 15% off main floor, regular single ticket prices on most First Stage performances at the Marcus Center’s Todd Wehr Theater. Call (414) 267-2964 or email for more information.




Opening Night Reception: Friday, May 4, 2018

Following the opening night performance, First Stage invites all patrons to attend the Opening Night Reception at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center, located one mile from the Marcus Center at 325 W. Walnut Street. Patrons can mix and mingle with the cast and crew of JUDY MOODY & STINK: THE MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD TREASURE HUNT enjoying refreshments, courtesy of First Stage.


Pay What You Choose performance: Tuesday, May 8, 2018 at 7:00 p.m.

Pay What You Choose tickets are available on a first come, first served basis with a minimum suggested donation of $5 per person. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. on the day of the performance. Patrons are encouraged to arrive early.


ASL Interpreted Performance: Sunday, June 3 at 3:30 p.m.

This performance will be sign language interpreted for patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing. Assistive listening devices are also available at the Todd Wehr Theater.







Location: The Marcus Center’s Todd Wehr Theater, 929 N. Water Street, Milwaukee


Dates: May 4 – June 3, 2018


Description: Third grade has put Judy Moody in a mood. She’s got to figure out what to include in her “Me” collage, and her know-it-all little brother Stink keeps getting in the way. When the Moody family drops anchor on “Artichoke” Island, they meet Cap’n Weevil with a secret treasure map, launching them on a mad dash across the island in search of gold. But they’re not the only salty dogs lookin’ for loot! Can Judy Moody and Stink outwit their competition in time? Will Judy finish her project? Set sail on this world premiere and find out! Suggested for families with young people ages 5 – 9+. 



  • Friday, May 4 at 7:00 p.m. – OPENING NIGHT
  • Saturday, May 5 at 1:00 & 3:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, May 6 at 1:00 & 3:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, May 8, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. – PAY WHAT YOU CHOOSE PERFORMANCE
  • Saturday, May 12 at 1:00 & 3:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, May 13 at 1:00 & 3:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 19 at 1:00 & 3:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, May 20 at 1:00 & 3:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, June 2, 1:00 & 3:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, June 3, 1:00 & 3:30 p.m. – ASL INTREPRETED PERFORMANCE


Tickets and information: Tickets start at $15. Call (414) 273-7206 or online at




About First Stage
First Stage is one of the nation’s leading theaters for young people and families. First Stage touches hearts, engages minds, and transforms lives by creating extraordinary theater experiences through professional theater productions that inspire, enlighten, and entertain. Its Theater Academy, the nation’s largest high-impact theater training program for young people, fosters life skills through stage skills and serves over 2,100 students each year. As Wisconsin’s leader in arts-integrated education in schools, First Stage’s dynamic Theater in Education programs promote literacy, character building, and experiential learning throughout the curriculum, serving over 20,000 students each year. First Stage was selected to participate in the Partners in Education program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (2012), and was the recipient of the Milwaukee Business Journal’s Eureka Award, recognizing creativity and innovation in business, education, and the arts for its Next Steps program for students with autism (2013, 2015). First Stage is a member of TYA/USA, the American Alliance for Theatre and Education, the Wisconsin Alliance for Arts Education, Theatre Wisconsin, Milwaukee Arts Partners, and is a cornerstone member of the United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF).

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