Magic Tree House: The Knight at Dawn KIDS
Based on the best-selling book series, Jack and Annie journey in their magical tree house to the middle ages and the time of chivalry.
Show Essentials
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Full Synopsis

As the curtain rises, a Jester takes the stage and tells the tale of a magic tree house full of books that will transport the reader to wonderful faraway settings ("Prologue, How Far Can You See?"). Next, we see Jack and Annie discover a book about knights and castles. In it, there is a bookmark with a strange inscription from the Black Knight, encouraging them to be brave and gallant if they wish to be knights ("You Must Pass My Test"). Inquisitive about the Black Knight and his quest, Annie wishes to visit the castle in the book. Before Jack can intercede, the tree house begins to spin, and the two are whisked away to the medieval castle ("A Spin Before Dawn").

At the entrance to the castle, three guards — Mustache, Squinty and Red — stand watch while a grand feast is being held inside to win the favor of the Black Knight. The rumor of the Black Knight's presence has attracted a crowd of commoners, all wanting to catch a glimpse of the elusive hero. The guards let only the nobility into the feast and toss the Commoners out ("Mustache, Squinty and Red"). Finally, the Black Knight arrives, and the guards, star struck, scramble to show him in. Just as the drawbridge is about to be pulled up, Annie and Jack slip through the castle gate.

Inside the Great Hall, the Jester and other minstrels are entertaining members of the Royal Court. The Duke requests a song about his favorite subject — himself. The Jester and Minstrels oblige, performing a song about the Duke and his brother, Harry ("The Apple Song"), whom the Duke imprisoned in the dungeon after Harry criticized the Duke's crop of apples.

Just as the Black Knight is about to enter, Jack and Annie are discovered by Yates, Rikki, Baxter and other kids whose parents work in the castle kitchens. Convinced that Jack and Annie are thieves, the kids run off to tell the Duke. Before they can return, Jack and Annie hide in a dark room. Annie clicks on her flashlight and discovers row upon row of shining Suits of Armor. With some help from the Suits of Armor, Jack and Annie imagine what it would be like to be a knight ("To Be a Knight"). Accidentally, Annie leans against a Suit of Armor, causing the whole line to topple like dominoes. Mustache, Squinty and Red appear and believe Jack and Annie are thieves or spies, and that they are lying about their connection to the Black Knight.

Keenan, the dungeon master, and the Keepers of the Dungeon welcome Jack and Annie to their new home ("Welcome to the Dungeon"). As they are shown around the premises, they are introduced to Harry, the Duke's brother, now a sad old man who won't speak to anyone, and many other Vagrants who the Duke has had imprisoned for questionable reasons. Keenan and the Keepers leave, and Jack and Annie implore Harry to reveal the location of a secret passageway that might lead them to freedom. The other Vagrants say it's no use — Harry has given up hope and will speak to no one. Annie and the others encourage him to look deep within to find a glimmer of hope ("A Light in the Dark"). Encouraged by the youngsters' moving message, Harry offers to draw a map that leads to the secret passages of the castle. Jack clicks on the flashlight so Harry can see better, and everyone gasps, "Is it a wand... like the wizards carry?" Realizing the power she has, Annie summons Keenan and the Keepers of the Dungeon. When they appear, she shines the flashlight on them and threatens to use her magic wand. With the guards stunned, the prisoners make their escape to the orchard while Jack and Annie run toward another secret exit that leads to the moat and back to the tree house. The steps they are climbing suddenly come to an end, and the two must jump into the moat and swim to safety ("The Legend Begins").

The Black Knight appears on the shore, helps Jack and Annie out of the moat and praises them for passing his test — they helped the innocent without sword or might, but with their brains and their hearts. He dubs them knights and thanks them for their service ("You Have Passed My Test – Reprise"). Jack and Annie climb back into the tree house and wish themselves back to Pennsylvania ("Spinning Into Dawn"). As the sun starts to come up, the two begin to imagine all the places they can go and the adventures they'll have in their magic tree house ("How Far Can You See? – Epilogue").



