TheaterworksUSA’s “Magic School Bus”
Part of the APPlause! K-12 Performing Arts Series
When the planetarium is closed and the field trip is ruined, Ms. Frizzle saves the day! The Magic School Bus blasts off into outer space to explore the solar system. Ms. Frizzle gets separated from the group and her class must travel through the planets and beyond to rescue her. Hop on the Magic School Bus for a ride in TheaterworksUSA’s new musical adaptation based on the original book series published by Scholastic.
The mission of TheaterworksUSA is to create, produce, and provide access to professional theatre for young and family audiences nationwide, including disadvantaged youth and under-served communities. Since its founding in 1961, the company has presented more than 90 million children and their families with opportunities to enjoy its theatrical productions in 49 states and Canada.
Each season, three million children, many of whom have no other access to the performing arts, attend TheaterworksUSA’s original productions in venues as varied as local elementary school gymnasiums, regional fine arts centers, and major Broadway-sized theatres. TheaterworksUSA tours approximately 16 shows each season from its repertoire of 133 plays and musicals. In addition, TheaterworksUSA has an extensive multi-cultural roster of guest artists, including storytellers, puppeteers, poets, and magicians. The overarching goals of its programs are to:
- Create literary- and historically-based shows that stimulate reading and discussion on the cultural, historical, and/or social issues and themes represented in each show.
- Foster and nurture the wealth of talent that exists in young writers.
- Encourage young people to tap into their own reservoirs of creativity and talent.
- Present role models and encourage positive values through the shows' content.
- Enhance the theatre experience which children share with their friends and classmates, teachers, and families.
- (separate bullet point): Develop a life-long appreciation for the arts.
- Build the audiences of the future.
TheaterworksUSA has a distinguished history of not only providing young audiences with their first taste of the performing arts, but also giving young actors, writers, directors, and designers an early opportunity to work in this field. A list of its alumni reads like a veritable "who's who" of theatre: four-time Tony-winning director Jerry Zaks, Robert Jess Roth (Beauty and the Beast), Michael Mayer (Spring Awakening), Gabriel Barre (The Wild Party); writers Marta Kauffman and David Crane (TV's "Friends"), Lynn Ahrens and Steven Flaherty (Ragtime, Once on This Island), Jason Robert Brown (Parade), Larry O'Keefe & Nell Benjamin (Legally Blonde), Two Time-Tony Award winner Robert Lopez (Book of Mormon, Avenue Q); Tony nominee Charles Busch (The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife) Kevin Del Aguila (Altar Boyz); and Tony-winning actors Roger Bart, Chuck Cooper, and John Glover. Esteemed performers F. Murray Abraham, Henry Winkler (Happy Days), Colman Domingo (The Scottsboro Boys), Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family) and Judy Kuhn (Les Miserables) and many other actors also got their start with Theaterworks.
Under the direction of Barbara Pasternack (Artistic Director) and Ken Arthur (Producing Director), TheaterworksUSA is also one of the most honored theatres of its kind. The company is the only children's theatre to receive both a Drama Desk and a Lucille Lortel Award. In addition, TheaterworksUSA was the recipient of a 2001 Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation Award, and in May 2000, The Actors Fund of American bestowed its Medal of Honor upon founders Jay Harnick and Charles Hull.
TheaterworksUSA’s goal is to continue doing what the company has successfully accomplished for more than fifty years: giving America's children their first thrilling day at the theatre!
Run time approximately 60 minutes
- Study guide: TheaterworksUSA’s “Magic School Bus” (PDF 1.55M)