Owen and Mazee



  • Book and Music by Michelle Elliott
  • Music and Lyrics by Danny Larsen
  • Directed and Choreographed byStanley W. Mathis
  • Based on the book by Isabella Hatkoff, Craig Hatkoff
  • and Dr. Paula Kahumbu
  • With Photography by Peter Greste


The amazing true story of the orphaned baby hippo and 130-year-old giant turtle whose remarkable friendship touched millions around the world.

The inspiring true story of two great friends, a baby hippo named Owen and a 130-yr-old giant tortoise named Mzee. When Owen was stranded after a tsunami, villagers in Kenya worked tirelessly to rescue him. Then, to everyone's amazement, the orphan hippo and the elderly tortoise adopted each other. Now they are inseparable, swimming, eating, and playing together. Adorable photos e-mailed from friend to friend quickly made them worldwide celebrities. Here is a joyous reminder that in times of trouble, friendship is stronger than the differences that too often pull us apart. Coming in 2018



Michelle Elliott (Book and Lyrics) and long-time collaborator, Danny Larsen, have written six original musicals, including The Yellow Wood (which received a Richard Rodgers Award and the Daryl Roth Award), Cloaked (which received the Jonathan Larson Award and for which Michelle was awarded the prestigious Kleban Prize for Most Promising Librettist) and their newest work, Hart Island, about New York City’s notorious paupers’ field. In 2014, Michelle and Danny’s musical for young people, Zombie in Love, premiere at the Oregon Children’s Theatre, where it received multiple Drammy Awards, including Best Original Score and Best Original Script, as well as the Portland Area Musical Theatre Award for Outstanding Original Musical. With her collaborator, she wrote and produced an online musical for teens in response to the spate of suicides by gay youth called The Hinterlands. The show can be viewed at HinterlandsTheMusical.com and via Youtube. Michelle’s first play, Promising, was produced off-off-Broadway in late 2015. Michelle has an M.F.A. from NYU’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program, an M.A. in Directing from University of Wisconsin – Superior and a B.A. in Performance from University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire. Prior to moving to New York City, Michelle co-founded an independent theater company in Minneapolis, Minnesota called Frontier Theatre, where she wrote, directed and produced original musicals. Michelle is a proud member of ASCAP.

Danny Larsen (Music and Lyrics) graduated from New York University’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program where he met his collaborator, Michelle Elliott. Their first musical, The Yellow Wood, was awarded the 2006 Richard Rodgers Development Award and the Daryl Roth Award. In 2007, The Yellow Wood was presented in the New York Musical Theatre Festival, where Danny won the award for Best Music. Cloaked, their second show, received workshop productions at CAP 21 (2010) and The Village Theatre in Issaquah, WA (2011), as well as a 2011 Jonathan Larson Grant and a coveted Kleban Prize. In 2013, Danny and Michelle wrote, filmed and produced a seven-part musical for teens entitled The Hinterlands in a response to the spate of suicides by gay youth. The musical web series was nominated in several categories, including Best Dramatic Series, at the IAWTV Awards. The show can be viewed at HinterlandsTheMusical.com and via YouTube. Their musical, Catch the Wind, a passionate exploration of the lives of women aboard a notorious pirate ship, was presented at the Buck Hill Skytop Music Festival in August, 2016. Their newest show, Hart Island, is about New York City’s public burial ground and was shortlisted for the Kevin Spacey Foundation Artists of Choice award. Danny also holds Bachelors of Arts degrees in Music and Theatre Education from Brigham Young University. He won the ACTF Kennedy Center Composition award for his music and lyrics for Soft Shoe. Besides composing, Danny works as a professional music copyist, arranger and orchestrator and has orchestrated several musicals, including Wind in the Willows and The Ballad of Little Jo. Danny is a proud member of ASCAP.

Craig Hatkoff and daughters Juliana and Isabella (Authors of the Story Book) have co-authored the beloved 11-book Turtle Pond Collection, the award-winning series of nonfiction picture books chock full of teachable moments, awe, wonder and enchantment. The collection includes the #1 NY Times best-selling Owen & Mzee, Knut, Winter's Tail, Looking for Miza and now Cecil's Pride-- the incredible untold life story of the world's world's most important animal Cecil the Lion tragically killed in the summer of 2015.

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