“You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown,” based on the well-know comic strip “Peanuts” was full of whimsical colors, charming characters and adorable humor. On April 11, the cast and crew performed one of their last showings of “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown.” Directed by Thomas R. Stretton, Jr, this musical that fondly commemorates the beloved “Peanuts,” was performed night after night in Cabrini College’s Grace Hall Theatre.
Stretton, in his opening comments in the playbill, attributes the success of this particular musical to the fact that it is so distinctly Americana and easy to connect to. Charlie Brown and his gang of friends are the kids next door. The musical is all about friendship, youthfulness and the everyday ups and downs of life.
Overall, I felt that the musical was successful, especially considering the space and conditions that cast and crew are asked to work with. The actors knew how to use the small stage space to their advantage, so that it felt as though the action was literally unfolding in the audience’s own life. Since the audience was so close to the actors, I felt that the actors were much more capable of feeding off of the audience’s reactions and energy. There was an amazing energy in the room that came with the small space and ease of connection to the plot.
Although there wasn’t much of a storyline to follow, the way that the scenes were ordered seemed a bit random. But I think that can be mainly attributed to the fact that the musical is based on comic strips, which are designed to be short and to the point. I appreciated the easy going humor that was found within the script. The audience was very receptive to the humor in the script and also in the musical numbers. Though I found the musical numbers to be fairly well polished, there were some obvious differences in some of the actors’ vocal abilities.
The main character, Charlie Brown, played by George Nave, was so incredibly optimistic about his less-than-wonderful life that it was hard not to be endeared to him. Through his role and this musical in general, I found that the message was about living the life that you are given, always thinking the best of everyone and everything, and taking life as it comes.