MTI Broadway Junior to Launch Children's Musicals Based on MAGIC TREE HOUSE Book Series, Fall 2014

All ShowKits contain helpful materials enabling teachers to make the musical the ultimate interdisciplinary teaching tool. It also includes a Director's Guide and an accompaniment CD to enhance rehearsals and performances.

About the Magic Tree House Book Series:

  • The series is a #1 New York Times bestseller.
  • More than 100 million copies of the books have been sold.
  • Magic Tree House books can be found in more than 100 countries and in multiple languages.
  • There are 50 books in the fiction series, plus 27 non-fiction companion Magic Tree House Fact Trackers.
  • The series is highly recommended by parents and educators everywhere and introduces young readers to different cultures, historic figures and periods in history, as well as the world's legacy of ancient myth and storytelling.

About the Show's Creators:

Jenny Laird (book)

Jenny Laird was a long-time Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists, where her first play BALLAD HUNTER premiered and earned a Joseph Jefferson Nomination for Outstanding New Work and won Chicago's Cunningham Prize for Playwriting. Her play SKY GIRLS was originally commissioned and produced by Northlight Theatre, received Developmental and Production grants from the NEA and subsequently had its West Coast premiere at The Old Globe Theatre in San Diego. ONLY THE SOUND was the recipient of Mill Mountain Theatre's New Play Award, an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship, as well as Chicago's 2003 Jeff Award for Outstanding New Work. Jenny has had the good fortune to have her plays developed and produced at theatres all across the U.S. dedicated to new work; some of her favorites include: The Women's Project, The Road Theatre, The Asylum, API, Stage 3, Rivendell Theatre, Horizon Theatre Company, The New Harmony Project and The Utah Shakespeare Festival.

During her decade in Chicago, Jenny had a strong presence in the theatre outreach and educational community. She was a professor of Playwriting at DePaul University and full time outreach educator for Northlight Theatre, where she created and developed "The Open Door Ensemble" - a writing and acting program for older adults. She was also a guest artist/teacher for numerous playwriting programs for underprivileged youth throughout the city and enjoyed every moment of nurturing young talent and helping kids to find their voice and tell their stories through her favorite medium.

Jenny currently lives in Massachusetts with her husband, Randy Courts, and their wondrous eight-year old son, Quinn, and when she has time, blogs about her adventures raising a child with epilepsy and autism.

Randy Courts (music and lyrics)

Randy Courts has collaborated with playwright/lyricist Mark St. Germain on the musicals THE GIFTS OF THE MAGI (ten consecutive seasons at the Lambs Theater; over three hundred productions world wide, including two national tours); JOHNNY PYE AND THE FOOLKILLER (Lambs Theater; AT&T New Plays Award); JOSEPH AND MARY (Los Angeles, Dallas, Indianapolis and in concert in New York City; Pilgrims Progress Foundation Award); JACK'S HOLIDAY (Playwrights Horizons, nominated for three Outer Critics Circle Awards, including best musical); THE GINGERBREAD HOUSE (commission from Playwrights Horizons and Amblin' Entertainment); THE BOOK OF THE DUN COW (New Harmony Project, Prospect Theater Company); and DOCTOR DOLITTLE (Theatreworks USA). With novelist/librettist Walter Wangerin Jr., Randy wrote the Christmas oratorio ANGELS AND ALL CHILDREN, and the operas POTTER and ELISABETH AND THE WATER TROLL (New Harmony Project). Most recently, Randy collaborated with writer/lyricist Will Osborne on MAGIC TREE HOUSE: THE MUSICAL, based on the best selling children's series by Mary Pope Osborne (national tour; c.d. on P.S. Classics). Randy is thrilled to be collaborating with his wife, playwright Jenny Laird, on a series of musicals based on The Magic Tree House books for Music Theatre International's Broadway Junior Collection.

WILL OSBORNE (creative advisor)

Internationally produced and published playwright and book author and respected director, teacher, and actor, Will Osborne's career in professional theatre spans four decades. His play Smoke & Mirrors, a comic murder mystery co-authored with Anthony Herrera, has been produced in theatres throughout the United States, as well as in Johannesburg, South Africa, and Seoul, Korea. In 2007, collaborating with Randy Courts, he provided book and lyrics for Magic Tree House; The Musical, a full-scale, Broadway-style family musical that traveled to 54 cities around the country and was later translated and produced throughout Germany. Will's writing for musical theatre also includes Saddle Jazz, a Western Swing musical (music and lyrics by Nick Plakias); The Wonderful O, an adaptation of the James Thurber novella (also with Randy Courts), produced at the West Bank Café in New York and the Leonard Bernstein Institute in Nashville; Manifest Destiny, an NEA-funded extravaganza set in 1840s America; and A Night in New Orleans: A Louis Armstrong Musical (with Murray Horwitz and legendary New Orleans composer and performer Allen Toussaint), which premiered at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in October 2012.

Will has authored more than a dozen books for children and young adults, many co-written with his wife Mary Pope Osborne, including: the Magic Tree House Fact Tracker series, two retellings of Greek mythology, A Time To Dance for the My America series, and a picture book, Sleeping Bobby, with award-winning illustrator Giselle Potter. He has also created several highly acclaimed multi-media shows for the Morehead Planetarium in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, two of which featured William Shatner and the late Walter Cronkite.

Will is a member of the Dramatists Guild, a founder of The Writers Group in New York, a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill - and lead vocalist and guitarist for the blues/R&B group WillPower.

Visit www.mtishows.com or www.broadwayjr.com for more information about MAGIC TREE HOUSE: DINOSAURS BEFORE DARK KIDS or any of the other shows in the MTI Broadway Junior Collection contact: licensing@mtishows.com (212) 541-4684.

For more information about the Magic Tree House book series, visit www.magictreehouse.com. Magic Tree House is a registered trademark of Mary Pope Osborne; all rights reserved.

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