The Berenstain Bears Tour In FAMILY MATTERS, THE MUSICAL, Tour Runs Thru 6/2011

This year, the beloved Berenstain Bears may be coming to a theatre near you. Presented by Matt Murphy Productions, The Berenstain Bears in Family Matters, the Musical is touring throughout the east coast this spring, including a performance on May 11th for New York City school students at The Town Hall in Manhattan's theatre district. Following a summer hiatus, the production will launch a full national tour after Labor Day, running through June, 2011.

Adapted from the classic children's books by Stan and Jan Berenstain, The Berenstain Bears in Family Matters, the Musical brings everyone's favorite bear family to musical life. As always, Bear Country is not without its complications: Papa Bear can't stop eating junk food, Brother Bear's grades are slipping, and Sister Bear still has a lot to learn about talking to strangers. Thankfully, we can always depend on Mama Bear and her loving patience to help set things right. This entertaining and touching new musical features an original score by Michael Borton and a book by Borton and Michael Slade.

The Berenstain Bears in Family Matters, the Musical is directed by Peter Flynn (Two Rooms, Junie B. Jones) and choreographed by Dev Janki (Zanna, Don't!). The cast features Deonna Bouye as Lizzie, Courtney Daniels as Mama, Matt Densky as Brother, Liz Froio as Sister, Rob Grippa as Freddy, and Joe Thomas as Papa. The production features musical direction by Christopher D. Littlefield, scenic design by Luke Hegel-Cantarella, costume design by Lora LaVon, and props design by Jessica Nelson. Jason Weixelman stage manages.

"I am honored to bring the beloved Berenstain Bears to life on stage," says producer Matt Murphy. "This heart-warming musical will give a new generation of young readers a chance to fall in love with these characters, just as I did when I was a child. Our talented creative team has done a marvelous job in adapting these stories and their important life lessons into an entertaining family musical. I am looking forward to seeing this production thrive in the educational touring market for many years to come."

The Berenstain Bears in Family Matters, the Musical is booked by TheatreworksUSA. For more information, please visit www.berenstainbearslive.com.

ABOUT THE CREATIVE TEAM

Peter Flynn (Director) is the Artistic Director of the Hangar Theatre in Ithaca, New York, where he most recently directed Tony nominee Emily Skinner in Dirty Blonde and Broadway veteran Wally Dunn in David Mamet's November. Broadway credits: Actors' Fund concerts of On the 20th Century, Chess, and Funny Girl. Off-Broadway credits: the 20th anniversary production of Lee Blessing's Two Rooms - Lion Theatre, Henry & Mudge, and Junie B. Jones (nominated for two Lucille Lortel Awards including Best Musical), and Rhapsody in Seth - Actors' Playhouse starring Seth Rudetsky. Regional credits: Barrio Grrrl! - Kennedy Center, Sleuth, and Man of La Mancha (Carbonell Award, Best Director) - Maltz-Jupiter Theatre, Gypsy - St. Louis MUNY, Children of Eden - Arvada Center in Denver, The Piano Lesson and The Crucible - Tampa Performing Arts Center, The Santaland Diaries - Pittsburgh City Theatre, A Child's Christmas in Wales - National Theatre of the Deaf. As a writer, commission: Huntington Theatre in Boston with writing partner, composer/lyricist Brooks Ashmanskas. Graduate: Northwestern University.

Devanand Janki (Choreographer) directed and choreographed the hit Off-Broadway show Zanna, Don't! (Winner of the Lortel, Callaway, & GLAAD Media Awards). Other New York credits include: Junie B. Jones (Lortel nominations), Cupid & Psyche, Henry & Mudge (Lortel nomination), and John Patrick Shanley's Romantic Poetry (MTC). Broadway concerts: Director for Hair with an all-star cast, featuring Jennifer Hudson (Grammy Nomination), Choreographer for Funny Girl featuring 16 Fanny Brices, including Whoopi Goldberg, Bebe Neuwirth, and Jane Krakowski; associate for Dreamgirls and Seth Rudetsky's Broadway 101 (The Actors' Fund). Lincoln Center: Amahl and the Night Visitors, Babes in Toyland, Anything Goes in Concert (assoc.). Dev served nine years as an Artistic Associate for Broadway Bares, which benefits Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. As a performer, Dev appeared on Broadway in Miss Saigon, Cats, The King & I, Side Show, and tours of A Chorus Line and West Side Story. www.devanandjanki.com

Michael Borton (Composer/Lyricist, Co-Book Writer). After two years of working on this production with the Berenstain family, Michael is thrilled to see that The Berenstain Bears in Family Matters, the Musical will be entertaining children all across the nation on its upcoming tour. Michael lives in the Philadelphia area and works as a composer, performer, music director, and private instructor. He has written music for American Family Theatre for Youth and the Walnut Street Theatre, including several of their outreach shows and annual A Christmas Carol. As a performer, some of the companies Michael has worked for include Central City Opera, Opera Delaware, Walnut Street Theatre, and the Arden Theatre. He has been a music director at the Walnut Street Theatre, La Salle University, and Theater Horizon.

Michael Slade (Co-Book Writer) wrote the book for ten family musicals produced by Theatreworks/USA, including Superfudge, Lyle, Lyle Crocodile, and The Three Pigs. He also contributed the book to Pokemon Live! which premiered at Radio City Music Hall before touring nationally and internationally. His first children's novel, The Horses of Central Park (Scholastic Hardcover/Apple Paperback) was awarded the 1992 ISAR Award for Children's Literature. And a Child Shall Lead. Bye, Bye Big Guy opened at the Lucille Lortel Theatre as part of the 2007 NYC International Fringe Festival. His new musical Wheatley's Folly (music by Joseph Thalken, lyrics by Mark Campbell) will premier at The Signature Theatre in Washington, DC spring, 2011 under the direction of Eric Schaeffer. NYC's Roundabout Theatre recently produced a reading of his play, Under a Red Moon, starring Kate Burton and Billy Crudup. A reading of his romantic comedy, Garden Politics starred Kathleen Turner, Holland Taylor, and Bob Dishy. Mr. Slade was nominated for an Emmy as a writer of One Life to Live and a Writers' Guild Award for Another World. He has also written for Passions and Days of our Lives.

Matt Murphy (Producer) is currently on the producing team of the new Broadway musical Memphis at the Shubert Theatre. He was a producer of the Tony-nominated Broadway production of Thurgood starring Laurence Fishburne, and Michael Jacobs' Impressionism starring Joan Allen and Jeremy Irons. Murphy made his New York producing debut with the hit musical Altar Boyz. Murphy is currently readying a second touring musical for young audiences called Virtually Me! which addresses issues facing today's texting, blogging, and Facebooking generation. Murphy recently acquired the stage rights to Michael Blake's 1986 best-selling novel Dances with Wolves. Murphy intends to adapt the property into a dramatic musical for the Broadway stage. www.mattmurphyproductions.com

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