Scene & Heard

Cottage Theatre Presents: ‘Treehouse’ A story of self-discovery

Actors: Alana (Clare McDonald) and Johnny (Malakhai Schnell). PHOTO PROVIDED/MATT EMRICH

Treehouse, the world premiere production by Joe Musso, is a remarkable, must-see performance this summer. Performing August 10 to 26 at Cottage Theatre at 700 Village Drive in Cottage Grove, Treehouse tells the story of self-discovery, coming of age and acceptance.
Presented by Cottage Theatre and directed by Tara Wibrew, this thought-provoking, and introspective play takes the audience on a journey to 1980, where 53-year-old Johnny (Malakhai Schnell) rediscovers himself in his 17-year-old body. Johnny has all the memories and awareness of his older self, but is trapped in the 80s living with his mother (Chelsey Megli), attending high school with his friends (Blake Nelson and John Eckstine) and revisiting past events. Johnny reunites with a high school flame (Clara McDonald), all while still receiving visions of his future wife (Tracy Nygard) throughout the play. From the shocking opening scene to the tearjerker ending, Treehouse will keep you laughing, crying, hoping and questioning, for its entire 80-minute run-time.
Treehouse is proudly sponsored by Starfire Lumber Co. and has received support from the Lane County Cultural Coalition. During the world premiere of Treehouse on Friday, August 10, the Jack K. Ayre-Frank Ayre Lee Theatre Foundation presented Cottage Theatre with a check for $4,000 to assist with future productions. The Lane County Cultural Coalition has also provided a grant to assist Treehouse and Joe Musso in the creation of their performance.
Treehouse was one of six winning play scripts selected out of 300 submissions in the American Association of Community Theatre’s 2018 NewPlayFest. The world premiere on August 10 was a full house performance. Audience members from across the country showed up for the expertly directed and acted premiere performance. The play is full of witty humor, beautifully-acted scenes and constant references to famous Shakespeare literature.
After the lights dimmed on the final scene, not only did the crowd erupt in applause, but the cast received a standing ovation from the entire audience. Treehouse is worthy of not only a second viewing but a third and fourth as well. Joe Musso and Treehouse remind us that while we may grow up, we don’t always grow out of our pasts.
Treehouse by Joe Musso at Cottage Theatre will be available until the final performance on Sunday, August 26. For more information about Treehouse, Cottage Theatre, and the current production season, visit



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