JWR Articles: Live Event - You're a Good Man Charlie Brown (Director/Choreographer: Donna Feore) - May 31, 2012 id="543337086">

You're a Good Man Charlie Brown

A Play Report for Miss Troller's Class

4.5 4.5

Good grief, it’s a musical!

The first thing for my report is, gosh, with five new faces out of six in the cast, the big bosses at Stratford must be looking forward to watching these kids grow. I sure hope their parents don’t mind them being up so late.

The only one who’s been seen before (well it took a couple of numbers to be sure) is actually not a real dog (with no wet, black nose I figured out Snoopy was actually two-legged Stephen Patterson). His moon howls were another giveaway but when he slipped into his Snoop Dog alter ego (and playing a few rounds of get-the-kitty video game) the noisy old lady beside me said, “Oh my, he’s stealing the show.”

The kid pretending to be Charlie Brown sure looked familiar. When I searched JWR, I found out that Ken James Stewart was in lots of tinier parts at the Shaw Festival. It‘s really neat that he gets a big role playing an ageless eight-year-old with a hopeless crush on that red-haired girl. Maybe he’ll be Hamlet when he grows up!

His sister Sally (did you know she’s really Amy Wallis?) gets worse marks at school than me but sings way better (that’s why I am breaking the rules on the under-promise, over-deliver side—my dad taught me that expression—for this 100-word report). I was initially confused with how that Erica Peck wanted us to believe she was Lucy. Her wanting that piano guy to be her boyfriend did remind me of Mr. Schultz’s comic strip but her tone was far too nice to be the mean girl that always took away the football.

Kevin Yee really knows how to suck his thumb—believe me, I'm experienced. I could also tell from how he clutched his blanket (mine was called Fishy) that he had to be Linus—glad to hear that his speech impediment cleared up and boy did he ever turn on the charm and spill out his brotherly love. I wish my sisters had seen that!

But holy crow. That dude Andrew Broderick—he’s what my mom would call a triple treat (or something like that). He sure acted like his character, Schroeder, really played the piano and couldn’t stand Lucy and sometimes when he sang, I thought I was watching Much Music. But best of all was when he broke loose from that really nice director/choreographer lady’s ideas and shook his booty as if he was way older than he was supposed to be. [Note to Miss Troller: The audience seemed to agree with my conclusion, so isn’t that the kind of “evident” you asked us to include?]

Speaking of the songs, that guy Clark Gesner came up with some not-bad tunes and lyrics (saving the best for last with “Suppertime” that seemed to end in—hope I get this right—the holy molars church and “Happiness” when I started to feel all sort of warm inside) but the dead composers (even when, I think, they were slightly redone) like Beethoven (the “Moonshine” Sonata) , Khachaturian (Stable Dance) and Wagner (some sort of Brownhilde song) stuck in my ear way longer than the newer stuff. And nobody fooled me. Either “Adagio con brio” was a lame joke (no one got it) or a typo—Mr. Schulz sure would have know better.

And that lady in the cave in front of the stage seemed to have more fun than anybody, shaking her hands at the players above and below her and pounding the life out of her keyboard—but compared to last night in that biggest theatre, the dance routines seemed to be a lot more togetherer.

I’m going to tell all my friends about this “Good Man” show (I bet that’s a booboo ‘cause everyone can see he’s not much more than a Li’l Folk, but I learned already it’s not smart to criticize those who think they’re in charge) and see if they can believe that over two hours of fun can come from a bunch of comic-strip characters that are older than my grandpa.

The End. JWR

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Book, music and lyrics - Clark Gesner
Additional music and lyrics - Andrew Lippa
Additional dialogue - Michael Mayer
Director/Choreographer - Donna Feore
Musical Director - Laura Burton
Based on the comic strip by - Charles M. Schulz
Set Designer - Michael Gianfrancesco
Lighting Designer - Kimberly Purtell
Costume Designer - Dana Osborne
Sound Designer - Peter McBoyle
Video Designer - Sean Nieuwenhuis
Further information, future screening/performance/exhibition dates,
purchase information, production sponsors:
Stratford Festival
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