Monday, December 15, 2014

You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown

Everyone one has secret dreams.  "I've always wanted to be called Flash."  Who would have this dream?  The unlikely character of Charlie Brown from Charles Schultz's Peanuts shared his secret dream with Lucy.  Of course she would keep his secret safe.
"You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" focuses on the frustrations that almost everyone has felt while growing-up.  Whether it is loneliness, tying your shoes, crushes on the little red-haired girl, Valentine's Day, or never winning a ball game, the issues although small to adults are reminscent of everyone's childhood.
Last Friday and Saturday nights at the Chanticleer Theater as part of the Cabaret series six talented individuals became Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, Lucy, Peppermint Patty and Sally in the Tony Award winning musical "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown."
The purpose of the programs in the Cabaret series are fund raisers for only one weekend. This particular show was different for this series.   Even with only two performances, this delightful family show introduced many new performers and audience members to Chanticleer.
Jack Erbs was wonderful as the socially-challenged Charlie Brown who has to eat lunch by himself and never being part of a winning ball team.  While perfectly wearing the yellow t-shirt, the audience even occassionally had a glimpse of his marvelous singing voice.  As the slightly overbearing Lucy, Elizabeth Huggins was marvelous ruling on the stage with her dreams of being the Queen.  Darin Hemmer was a great dancing Snoopy even with a little acrobatics and moonwalking.  Megan Lane was delightful as Sally, Charlie Brown's little sister.   Linus portrayed by Eric Cavanaugh warmed everyone's hearts as he sang and danced with his blanket showing the vulnerability and brilliance of his character.  Tessie  Flower excelled in the role of Peppermint Patty in her down-to-earth wisdom with a beautiful singing voice.
The minimal sets were completely appropriate considering that the entire cast was on stage all the time.   The lighting, music, sound and direction were outstanding in that the musical appeared seamless and smooth.
Naturally as in all shows there are favorite scenes.  "The Kite" was outstanding with Charlie Brown singing about his frustration a kite that doesn't always want to fly.  However the kite eating tree perfectly matched the song and the action on stage creating a humorous but honest viewpoint from Charlie Brown.
Another of my favorites is "The Book Report" where Lucy, Peppermint Patty, Charlie Brown and Linus are all to write a one-hundred word book report about Peter Rabbit.   Varying from Linus's verbose report, Peppermint Patty comparing the book to Robin Hood and basing her report completely on that book.   Lucy is focused on the one-hundred words and can finally approach the goal but only by listing the vegetables growing in the garden and over-using "very".   Charlie Brown just keeps worrying about not being rested so he continues to procrastinates.
I applaude Chanticleer for taking a chance on a different fund-raiser that was family oriented, humorous, relaxing and enjoyable for everyone.

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