The musical Magic Tree House is not on tour at the moment. Due to the long completion times of many differential staining methods, we will not be performing all of the differential staining methods described above. We will use pre-stained slides in order to visualize bacterial capsules, metachromatic granules, and acid-fast bacilli. The table below lists the three bacteria you will need. Subscribe to the Magic Tree House: On Stage Newsletter to learn about upcoming LIVE Magic Tree House shows. Our Facebook pages can be found at: Visit http://www.facebook.com/MagicTreeHouseOnStage


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March 2011 Update on the Musical / Passport toAdventure


Hello Magic Tree House Fans !

It with with both excitement and disappointment that we share this post…

As bifcarrington has been so diligent to communicate in this blog: over the last 12 months, the Magic Tree House: The Musical Team has been working extremely hard to bring The Musical to you. Despite overwhelming enthusiasm and support from individual fans all over the U.S. and Canada, and strong interest by many theaters, the current economic climate has made it impossible for many of our planned touring theatres to commit to hosting our show. Therefore, the launch of the full-scale musical tour planned for the Fall of this year has been postponed. But please take heart because…Jack and Annie have HIT THE ROAD !!!



“Passport to Adventure! A Magic Tree House Live Reading Tour” is CURRENTLY bringing Jack and Annie LIVE and IN-PERSON to meet their fans in bookstores, libraries, and schools all across the country! This presentation features two songs adapted from The Musical, cool give-aways, and a chance for fans to have their books personally stamped by Jack and Annie !!



A special Facebook site has been set up to bring you updates (and a current schedule) on ALL Magic Tree House Live/Stage Events including The Musical; Passport to Adventure; any and all public appearances by Mary Pope Osborne; and multiple other soon-to-be-announced projects – including opportunities for you to star in your own Magic Tree House theatrical adventures!

Finally, Mary Pope Osborne and the entire Magic Tree House team want to express our heartfelt thanks for your continuing interest, support, and encouragement.

We know many of you are disappointed that Magic Tree House: The Musical will not be going on tour this fall. But rest assured that we are working very hard behind the scenes to find a way to get the show on the road as soon as possible, and we will continue to use this Blog to let you know any new developments. And also know that we are working on many other projects to bring Jack and Annie to the stage.

If you’d prefer to have updates e-mailed to you, please subscribe to the Magic Tree House: On Stage Newsletter (previously named the Magic Tree House: The Musical Newsletter). You can do so by visiting the sign up page right here.

Thank you so much !!


Posted in MTH Live Events, News, Tour | 28 Comments »


Camelot Tribune: In the advent of the upcoming 2011 National Tour and its continuous commitment to Jack & Annie fans worldwide, The Camelot Tribune has created for you a new series called ‘Inside The Tree House’. To begin our series we are very happy to have with us today Bif Carrington, the actor who plays the role of King Arthur in Magic Tree House:The Musical. Welcome, Bif.

Bif: Thank you very much for having me. Are you here to discusses houses?

CT: Yes. But more specifically Tree Houses! We’re here to discuss the new musical sensation Magic Tree House:The Musical.

B: Oh, of course.

CT: But before we begin, tell us first how you got the name Bif?

B: Ha. It’s a bit early in the interview for that .

CT: Okay. Then how about how you got the name King Arthur?

B: Touche’. It was a few months before the Magic Tree House: The Musical Premiere and I was playing the role of Captain Von Trapp. During intermission I received a note in my dressing room from some people who wanted to meet me after the show. As an actor, the first thing I thought of was, it’s the IRS! After the show I changed and went to the lobby where I was introduced to Mary Pope Osborne, her husband Will and Joe Harmston. They had seen the show and wanted to tell me how much they enjoyed it and asked me if I would be interested in auditioning for an upcoming project they were working on. It wasn’t until later I learned that these people; were the creator, writer, and director of a new musical and I would be cast in the role of King Arthur.

CT: It’s was a good thing that those people were in the audience that night!

B: Absolutely! You really never know who will be out there watching you.

CT: When did you begin rehearsals and what were they like?

B: After the show was fully cast I think we began music rehearsals about three weeks later. It was pretty intensive. Our director is very well-known in the UK and has a very distinct style. He’s worked with some terrific actors.

CT: Any names for us?

