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OUTTA THE BOOKS Series Features Karl Queensborough, Carl Spencer and More

Outta The Books harnesses the power of music, the most universal of communicators, to tell simple, time-tested and meaningful tales.

OUTTA THE BOOKS Series Features Karl Queensborough, Carl Spencer and More

StorySongs, featuring an international team of musicians, producers and actors, launches a multi-platform entertainment series Outta The Books today.The first video chapter debuted on YouTube, and a cast recording featuring new and original songs from the StorySongs series are available around the English-speaking world today on a variety of music platforms, including Spotify.

Originally set for its theatrical debut at the 2020 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the StorySongs creative team pivoted once the pandemic hit, and it is now an entirely virtual multimedia experience for kids and families.

Outta The Books harnesses the power of music, the most universal of communicators, to tell simple, time-tested and meaningful tales, one StorySong at a time. Characters inspired by familiar fairy tales and fables come to life as they keep stories alive through song.

StorySongs and Outta the Books are the brain children of award-winning composer and producer Brian Banks. Banks assembled an accomplished cast of theatre actors, including star Karl Queensborough ("C Major," who comes from a line of Big Bad Wolves) and Carl Spencer (Prince Pollywig) from the current cast of the London production of "Hamilton" and others based in Britain, Canada and the United States.

Chapter 1 "A Wicked Competition" sets the scene and narrative arc. In The Land Of Once Upon A Time, we meet The Librarian of The Treasury Of Tales. Her job is to keep her crumbling library safe and alive. Alas, the world has nearly forgotten "Once Upon a Time," and so the Librarian decides the best way to keep stories alive is to host a talent search. Her call for new songs based on stories brings a motley crew of modern heroes together to perform their original songs based on classic tales Cinderella, The Ugly Duckling and The Tortoise and the Hare, among others.

Coming up on November 28th will be Chapter 2: "Melody Sings the Blues." The blue fairy Melody is the star of today's talent audition. Melody is a little unsure of herself; she has been bullied into thinking that she is "not blue enough" to hang out with the other fairies. But, she finds her voice and sings a fresh pop-style retelling of "Sleeping Beauty." It's a twist on the classic tale, with Aurora declaring, "I can wake up when I, please!"

The next seven upcoming chapters form the first season of Outta the Books, set for release in installments every two weeks or so, during November through February 2021.

Today also marks the international release of the Outta the Books cast recording. The featured first song, "If the Shoe Fits, Wear It" was penned by Banks. The StorySong tells the tale of Cinderella in a fun new way, performed by The Librarian (Annie Kirkman, an accomplished Yorkshire based musical theater actor and producer).

As Banks explains, the timing is right for entertainment that expands young imaginations while being rooted in time-tested narratives from around the globe."Fairy tales can be mirrors to help us all understand our present lives," he said. "I hope people will see that these wonderful stories are incredibly relevant in the current complex and divided world we find ourselves living in. This project is rooted in musical theatre and designed to entertain, but I have always believed in the power of art to educate and connect."

Banks, who has worked on acclaimed projects, as diverse as Michael Jackson's "Thriller" and Steven Spielberg's The Color Purple, established the production company StorySongs to adapt the show during lockdown from Los Angeles. The former children's theater production has evolved into a cooperative, creative lockdown production, with Banks in Los Angeles, director Neil Fisher in Liverpool, and writer Erica Ehm in Toronto, who were all involved in every shoot remotely via Zoom.

"This has been an extraordinary journey and a very different one from the one than I had anticipated," said Banks."The entire ethos of the show has been about moving very quickly, using minimal props and costumes, with actors doing their own make-up, lighting and camera work. Adapting to a much more organic, direct and personal style of shooting has been challenging, but there is a fresh, immediate quality to the result."

Filmed entirely on iPhones with upgraded microphones and simple lighting, scenes were performed against green screens with pre-records of all the songs. "Most of the cast and crew have still never met, and of course we hope to change that soon, because it has been crazy working with people every day who haven't even been able to have a coffee together," said Banks.

More Outta the Books adventures are planned for 2021 and beyond. In production now are more StorySongs episodes, a new podcast, and a picture book featuring all the characters (aka "the band") from the Land of Once Upon a Time. And, when live performances are safe again, the "Outta the Books" stage show will be touring around North America and the U.K.

Meet the creative team and cast at Stay tuned for new episodes and character interviews on the Outta the Books YouTube channel, along with a Q and A with Banks.

Watch chapter 1 below!

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