Sterling Playmakers’ You’re a Good Man, Charlie BrownBy Laura & Mike Clark • Feb 21st, 2007 • Category: Reviews
Listen to our review of Sterling Playmakers’ production of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown [MP3 5:55 1.7MB].
Mike: You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown is based on the comic strip Peanuts by Charles M. Schultz. The book, music, and lyrics are by Mark Gesner. Also in this production, additional dialogue was by Michael Mayer with additional music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa. This is an average day in the life of Charlie Brown. You have all the traditional characters. You had Snoopy, Lucy Van Pelt, Linus, Schroeder, Sally, Charlie Brown’s sister, and a bunch of other people from the world of Charlie Brown come out and share what happens in an average day.
Laura: This was a cute show, very kid friendly. Everybody up there looked like they were having a good time. The singing was well done. Sometimes the acting was over the top, but I think that’s how six year olds act. I had a good afternoon on Sunday.
Mike: This was an adult cast playing the six year olds. They did a pretty good job. It was easy to suspend that disbelief, they did seem very kiddish. There were a lot of people, about 12 different characters marching around the stage. Charlie Brown held it all together by being the lovable loser, never quite able to get what he wants or understand what’s happening to him.
Laura: The role of Chrlie Brown was played by Glen Bartram. He did a very good job. He has a really nice voice, very powerful. There was a full orchestra and he was able to be heard over them which I thought was very good. He had a lot of emotion. He looked so depressed. There were times when I wanted to run up on stage and give him a hug.
Mike: The other main character of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown or any of the Peanuts strips would have to be Snoopy. Snoopy was played by Karen Schlumpf. She did a pretty good job as Snoopy. Unfortunately I couldn’t hear her most of the time she was on top of her dog house. The microphones were placed just too far away from her and it really made it difficult to hear her. I did like how she interacted with Woodstock. Woodstock was played by Andrea Linares. Woodstock definitely interacted like a good old pal like Woodstock is to Snoopy. I liked that a lot. That was the one character of the extra characters of the show that actually added to the show. The other characters were just kind of added to be added.
Laura: The set was a simple set. You had the dog house painted red for Snoopy. You had six blocks that were about 20 inches square that were moved around to form a bench or a wall or that kind of thing. The other props were brought on and off. The jump rope that Sally used. The lemonade stand that was also the psychiatrist office for Charlie Brown and Lucy’s number. Then of course Schroeder’s piano. They had a moving crew that was there to move around those blocks and arrange things. Two people to come in that were specifically to move the piano. That was a really funny bit about that. They complained about moving the piano on, moving the piano off. Moving the piano on. Moving the piano off. I thought that was really funny.
Mike: I didn’t actually like that too much because I felt like Schroeder wouldn’t be ordering people around. Really in Peanuts the only person who orders people around is Lucy. So Schroeder being kind of whiny or snappy to the crew like that didn’t fit into his character.
Laura: It didn’t bother me because Schroeder is the uptight musician. He is very attached to his piano and wants to have constant control and know where it is. When he comes out to play and there’s no piano of course he’s going to get a little uptight about it. It didn’t really bother me.
Mike: This show gives every performer lots of little bits to do that are very short. They come on, say their bit and then leave. It also gives each of the main performers at least one song that is theirs to shine and to star. They all did well with it. I liked Charlie Brown’s The Kite. That’s my favrite song from the show. Glen Bartram mimed the kite string that he was using. He did pretty well with looking over the audience. I can really feel his frustration with trying to get that stupid kite up in the air.
Linus who was played by Brian Michael Garrison did a good job with My Blanket and Me. It’s a hard part because you have to have a whole blanket as your dance partner. He snuggled up next to it and danced across the stage. That became a bigger number when the entire company came out with their own blankets and danced along with it in step with him. I liked how that was done.
Suppertime which was Snoopy’s ode to supper and how wonderful suppertime is was a wonderful soft shoe type number and then again the whole company came out and joined in with him. This allowed Charlie Brown to come out and get mad. “Why are you making a big production out of this? It’s only suppertime.” It really set up Snoopy’s dance and lines at the end of the song really well.
Laura: You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown is playing for one more weekend. Friday at 8 PM, Saturday at 2 PM and 8 PM and then Sunday at 2 PM at the Sterling Middle school in Sterling, Virginia. Definitely recommend you go see it. Very kid friendly. a lot of fun.
Mike: There were a lot of children in the audience. We saw the Sunday matinee. The show, with intermission is about two hours and fifteen minutes. A lot of the children did get restless near the end of the first act, probably about an hour into it. It just went a little bit long. The second act was only about 45 minutes. The overall show kept everybody’s attention. A lot of the humor did go over the heads of a lot of the children. There is some adult friendly material here as well.
Laura: And now, on with the show.
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Laura & Mike Clark started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.