Chapel Street Players continues their 83rd season with You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown, a lighthearted romp based on the book by John Gordon and featuring the lovable Peanuts created by cartoonist Charles M. Shultz. After the powerfully provocative 1984, a fun musical with beloved characters is just what the doctor ordered, and the doctor is in–way in!
Lucy that is, and she’s joined by Linus, Schroeder, Sally, Snoopy, and, of course, good ol’ Charlie Brown. The Peanuts gang wryly ponders life and its quirks in this musical offering directed by Jeff Robleto. Like a live action Sunday comic strip, Charlie Brown and his friends make observations about life and share their childhood obsessions, often in funny, well-staged short sequences punctuated with song and dance numbers choreographed by Dona Marie Pizzo.
Sitting in the theater, staring at Robleto’s brightly colored sets that looked like Shultz, himself, had drawn and painted them and seeing the Peanuts gang in action was like catching up with childhood friends that I hadn’t seen in decades (okay, that’s not quite true–I watch the holiday specials every year, but still). The old gang hasn’t changed a bit and they have the same doubts, insecurities, and fears as they always have, but then, don’t we all?
Act I plays out in a series of little scenes beginning with Charlie Brown waking to a “perfect day’ as his friends serenade him with a rousing (albeit slightly qualified) tribute with the title song, “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown” as he misses the bus Later, Charlie Brown eats lunch alone while staring at his secret crush, the little red-haired girl. We see Lucy try to win Schroeder’s heart (to his dismay) and learn that Linus is amazingly philosophical for a five-year-old…and very devoted to his blanket. Act II roars in like a Fokker triplane with Snoopy (AKA the intrepid World War I Flying Ace) flying atop his doghouse in search of the Red Baron. One highlight of the second act comes when Snoopy, inspired by his rapturous dinner, sings and dances about it in “Suppertime.”
Jason Tokarski is charming as Charlie Brown, playing the hapless, hopeless, but still loveable blockhead with heart and making the audience feel empathy for him as he struggles to get a kite in the air, suffers through a valentine-less Valentine’s Day, and pines for the little red-haired girl of his dreams. Rebecca Gallatin is wonderful as the crabby, fussbudget, Lucy and William Bryant is adorable as Lucy’s little brother, Linus. Gabrielle Rambo and Katie Brady are precocious as Schroeder and Sally, respectively. Caitlin Custer rounds out the cast as Charlie Brown’s hilarious dog, Snoopy and manages to steal many of the scenes. Musical Director, Bill Fellner’s nimble fingers make Clark Gesner’s musical score come to life.
You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown runs through December 16. Call the box office at (302) 368-2248 or visit http://www.chapelstreetplayers.org to reserve your tickets today.