May 15, 2012…The loveable characters from Charles Schulz’s iconic comic strip Peanuts learn life’s lessons in the fun and upbeat musical You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. The production, which is directed and choreographed by Donna Feore, begins previews at the Avon Theatre on May 15.
With book, music and lyrics by Clark Gesner, with additional dialogue by Michael Mayer and additional music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa, the show depicts a typical day in the life of Charlie Brown and his friends. Through a series of vignettes and show-stopping song and dance numbers, this musical explores the characters’ inner lives, their relationships, and the various challenges and obstacles they face.
“Schulz’s characters deal with real human questions and issues in a way that has resonated with audiences for over sixty years,” says Ms Feore. “We all lack confidence and have doubts at times. We all need to be reminded of our better natures. This is Schulz’s genius. It is my hope that our production will introduce Peanuts to a new generation and remind an older one of a cherished friend.”
An innovative take on this classic, the production includes the additional songs that were written for the Broadway musical in 1998, and several dance styles that reflect everything from classic Charlie Brown moves, to the athletic style of Gene Kelly, to more modern movement, like hip hop and funk.
With elaborate orchestrations and stunning sets this production also features some of the most exciting young talent in the country, including Stephen Patterson as Snoopy, Erica Peck as Lucy and Ken James Stewart as Charlie Brown, with Andrew Broderick as Schroeder, Amy Wallis as Sally and Kevin Yee as Linus.
“Beneath its deceptively simple charm, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown is a work of tremendous sophistication, both musically and in terms of its writing,” says Artistic Director Des McAnuff. “As with Peter Pan and many other children’s classics, there is far more to Charlie Brown than meets the youthful eye, so adult audiences can expect a rich and multi-layered experience.”
“This is a musical with extraordinary heart,” says General Director Antoni Cimolino. “The dreams and aspirations of these characters that we all know and love, their foibles and their failings, speak to all generations. With its warm but perceptive humour and its energetic and entertaining song-and-dance numbers, Charlie Brown makes for a terrific afternoon or evening at the theatre for the entire family.”
The design of the production draws on the pop-art style of the 1950s and ’60s, when Peanuts was at the height of its popularity. The show will be bright and colourful with giant set pieces, making the adult actors look like pint-sized children.
The artistic team for You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown includes Musical Director Laura Burton, Set Designer Michael Gianfrancesco, Costume Designer Dana Osborne, Lighting Designer Kimberly Purtell, Video Designer Sean Nieuwenhuis, Sound Designer Peter McBoyle and Stunt Coordinator Daniel Levinson.
Support for the 2012 season of the Avon Theatre is generously provided by the Birmingham Family. You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown is presented by Schulich Children’s Plays.
This year, the Stratford Shakespeare Festival celebrates its 60th season, with 14 productions presented from April 12 to October 28: Much Ado About Nothing; 42nd Street; The Matchmaker; Henry V; You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown; The Pirates of Penzance; A Word or Two; Cymbeline; Wanderlust; Elektra; MacHomer; The Best Brothers; Hirsch; and The War of 1812.