Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs before Dark KIDS
A magical tree house transports Jack and Annie to the land of the dinosaurs in this adaptation of the best-selling book series.
Show Essentials
14
Roles
+ Ensemble
G
Rated
1
Act

Full Synopsis

It's story time in the forest, and all the young Saplings — along with Stump, a grumpy old tree stump — have gathered to hear Otto the oak tell his latest tale. Today, Otto's story begins in Frog Creek, Pennsylvania, where a brother and sister named Jack and Annie find a mysterious tree house and discover that it is filled with a magnificent collection of books ("How Far Can You See?") As Jack is looking at a picture in a book about dinosaurs, he idly wishes they could go there — and, magically, the wind begins to blow and the tree house begins to spin ("Taking the Tree House for a Spin"). Terrified, Jack and Annie cover their heads and cling to each other.

The spinning stops. Jack and Annie look out the tree house window to discover that they have arrived in a land that looks exactly like the picture Jack was looking at in the dinosaur book. Annie spots Henry, a Pteranodon. Before Jack can stop her, Annie scrambles down the tree house rope ladder to meet the strange creature. Jack warns her about the dangers of making friends too hastily ("Friend or Foe"). Terri, Larry and Gary, three Triceratopses, enter the clearing. As curious about the two strange human creatures as Jack and Annie are about them, the Triceratopses join in the song, with everyone finally agreeing that they can be friends.

As Jack is making notes about his experience, he spots a gold medallion with the letter "M" on the ground. Before he can consider the mystery of how the medallion came to be in dinosaur times, Annie calls out that she's found something wonderful — a nest full of dinosaur eggs! Annie takes a flower from the nest and suddenly, with a huge roar, Natty the Anatosaurus rushes in to protect her nest! Annie freezes as Natty is joined by two more Anatosauruses, Susan and Joan. While Jack tries to figure out what to do, the three Anatosaurus mothers commiserate about the challenges of dinosaur motherhood ("A Mother's Work Is Never Done"). During the song, Annie slowly crawls back to Jack and they watch from a safe distance... until Annie decides to make friends with Natty. To Jack's surprise, Natty is receptive to Annie's friendly approach, and Jack and Annie are amazed that they are having an adventure with real live dinosaurs ("When We Woke").

The eggs begin to hatch and, as the Baby Dinosaurs emerge, they marvel at the wonders of the world into which they are being born ("Wonder"). Annie and Jack go to find food for the babies and discover a watering hole — the only place where plant eaters and meat eaters gather together. They watch as a variety of dinosaurs gather at the watering hole ("March of the Dinosaurs").

The peaceful scene at the watering hole is interrupted by the terrifying arrival of a Tyrannosaurus Rex ("Roar"). The Triceratopses distract the T-Rex while Jack and Annie run back to the tree house, but when they get there, Jack realizes he has forgotten his backpack and has to go back to get it. Jack races back and retrieves his backpack, but before he can return to the tree house, the T-Rex spots him! Jack hides in some ferns and distracts the T-Rex by throwing a rock into another part of the clearing.

Jack is about to make a run for the tree house when Henry arrives with Annie on his back. Henry rescues Jack, and Jack and Annie are thrilled to find themselves flying on the back of a Pteranodon ("When We Woke – Reprise").

Henry delivers Jack and Annie to the tree house, and they share a sad goodbye. Jack tells Annie the reason he had to go back for his backpack: he's figured out that the tree house magic works by pointing to a picture in a book and wishing to go there — and he needed a picture of Frog Creek from his backpack to wish them home. He makes the wish, and they return to the woods where the story began. The Saplings, Stump, Jack and Annie are all excited to see where the tree house will travel next ("How Far Can You See? – Epilogue").

Casting

Casting

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

Character Breakdown

Jack
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
Annie

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.

