You’re a good play, Charlie Brown

A much beloved children’s classic provided some sunshine on a rainy day when the “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” musical premiered at the Saville Theatre  April 13.

Despite the dreary weather a large audience turned out for the first night of the school musical and the performance went off without a hitch.

According to professor June Richards, who serves as director of the production, this was the first time the cast performed in front of an audience.

“I am delighted with our students. The majority of actors have never been in a production,” said Richards. “They bring vitality, charm and a terrific energy.”

Richards continually stressed the importance of highlighting an ensemble cast and the musical is an exact reflection of this idea.

The musical is comprised of 14 songs by Clark Gesner involving characters from the “Peanuts” cartoon by Charles M. Schulz. Many of them are ensembles.

There were no lead actors here, instead each cast member was allowed enough time on stage to highlight their talent. Everyone was equally important. The cast members worked well, weaving together like a great team should, a definite sign of good casting.

Most memorable were the team of Lucy and Linus, characters wonderfully brought to life by the duo of Kelly Dillon and Anthony Atoniszyn.

Dillon was energetic and lovable as Lucy with her high pitched voice and hilarious one-liners.

Atoniszyn worked well alongside her as her brother Linus, never on stage without his beloved blanket and his thumb in his mouth. He was equally lovable as he sang “My Blanket and Me” or while taking part in an ensemble song like “Little Known Facts.”

At the center of the story was Richard Claar, who played the musical’s main character, Charlie Brown.
Claar was very likable and endearing as the story’s protagonist. The audience immediately felt empathetic towards his Charlie who was just as insecure but endlessly hopeful as the comic he is based on.

Like Atoniszyn, Claar was great when paired with Dillon especially in the song “The Doctor is In” which has Lucy setting up a stand and selling her own advice to customers, notably Charlie.

All of the characters from the comic were present from Schroeder, Peppermint Patty, Woodstock and even Charlie’s beloved Little Redhead Girl.

With its colorful set, costumes and dialogue like “What’s wrong with making meal time a joyous occasion?” the musical is a great live show for children to see but also a wonderful way for adults to see the characters they loved growing up in a different way.

“The songs were fun and well-performed. I’ve never seen the musical before, so it was great to experience the ‘Peanuts’ I know and love in a new way,” said audience member Vanessa Umpingco.

The play has a running time of about an hour and a half.

“Charlie Brown’s” last performances will take place on the weekend of April 27 to 29. Friday and Saturday shows will be at 8 p.m. and a Sunday matinee will be at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $10, cash or check is accepted.

For more information call 619-388-3617 or contact the Saville Theatre box office at 619388-3676.

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You’re a good play, Charlie Brown