B: Let’s see. Sir Peter Ustinov, Dame Judi Dench, Peter Bowles, Kim Catrall, Hugh Grant, Colin Firth to name a few. You can find out more if you go to joeharmston.com

CT: Quite a list. It must have been a bit daunting to work with someone like that.

B: At first I had no idea. It wasn’t until after I was a week into rehearsals that I learned more. So, it was really then when I started thinking about it. However by the time rehearsals were in full swing it was easier to concentrate and focus on work. Joe is an intense director, but his passion is what shines through. He takes his work very seriously and lets you know it. As a former athlete, I found myself thriving under those conditions. His strength of passion really motivated me. I always wanted to find my best performance and then deliver it with that same passion. I had to be my best with him. I found that to let him down was to let myself down.

CT: So, it was Joe Harmston’s professional effect on you that influenced your decision to join the 2008/2009 Tour?

B; Not entirely. It took a few other special people as well. I knew that 10 months on the road was going to be a big commitment and I needed to feel comfortable with my decision.

CT: More names, please.

B: Well, my wife for starters. She’s my reason for getting into theatre in the first place. I also knew that if I committed to the Tour, there would be some major changes in our day-to-day lives. It was important to me that she felt comfortable and that I had her support. I wasn’t going without it! I also had to put my day job on hold, which was not an easy task.

CT: Day job? Let me guess: you’re a waiter at some swanky cafe.

B: No. The restaurants all told me that I had no experience. I’m actually a sales associate for Sotheby’s International Realty.

CT: Now that’s a new spin on the other job of the ‘starving artist’.

B: Yeah, well the current market is certainly keeping that saying true! Agents are indeed starving.

CT: Where did real estate come from?

B: In my past life I was heavily into finance, but I also enjoyed real estate. Once I built a client base and became more established, I found that I could pursue my two passions of acting and real estate, with each one supporting the other. Both careers are quite similar in ways.

CT: I can see that. Finance, real estate, acting, sounds like Glengarry Glen Ross would be a good show for you.

B: Ha! As long as I get to read for Roma or Moss.

CT: I was thinking more of the role of Blake. You know, “put that coffee down!”

B: . And I was just about to ask if I could have another espresso. A good role but it was created only for the movie and Alec Baldwin.

CT: Oh. So, now that you had your wife’s support, who else or what can you say helped to make your decision?

B: Well, I felt a strong bond with Will and Mary Pope Osborne from being together during the premiere. I was always grateful for the time they spent with me discussing ‘Arthur’s’ development and his relationship to the story. We would spend hours chatting about what would ‘Arthur’ do here? or what would he be feeling now? I loved it. I like to call Will ”The Actor Whisperer’. He has this very defined approach to the craft. All of it formed during his years as an actor himself on and off Broadway, and in film. He’s also a playwright and a blues guitarist. I mean the guy does everything! He has this way to get you to do things as an actor that you never thought about. You’ll be doing this great monologue and suddenly he’ll take you aside and suggest the slightest change to your motivation, or a mental adjustment, or a piece of clothing that could be annoying you, or even change the entire audience. Suddenly everything clicks and your monologue is electric. He’s ‘The Actor Whisperer’. It’s Zen!

CT: Who else helped seal your decision to join the cast? Any other members of the creative team?

B: Yes. Our composer Randy Courts, our choreographer Sheila Waters Fucci, and of course our music director, Dan Ringuette. These guys love what they do and it shows. I love working with them. They’re all the perfect balance.

CT: How about the cast? Did any of you know each other before the Tour?

B: Many of us knew one another from the Premiere or from working together in other productions. The theatre community is a pretty small one. It’s not uncommon to even recognize faces at auditions and yet have never performed together. Suddenly you not only have actor friends, you have audition friends too.

CT: Sounds like the cast became one big happy family. That must have been nice.

B: Um, well, yes and no.

CT: Uh oh! What do you mean?

B: I mean, yes we did eventually become a family of sorts but like families it wasn’t aways happy times. You know what I mean. No one could ride a bus for 7 or 8 hours at a clip, share dressing rooms, and then go perform for several more hours, and then get back on the bus again without some trials and tribulations.

CT: It was the best of times. It was the worst of times?

