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Oregon Children's Theater in Portland has collaborated with six other national theater companies to create a stage debut surrounding the literary character Judy Moody.

SUBMITTED PHOTO  - Judy Moody

Judy Moody is ready for the spotlight.

Since 2000, the Judy Moody books have delighted millions of children worldwide. Now, children will have a real-live Judy Moody, thanks to seven children's theaters across the nation that are collaborating to adapt the story for the stage.

Michael Bobbitt, artistic director of Adventure Theater MTC in Glen Echo, Md., gathered a group of seven like-minded children's theaters nationwide to gauge interest in commissioning a play based on two of the Judy Moody books. Along with his theater, six others agreed to collaborate — Bay Area Children's Theater in Oakland, Calif.; Children's Theater of Charlotte in Charlotte, N.C.; First Stage in Milwaukee, Wis.; Oregon Children's Theater in Portland; Orlando Repertory Theater in Orlando, Fla.; and the Rose Theater in Omaha, Neb.

"This is a remarkable nationwide collaboration among some of the country's best children's theaters," Bobbitt said. "It's a level of partnership, quite frankly, I've never seen."

The excitement surrounding Judy Moody's stage debut didn't stop with Bobbitt.

"We're so excited about this incredible, unprecedented collaboration," said Karen Lotz, president and publisher of Candlewick Press and managing director of the Walker Books Group, which publishes the Judy Moody franchise around the world. "We know young readers everywhere relate to Judy as their favorite dynamic and funny 'real-girl' character."

Each theater will independently produce its own production of the new play in a separate, but shared, world premiere, starting in the fall of 2017. The show is scheduled to run through the spring of 2019. After an exhaustive search for a playwright, the group commissioned Allison Gregory.

"There could be no one better to join us on this journey than Allison," said Adam Burke, artistic director of Children's Theater of Charlotte. "Allison has a deep history of writing exemplary plays for young audiences, and we're all looking forward to Judy Moody's stage debut."

So, too, is Judy Moody's creator, Megan McDonald.

"I'm thrilled readers will get to see my books make the leap from page to stage," said McDonald, creator of the Judy Moody and Stink series. "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!"

Judy Moody begins her seven-theater shared world premiere adventure on Oct. 21 at Oregon Children's Theatre, 1939 N.E. Sandy Blvd., Portland.

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