Gender: female
Otto
Otto is the oldest oak tree in the forest, a mild-mannered grandfatherly or grandmotherly type and a natural storyteller. This role doesn't require the strongest actor in the group, but he (or she) should have a strong speaking voice and the confidence to take center stage when necessary.
Gender: any
Stump
Stump is a grumpy tree stump, who, in direct contrast to Otto, is impatient and ill-tempered. Look for an actor who has good comedic instincts and a strong speaking voice. If you are able to cast a small child who has a "big" voice, even better.
Gender: any
Saplings
The Saplings are young, spirited and curious Trees, eager to hear about the mysterious tree house that appears in their Woods. These roles have very little dialogue, so they might be better suited for younger children. If you have a small cast, they can double as Baby Dinosaurs.
Gender: any
Red Pines / Hemlocks

The Red Pines and Hemlocks should be strong singers to help carry the opening and closing song in the show, but because their dialogue is mostly overlapping or spoken in unison with the rest of the Trees, these roles don't need to be filled by the strongest actors.

Gender: any
Henry
Henry should be cast with an actor who has a strong stage presence. Although he has no "real" dialogue, his squeaks and giggles are just as important to the action as spoken words. This actor should be able to communicate through his facial expressions, should feel comfortable using his body to "fly" onstage and should enjoy making fun animal sounds.
Gender: male
Gary
Gary is the boldest, hippest and friendliest of the Triceratops. He is the first to step out of the ferns to get a better look at Annie and Jack. He is as impulsive, curious and guileless as Annie. Cast one of your stronger actors who has good comedic timing and who is skilled at memorizing lines and learning more complicated blocking.
Gender: male
Terri
Terri is the most domineering of the Triceratops, but her bossy comments toward Larry should serve as comic relief and not be perceived as bullying. Try casting contrasting physical types for Terri and Larry (a small Terri and a large Larry might have a nice humorous effect). Cast a strong actor with good comedic instincts who is skilled at memorizing lines and learning more complicated blocking.
Gender: female
Larry
Larry is the nerdiest of the Triceratops and is a little henpecked by Terri, but he isn't afraid to speak his mind. He and Terri should have a good rapport. Cast a strong actor with good comedic instincts and one who is skilled at memorizing lines and learning more complicated blocking.
Gender: male
Natty
Natty is the ultimate mother hen and takes great pride in protecting the baby Anatosaurus eggs. Cast a girl who is a little more mature then her peers and who will provide a nice contrast to the babies in stature, voice and demeanor. She should be a strong actor and singer. Natty, Joan and Susan should work well as a trio.
Gender: female
Susan
Susan is a sassy Anatosaurus Mom who is more intrigued by Jack and Annie's presence than afraid of them. Cast a girl who is a little more mature than her peers, and who will provide a nice contrast to the Babies in stature, voice and demeanor. She should be a strong actor and singer. Natty, Joan and Susan should work well as a trio.
Gender: female
Joan
Joan is the most stressed out of all the Anatosaurus Mothers. She should be a little more no-nonsense compared to Susan's sassiness. Cast a girl who is a little more mature than her peers, and who will provide a nice contrast to the Babies in stature, voice and demeanor. She is a strong actor and singer. Natty, Joan and Susan should work well as a trio.
Gender: female
Toto
Toto is Susan's pestering child. She (or he) is as sassy as her mother and a bit of an imp. This is not a large acting or singing role, but look for a smaller child who has a good stage presence.
Gender: any
Baby Dinosaurs
The baby dinosaurs are freshly hatched Anatosaurus dinosaurs who are filled with wonder upon encountering the world for the first time. These are singing roles only, so they are ideal parts for younger actors who are good singers but not as adept at memorizing lines.
Gender: any
Ankylosaurus
Ankylosaurus are four-ton dinosaurs with spikes on their backs. Look for actors with strong speaking voices who aren't afraid to directly address the audience and who can pronounce more difficult words.
Gender: any
Protoceratops
Prooceratops are the "runts" of the dinosaur litter, so look for smaller actors with good speaking voices who aren't afraid to directly address the audience.
Gender: any
Iguanodons
Iguanodons are the cool kids of the dinosaur lot. They have spikes for thumbs and are not afraid to brag about it. Look for actors with good speaking voices who aren't afraid to directly address the audience.
Gender: any
Panoplosaurus
Panoplosaurus are tank-like dinosaurs who take a lot of pride in all of their unique characteristics. Look for actors with strong speaking voices who aren't afraid to directly address the audience and who have the ability to pronounce more difficult words.
Gender: any
Troodon
Troodon dinosaurs are the "brains" of the dinosaur lot but are not braggarts. Look for actors with strong speaking voices who aren't afraid to directly address the audience.
Gender: any
T-Rex

T-Rex is a fierce, meat-eating dinosaur. Look for an actor who has a strong stage presence and is comfortable moving onstage and adept at learning more complicated blocking.