Cast Size: Medium (11 to 20 performers)
Cast Type: Children
Dance Requirements: Standard

Character Breakdown


Jack is a young boy. He is bookish, careful and thoughtful, but he is NOT a nerd! Jack has tremendous curiosity about the world around him and loves to take notes about his observations. Jack tends to be very cautious in new situations, and his adventures in the tree house help him develop his confidence. He has a good (and protective) relationship with his younger sister, Annie, though her more impetuous nature often gets on his nerves. This is a big role and requires a strong singer and actor.

Gender: male
Jack's younger sister and, in many ways, his opposite in terms of personality. She is a risk-taker who often follows her heart instead of her head. She sometimes teases Jack about his careful attitude toward life and often encourages him to be more adventurous. She loves animals of any kind and has a very loving heart. Like Jack, this role requires strong singing and acting.
Gender: female
The Jester
A professional entertainer/performer whose job it is to amuse the Duke and his guests, and he or she is the only person allowed to criticize or make fun of the Duke. The Jester opens the show and is responsible for much of the comedy in "The Apple Song," so consider casting someone who is exuberant, posesses good comedic instints, and relishes the spotlight.
Gender: any
The castle musicians and singers. Their chorus can be as small as a handful of performers or as large as your stage and theatre program can accommodate. The minstrels do not have many spoken lines, so it's better to cast stronger singers than actors, though you might consider casting at least one experienced student or natural leader so that the rest of the minstrels will have someone to follow.
Gender: any
Black Knight
A mysterious figure who sends Jack and Annie on their quest. In the Duke's kingdom, the Black Knight is something of a legend and a celebrity. The Black Knight has very little dialogue and only sings a few lines at the beginning and end of the play, but he must be an imposing and charismatic prescence, capable of acting without words.
Gender: male
One of the main Castle Sentries/Guards. Red is the ringleader, a bit of a braggart, and the most ambitious of the three guards. Although his name suggests he has red hair, you can just as easily put a pair of red boots or a red hat on the actor to suggest the origin of his nickname.
Gender: male
One of the main Castle Sentries/Guards. Mustache is a tough guy type and most of what he says and does is done in an effort to impress his boss, Red.
Gender: male
One of the main Castle Sentries/Guards. Squinty is more childlike than the others, and his guilelessness helps provide much of the comic relief in their scenes.
Gender: any
Sharon the Sheep Shearer, Chandler the Candle Maker, Bartley of the Barley Meadow, Cartwright the Cart Builder, and Tom the Tinker. The common members of the kingdom who try to talk their way into the castle feast so that they can catch a glimpse of the Black Knight. (Think: fans trying to get backstage to meet their favorite rock star). The names of the characters were based on traditional medieval surnames that identified a person's occupation. Feel free to assign additional names to match the number of performers in the cast. Although these children need not be the strongest actors/singers, they should sing well enogh to round out the choral parts throught the show and they should have a foo memory for lines so that their dialogue with the Castle Guards can feel natural, almost overlapping. If these actors are doubling as Suits of Armor or Keepers of the Dungeon, make sure to cast kids who can sing those parts.
Gender: any
A pompous bully who enjoys being the center of attention and weilding his power. This is a small acting role that requires a strong speaking voice, not necessarily a strong singing voice. This is a good confidence-building role for a shy kid looking to gain some experience without taking on too much responsibility.
Gender: male
Castle Kids

Rikki, Baxter, Yates and the Other Castle Kids are the children of the castle servants. They are spunky and adventurous and highly competetive with one another. Consider casting younger or smaller children so they don't appear physically threatening to Jack and Annie. The Castle Kids do not need to sing, so these are good roles for kids who are getting involved in theatre for the first time. Yates should be the strongest actor of the bunch as he is the one who stirs the pot and gets all of the other kids riled up.