B: Lots of good times. Funny things that may have happened during a show that the audience would never pick up on. Visiting cities and towns and perhaps discovering one that you really liked and yet never thought you would. The audiences were terrific, but there was always one audience that you connected with more than the others, and that’s nice. We had lots of good travel conversations. Our transportation captain was a terrific guy. I had the front seat just behind him on the bus and we used to chat all the time. He had all of these amazing life experiences including seeing combat in Iraq. He was a businessman but also a philosopher of sorts. He had this way of giving advice that would not hit you until hours later. Yeah, there were a lot of good times.

CT: And the not so good times?

B: Putting me on the spot now, huh?

CT: Of course. You’re the actor.

B: There really wasn’t anything bad that I can recall. Oh, sure there was the usual tiff among cast and crew. Someone would forget a prop during the show. I remember I did something quite dumb and I’m sure it ticked off a few of my cast mates.

CT: Okay. now we’re talking. Do tell.

B: We had two versions of the show. A long version for public performances and a shortened version for school performances. We had a spot in the script where we could seamlessly go from long to short without disrupting continuity. Unfortunately, that spot fell within my monologue. Once we were doing the short version and I lost my concentration and didn’t make the change in my line. It launched the entire scene into the long version. Ordinarily it would not have been a big deal. Just keep going, right? Yeah, well I didn’t realize that the difference between the two versions wasn’t just my line change, but an adjusted choreography for the whole cast! It most certainly explained the all of a sudden scrambling onstage. It had to have been one of the most graceful and fluid bit of onstage chaos ever performed. They handled it well. I never even noticed my mistake until a cast member asked me as we ran down the crossover to make our next entrance, “You do know we are doing the short version today, right?” I snapped back, “of course!” and then I suddenly realized what I did. I felt so stupid. Got a little ribbing for that one for about a month. At our pre show cast meetings our stage manager would kindly remind me in front of the entire cast, “Bif, just so you know, we will be doing the long version of the show this evening!” I deserved it.

CT: We like that stuff. But that couldn’t be the only trying thing worth mentioning.

B: That was pretty trying for me. I’m sure others had some private trying moments. Perhaps missing home, or having a less than perfect performance, or getting a dressing down by a local crew member for doing something silly. We all occasionally had moments like that. Thinking back now, I do suppose the worst thing that I may have done was to verbally question the health of one of my cast members. It was a heat of the moment kind of thing. You know, under stress. I remember we were late getting to some venue and nothing was ready. The venue dimensions were incorrect and it turned out that we needed to make major adjustments to choreography and the set to safely use the space. Basically, we had to rehearse the entire show before curtain. Lots of adrenaline flowing among the cast. When we finished vocal warm ups, we had an emergency cast meeting to announce that Queen Guinevere had just taken ill and could not go on and was en route to the hospital. I mean she was just there doing sound check and now she was going to the hospital. It was just one more thing to add to the mess. We did have a stomach bug going around the cast and there were times when we needed to make understudy adjustments. Unfortunately the designated understudy never really had adequate time to rehearse which meant that I would be working with someone not quite familiar with the physical mechanics of the role and I was concerned about safety. I mean, there were times in the show that involved some potentially dangerous movements, like Guinevere having to climb and dance upon a ‘breakaway’ table on wheels, in a full length gown, in heels, on a raked stage! Onstage I always look out for my fellow actors, however under the circumstances it was going to be difficult and still be able to turn out a good personal performance. I realize it was major selfishness on my part and when our dance captain questioned my demeanor, I blurted out how I thought our now ill Guinevere should just drink more water to stay hydrated or something equally as dumb. Anyway, the show went on, and the understudy did an amazing job, and everything returned to normal, except for the fact that my out of line comment got back to Guinevere, who had fully recovered, and was no longer speaking to me.

CT: Yikes!

B: Yeah. Exactly. I was pretty upset with myself and certainly hoped that it didn’t harm our friendship or the natural chemistry that our roles required. We had played principal roles together before and had even occasionally been purposely paired by request. I think it’s our individual sarcastic personalities that enable us to pull together excellent onstage chemistry. To think that I could have ruined that with a dumb comment like that killed me. What’s worse is that I potentially could have broken that sacred element of trust that actors build upon. The trust in yourself, in each other, the trust you will be covered if you drop your line, or that your lifting partner won’t drop you, the trust that no one will let you fall off the stage or the table. A cast must work like a well-oiled machine. The oil is trust.

