“You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” opened on Saturday, Oct. 14 in Byrum Hall.
The musical stars the original characters from Charles Schulz’s “Peanuts” comic strip, from the familiar realism and wavering confidence of Charlie Brown to the bossy but well-meaning Lucy. The show delights children ages one to 100 with bright colors and a sense of child-like wonder.
Translating a comic strip and its characters to the stage may seem like a challenge, but the cast and crew created a colorful and vibrant world that is sure to sweep its audience right down memory lane. Most other productions of this musical only have six character actors, but this show has 13.
The audience gets to see Charlie, Snoopy, Lucy and others, but also Peppermint Patty, Pig Pen and even Woodstock.
“Charlie Brown is a commentary about what it’s like going through change,” said Isaac Derkach, sophomore commercial music and musical theater major. “But it’s also a refreshing take on what it’s like to be a kid again.”Derkach plays Charlie Brown. In preparing for his role, Derkach has reflected on what it means to be a kid, how children think and see the world and how they move their bodies.
“It’s a process of leading with my head as I walk, so it looks childish,” Derkach explained.
As a sophomore, he finds himself facing many changes from freshman to sophomore year of college.
“You’re kind of trying to find yourself, and that’s what Charlie Brown is constantly doing throughout the show,” Derkach said. “It’s nice getting to play a character that is where I am right now as a college student.”
Sophomore musical theater major Sam Lynch plays the role of Snoopy. As a part of his role as Snoopy, he has funny one-liners and a couple of songs. Of course Snoopy is a dog.
“He barks a lot,” Lynch said. “Just so you know, that is not canned sound, that’s all me.”
Lynch explained that the show is a lot of fun. “Always, always look forward to being a kid again.”
Despite the sadness that Charlie Brown is known for, the musical is very kid-friendly. “The fast pace and high energy keeps it fun for everyone,” said Kasey Titkemeyer, a senior psychology and musical theater major.
Titkemeyer plays Lucy. “She is very bossy and thinks she knows everything,” Titkemeyer explained. “While she may be blunt, her heart is always in the right place.”
“You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” was written by Clark Gesner and has been updated with additional dialogue by Michael Mayer and music by Andrew Lippa. David Coolidge, assistant professor of musical theater, and Fritz Robertson, professor of music, are directing this production.
The show runs this weekend in Byrum Hall. Tickets are available through the box office or before the show begins. AU students can receive two free tickets, and adult tickets are $12. Reduced prices for military and seniors are $10 and $5 for children or students from other schools.
The musical will have shows on Friday, Oct. 20 and Saturday, Oct. 21 at 7:30 p.m.