Suits Of Armor
The Suits are housed in the armory and brought to life by the song "To Be A Knight." Although specific lines to sing are given, the lines can be divided amongst more children depending upon the size of your cast. The Suits don't have any spoken dialogue, so look for good singers and condider casting kids who are focused enough to remain physically still for a fair amount of time without breaking character. The Suits tuble like dominoes at the end of the song, so also look for kids who are comfortable enough in their bodies to fllow through on a fairly choreographed fall to the ground. The Suits are not gender-specific.
Gender: any
Keepers Of The Dungeon
The servants of Keenan and Elf who enjoy every moment of their lives in the dungeon. The song, "Welcome to the Dungeon (Part 1)" is written for a minimum of two Keepers, but you can cast as many many kids as your program and stage will accommodate. Feel free to assign names to all of the Keepers. If you need to find more speaking roles for your kids, you will find the Keepers' dialogue easily divvied up amongst more than two actors. These are fairly substantial speaking and singing roles, and much of the comic tone will rest on the Keepers' ability to have fun without stealing focus, so consider casting kids who can memorize lines and follow direction but who aren't the class clowns.
Gender: any
Keenan is the head honcho and takes great pride for all things concerning the Duke's dungeon. This role is not gender-specific, but requires a strong actor/singer and someone who is very comfortable onstage. The success of the dungeon scene largely hinges on Keenan's ability to sell the delightfully warped worldview of these particular dungeon masters, so consider casing one of your mature, yet playful actors.
Gender: any
Keenan's right hand man/woman and another big fan of dungeon life. There is no need to cast a small child for this role - it might even be fun to cast your tallest kid. Cast a performer who is innately interesting and is a strong actor and singer. This is a good role to feature someone who has talent but may not be ready for a larger role just yet. A strange hat or other costume piece might be good for delineating Elf from the other Keepers.
Gender: any
The Youngest Vagrant and the the Oldest Vagrant are prisoners of the dungeon being held for the "crime" of being orphaned. At least two vagrants are needed for the scene, but if you have more actors than you have roles, you can cast as many vagrants as necessary. These kids will have to act without words during the entire "Welcome to the Dungeon (Part 2)" song, so choos kids who can focus. The Vagrant lines can easily be shared with additional Vagrants. If you have to choose, cast the stronger actor as the Youngest Vagrant because he/she hast the largest singing part.
Gender: any
The Duke's brother and although he has been in the dungeon for forty-seven years, he has retained his quiet dignity and nobility. This role is gender-specific (a girl playing a boy might add comedy where the play needs to be serious), so consider casting on of your more mature boys who has a natural stage presence.
Gender: male
Full Song List
Magic Tree House: The Knight at Dawn KIDS: Prologue
Magic Tree House: The Knight at Dawn KIDS: How Far Can You See?
Magic Tree House: The Knight at Dawn KIDS: You Must Pass My Test
Magic Tree House: The Knight at Dawn KIDS: A Spin Before Dawn
Magic Tree House: The Knight at Dawn KIDS: Mustache, Squinty and Red
Magic Tree House: The Knight at Dawn KIDS: The Apple Song
Magic Tree House: The Knight at Dawn KIDS: To Be A Knight (Part 1)
Magic Tree House: The Knight at Dawn KIDS: To Be A Knight (Part 2)
Magic Tree House: The Knight at Dawn KIDS: Welcome to the Dungeon (Part 1)
Magic Tree House: The Knight at Dawn KIDS: Welcome to the Dungeon (Part 2)
Magic Tree House: The Knight at Dawn KIDS: A Light in the Dark
Magic Tree House: The Knight at Dawn KIDS: The Legend Begins
Magic Tree House: The Knight at Dawn KIDS: You Have Passed My Test (Reprise)
Magic Tree House: The Knight at Dawn KIDS: Spinning Into Dawn
Magic Tree House: The Knight at Dawn KIDS: How Far Can You See? (Epilogue)

Show History

Cultural Influence

  • The Magic Tree House series is a #1 New York Times bestseller.
  • More than 100 million copies of the books have been sold in North America alone!
  • You can find Magic Tree House books 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.


Curriculum Connection

  • Storytelling
  • Birthdays
  • Ecology
  • Medieval Times
  • Growing Up
  • Pursuing Your Dreams


Based on "Magic Tree House #2: The Knight at Dawn" by Mary Pope Osborne.


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Author Billing – Magic Tree House: The Knight at Dawn KIDS

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Book by
Jenny Laird
Music and Lyrics by
Randy Courts
Additional Lyrics by
Will Osborne
Based on "Magic Tree House #2: The Knight at Dawn" by
Mary Pope Osborne
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The size of credits to the authors shall be no less than 50% of the artwork or logo title as measured by the largest letter in the logo or artwork title.

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