The actors of the Cottage Grove Theatre performed a charming yet quirky rendition of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown the night of Feb. 9.
To start the show, the well-known Charlie Brown tune played and the colorful set displayed: Snoopy’s red doghouse, Charlie and Sally Brown’s purple house and Lucy and Linus Van Pelt’s yellow house with additional cartoon-like props.
It was adult actors who portrayed the child characters from Charles M. Schulz’ comic strip. The director, Mark VanBeever,, had planned for the understudies to act in the Thursday performances, and most of them did just that. The Peanuts characters are children going about their daily lives, and I found the depiction quite comedic and ironic. For one thing, Julia Shepherd, a little old to be a thumb-sucking blankie carrier, played Linus. It was entertaining, especially when Linus ballroom danced with his blanket, and the other characters joined in with their own blankets. Everyone was genuinely having a great time on stage.
Blake Nelson embodied Charlie Brown’s desperate, but hopeful characteristics. As an audience member, I felt bad for Charlie Brown because not only did he feel like a failure, his friends thought it too. But that didn’t stop him from caring for and supporting them in all of their endeavors.
On Valentine’s Day, Charlie Brown was sad and depressed because everyone else received cards and he didn’t. He then expressed that he got about the same number of cards as a dog would. Snoopy (Maddie Paige) then strolled by with a sack full of cards and giggled as he passed Charlie Brown.
Sophia James put the drama in dramatic as she played the not-so-bright but quite comical Sally.
The characters celebrated Beethoven’s birthday because Schroeder (Stuart McClean) was obsessed with the famous piano player. He takes piano playing very seriously, even when Lucy tries to flirt and get his attention.
Hailey Eckhart took on the role of the ignorant Lucy who lacks self-awareness. Lucy’s psychiatric booth was a prime example. She just mocked Charlie Brown and gave hardly any advice all for a nickel. It was gratifying when she went through her self-discovery and realized how self-absorbed she was.
I thoroughly enjoyed that the ensemble played a part in different scenes and that some of the understudies starred in the show. The audience also was amused by the musical, even one of the audience members wore a shirt similar to Charlie Brown.
This musical brought up childhood nostalgia from watching The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show after school. VanBeever, the director and conductor, put on a charming show with music that complemented each scene. Cottage Theatre was the perfect place to host You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown with its endearing production.
You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown runs through Feb. 19 at Cottage Theatre in Cottage Grove. Tickets and more info at CottageTheatre.org.