CT: Well said. What happened?

B: It took months,but with the help of my roommate, we finally worked it out.

CT: How was your roommate? Did you guys get along?

B: Definitely. We were perfect for each other. Things just clicked. We had similar personalities and sometimes similar tempers. And again our onstage chemistry was very good. He played the role of Arthur’s son, Galahad, and we always joked about our onstage relationship by calling each other dad or son when we were in public. We would be in a restaurant and he would ask the waitress to bring his ‘Dad’ another fork or a glass of water. It was funny. We had another nick name for each other, but not for all ears.

CT: Tell us your most fond moment during the Tour.

B: I’d have to say the outreach programs that we did. When we were not performing, we visited quite a few schools that may have been reading from the Magic Tree House book series, or studying Arthurian Lore and Camelot, stuff like that. We also did small theatre workshops. It was so great to get to meet the fans on a personal level and be able to directly answer their questions. In fact the outreach we did was so well received that the 2011 Tour will have a formal education component with different modules for acting, storytelling, dancing, singing, puppetry. You name it!

CT: Tell us about the puppets.

B: Ah, the puppets. PUPPETS!! . They were interesting. They were the brilliant creation of Mary Brehmer who worked closely with the late Jim Henson. None of us had worked with puppets before so the learning curve was brutal. And these weren’t just sock puppets with eyes! They were mechanical and eerily life-like. The White Stag has a 40′ wing span and the large dragon that I use in the Cauldron scene is about 30′ high! They took a lot of getting used to. We spent hours rehearsing with them in front of mirrors. And had to actually go outside to work with the larger ones in front of a storefront window in order to get the needed height. It’s similar to mask work. The reflections give the puppeteer a clearer understanding of movement and motivation. They were a huge hit with the fans. Everyone loved them. They definitely grew on us. We even gave them names. I just hope they make my dragon a bit lighter. Are you listening Mary Brehmer?

CT: So what’s next for Bif Carrington?

B: Lots of work. Auditioning. Staying prepared. I like to stay at least one step ahead of the loop, if I can. And with the coming Tour there is plenty to keep me busy.

CT: Of course, don’t forget real estate. With all the buzz about the upcoming Tour you could sell me a tree house.

B: Yes, I could. I know of a terrific one in Frog Creek, PA. but it’s not for sale. I need it to get back to Camelot!


Posted in Fun, Interviews | 3 Comments »


Magic Tree House LiveEvents


In addition to Magic Tree House: The Musical, there are other current and planned “live” productions based on The Magic Tree House…

Recently, the Berkshire Theatre Festival hosted “A Ghost Tale for Mr. Dickens“, a live play reading that delighted all in attendance.

Currently, two top jazz documentary producers are collaborating on a more compact musical based on A Ghost Tale for Christmas Time.

We’re also working with a leader in the theatrical licensing industry to bring Magic Tree House-based scripts and music to Schools and Children’s Theaters all over the world!

We’ll provide updates on all these Magic Tree House Live Events right here on the blog.


Posted in MTH Live Events | 5 Comments »


Work, work, and morework!


The recent news about the soon to be announced dates for the upcoming 2011 Tour has gotten us all quite excited. It will not be long before we pull into your city or town and get to see our terrific fans again. All of us at Magic Tree House:The Musical have worked very hard to get to this point and there is still so much to be done. Why does it take so long you ask? Preparing a show for tour is an extremely complex endeavor that requires acute attention to details. In addition to the many long hours of travel and meetings, there are producer/presenter responsibilities to tend to, venue contracts to finalize and sign, marketing and promotions, merchandising and distribution, Tour operations such as ground and air travel logistics, overnight accommodation bookings…and that is just some of the tasks from the business side of things. The creative side is just as busy. Once dates have been set and a timeline established, the production ‘clock’ starts to tick. During this period the producer focuses on all things that make up the show. Auditions for the actors need to be scheduled and monitored, call backs and casting completed, build the set, assemble the technical and production teams that include sound and lighting design, wardrobe, hair/wigs/makeup, props, choreography, vocal, and a company management team that will handle all daily tour responsibilities the way a general will look after an army. WHEW! So much effort by so many people really does go into the preparation for the Tour. To be able to bring Magic Tree House: The Musical to its devoted fans is why we as actors, producers, directors, managers, choreographers, theatrical designers/builders/ technicians/stage hands and drivers continue to labor hard in the career we have chosen. Thank you all for your patience while we prepare to put together the finishing details for Tour 2011! -“We can’t wait to see where we’ll go next!”


