Media Theatre Travels Back in Time with MAGIC TREE HOUSE: DINOSAURS BEFORE DARK, Now thru 5/25

Media Theatre Travels Back in Time with MAGIC TREE HOUSE: DINOSAURS BEFORE DARK, Now thru 5/25

The Media Theatre will transport young audiences to prehistoric times when it presents the new stage adaptation of "Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs Before Dark" weekends in March, April, and May as part of the award-winning Children's Series. The family-friendly musical for ages 4 and up follows the adventures of a brother and sister who discover a magical tree house that whisks them away to the land of dinosaurs.

In "Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs Before Dark", two siblings, Jack and Annie, happen upon a mysterious tree housethat is filled with books covering a wide range of subjects. As they are looking at a book about dinosaurs, Jack idly wishes they could go there - and, magically, the siblings are transported to a strange new world populated with dinosaurs they've only read about.

With a book by Jenny Laird, music and lyrics by Randy Courts, and additional lyrics by Will Osborne, the show is based on Magic Tree House #1: Dinosaurs Before Dark, the first book in the Magic Tree House series written by Mary Pope Osborne and illustrated by Sal Murdocca. The series introduces young readers to different cultures and times in history and has inspired a love of reading in countless children all over the world. The books are number one New York Times bestsellers - more than 100 million copies have been sold in North America alone.

"Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs Before Dark" is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International. All Broadway Series and Children's Series productions at The Media Theatre are produced by Media Music Theatre Company (MMTC). The Artistic Director for MMTC is Jesse Cline. "We are the first regional theatre in the Philadelphia area to produce this wonderful adaptation of the popular book," Cline said. "The cast features a mix of adult actors with our New School students, which is an ideal opportunity for young performers."

The roles of Jack and Annie will be shared by two sets of young actors. Katheryn Cooper, of Glen Mills, and Media's Justin Fitzgerald will portray the siblings for half of the show's run, with West Chester's Lexi Gwynn and Michael Wells, of Springfield, entertaining audiences an equal amount of performances. All are students of MMTC's New School, a conservatory-style music theatre education program for youth.

A group of trees narrates the story, led by MMTC's Roger Ricker as Otto, the oldest living tree who remembers the time of the dinosaurs. Tim Woodward plays the role of Stump. Veronica Garrubbo, Charlee O' Donnell, and Morgan Perry are the Red Pines. The Hemlocks are Hannah Brady, Theodora Greco, and Rachael McVey with the Saplings being portrayed by Jolie Jaffe and Madison Law.

The first dinosaur Jack and Annie meet is Henry, a pteranodon, played by Carter Weiss. Next to come along are the humorous Triceratops, portrayed by Josh Atkinson, Tim Haney, and Danielle Lachall.

The Anatosaurus Mothers are Katie Davis, Shiron Denise, and Amber Duncan. Elaina Fitzgerald plays a younger Anatosaurus.

The Iguanodons are Sean O' Neill and Mary Kate Vink, with Panoplasaurus being represented by Jillian Donahue and Lauren Poltrock. The Anklosaurus are Jaydin Knight and Rachel McCabe.

Not to be outdone, the smart Troodons are Holly Deluca, Mary Layne, and Alexsa McKeown. The Protoceratops and Baby Dinosaurs are Samuel Cooper, Miranda Fitzgerald, Sebastian Fitzgerald, and Bridget Henry.

The show includes audience participation as smaller volunteers will be asked to join the Baby Dinosaurs on stage and the meanest member of the audience will get to play the role of the roaring T-Rex. Songs include "Wonder", "Friend or Foe", and "How Far Can You See?"

"Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs Before Dark" is part of Music Theatre International's KIDS collection. Audiences can have fun while going back in time Saturday mornings at 11am and Sundays at Noon at The Media Theatre, 104 East State Street in Media (directly across from Media Elementary School). The musical plays March 8 through May 25. Call 610-891-0100 for information and tickets, or visit mediatheatre.org.

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