Gender: any
Full Song List
Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs Before Dark KIDS: Prologue
Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs Before Dark KIDS: How Far Can You See?
Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs Before Dark KIDS: Taking the Tree House for a Spin
Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs Before Dark KIDS: Friend or Foe (Part 1)
Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs Before Dark KIDS: Friend or Foe (Part 2)
Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs Before Dark KIDS: Friend or Foe (Playoff)
Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs Before Dark KIDS: Henry's Magic
Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs Before Dark KIDS: Natty's Tuba (Part One)
Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs Before Dark KIDS: Natty's Tuba (Part Two)
Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs Before Dark KIDS: A Mother's Work is Never Done
Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs Before Dark KIDS: A Mother's Work is Never Done (Playoff)
Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs Before Dark KIDS: When We Woke
Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs Before Dark KIDS: Wonder
Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs Before Dark KIDS: March of the Dinosaurs (Part One)
Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs Before Dark KIDS: March of the Dinosaurs (Part Two)
Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs Before Dark KIDS: Roar
Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs Before Dark KIDS: What?
Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs Before Dark KIDS: The Backpack
Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs Before Dark KIDS: Think, Jack, Think
Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs Before Dark KIDS: When We Woke (Reprise)
Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs Before Dark KIDS: Spinning Again
Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs Before Dark KIDS: How Far Can You See? (Epilogue)
Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs Before Dark KIDS: Bows

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.

Connect

Curriculum Connection

  • Friendship
  • Reading
  • Prehistoric Plant Life
  • Food Chain
  • Safety
  • Dinosaurs

Billing

Based on "Magic Tree House #1: Dinosaurs Before Dark" by Mary Pope Osborne.

Requirements

You must give the authors/creators billing credits, as specified in the Production Contract, in a conspicuous manner on the first page of credits in all programs and on houseboards, displays and in all other advertising announcements of any kind.
Percentages listed indicate required type size in relation to title size.

Author Billing – Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs before Dark KIDS

In accordance with the Dramatic Performing Rights License, all advertising, such as posters and program covers, must include the show logo as provided in the ShowKit® Director's Guide and all of the following author billing.
It is a violation of your contract if you crop or edit this logo in any way.
[name of school]
Production of
 

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Book By
Jenny Laird
Music and Lyrics by
Randy Courts
Additional Lyrics by
Will Osborne
Based on Magic Tree House #1: Dinosaurs Before Dark by
Mary Pope Osborne
The billing to you must be in the form specified above, including the words "Production of" below your billing, which shall be visually contiguous with the title, all so that the audience is informed that you are the producer. Your billing shall be no less than 50% of the size of the logo or artwork title, as measured by the proportion of the average size of their names to the largest letter in the logo or artwork title.
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.

Video Warning

If you purchase a separate license to allow non-commercial video recording of this production, you must print the following in your program. ANY VIDEO RECORDING MADE OF THIS PERFORMANCE IS AUTHORIZED FOR PERSONAL, AT-HOME, NON-COMMERCIAL USE ONLY. THE SALE OR DISTRIBUTION OF SUCH RECORDING IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED UNDER FEDERAL COPYRIGHT LAW. If you do not purchase the separate license for video recording, you must print the following in your program. The videotaping or other video or audio recording of this production is strictly prohibited

Included Materials

ItemQuantity Included

Production Resources

Resource
FAMILY MATTERS
FAMILY MATTERS (PACK OF 10)
HOW DOES THE SHOW GO ON-10/CS
HOW DOES THE SHOW GO ON?
LOGO PACK DIGITAL
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK ADULT LARGE
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK ADULT MEDIUM
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK ADULT SMALL
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK ADULT X-LARGE
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK ADULT XX-LARGE
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK CHILD LARGE
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK CHILD MEDIUM
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK CHILD SMALL
STREAMING & REMOTE LICENSE
STUDENT BOOK TENPACK
STUDENT REHEARSAL CD
VIDEO LICENSE