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Happy Thanksgiving !!


From the entire “Magic Tree House: The Musical” Team to EVERY Magic Tree House Fan: HAPPY THANKSGIVING !!!


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“PUPPETS!”


It was an uncomfortably humid day in the City, and I completed my morning appointments with an audition at a Midtown studio. The muggy air was oppressive and with nothing more scheduled for the day I decided to ‘beat the heat’ and take in a matinée. My mood was nostalgic and I opted to see Phantom of the Opera, a show I had not seen in a long while. I entered the dimly lit lobby, and was greeted by the familiar sights and smells that can only be experienced in a classic old theatre like The Majestic (1927). As you know from reading my previous post about performing in older venues while on Tour, I adore these kinds of dramatic ‘museums’ steeped in mystery of the past. As I entered the cool darkness of the auditorium to find my seat, I could not help but feel that I may have been entering the cavernous lair of the Phantom himself. 

Even though I had seen the show a few times before, I never failed to learn something new about the production. On this particular occasion my attention was immediately drawn to the mannequin’s used during the ‘Masquerade’ scene at the top of Act II. Although I marveled at their ornate costumes and how perfectly they helped to fill the space on the grand staircase, I was greatly impressed by the actors use of choreography to bring these statues to life. It was truly a magical moment that immediately reminded me of the intricately designed puppets that some of our artistically daring and dedicated cast members worked with in Magic Tree House: The Musical. Puppet work is sometimes dangerous and difficult to master. Many of our rehearsal hours went in to understanding how they worked and how each actor was going to bring his or her puppet to life. Some cast members even went as far as to assign their puppet (or puppets!) a name as well as a biography to guide them with what would motivate their puppet in a particular scene. The results were astounding. For instance, many audience members are still surprised to learn that in the beginning of the show, at the top of the Camelot scene, about half of the actors were indeed puppets. In fact, eight different puppets were used to fill the space of that scene and enhance the frenetic action. Eight additional puppets were also used during the haunting ‘Fairy Dance’ scene at the top of Act II. Again, through the use of choreography combined with storytelling through dance and the flawless movement skills of the dancers working them, these puppets came to life and added their own magic not to be forgotten. I will always be in awe of our skilful and dedicated cast members, who for the most part, actually had to wear their puppets while working with them. It was truly amazing to watch these professionals simultaneously bring two and even three characters to life before our eyes!

Be sure to visit the Official Website of Magic Tree House: The Musical at saycheesegcc.com.com to meet the designer and to learn more about the puppets used in the show. 


 Hello Fans!

While stuck in traffic the other day I found myself driving beside a large charter bus. As the traffic came to a halt I heard the familiar ‘bus sounds’ as it downshifted and braked with a slow hiss. The hot and humid weather and the sound of idling motors had me suddenly daydreaming about my time on the Magic Tree House: The Musical Tour Bus…

The Tour traveled in caravan-style with two large motor coaches and a 53 foot tractor-trailer. The bus interiors were configured with two front and rear salon areas, while th

…the bus beside me hissed its brakes again and the traffic started to move. 


 

*

As I had mentioned in my last post, the venues where Magic Tree House: The Musical performed were all so different. Each one had its own style, its own sound. All of them were unique. However there is nothing quite like the feeling of walking into an unfamiliar historic theatre for the first time. The silence is deafening and the atmosphere heavy with the ever lingering energy from performances of the past. 

When the cast tour bus arrived at the backstage door our routine began. Once greeted by a member of the crew, we were escorted inside and led through the mazes of travel cases, electrical cables, and set pieces. After we signed in at the call board and read any casting or technical updates for the evening’s show, our costume mistress would show us to our dressing rooms where we would find our assigned spaces to unpack. Next we would change into our first layer clothing called ‘blacks’ and have some downtime to relax for awhile before we were called onstage for sound check. It was this period of time that I enjoyed the most because we were now getting prepared to perform in an unfamiliar historic theatre, and there was time to explore it…