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You're a Good Show, Charlie Brown

By Anastasiia Vorobeva and Lydia McGee
On April 27, 2017

The cast sings their closing heartfelt song.
Photo By Lydia McGee

Lights go off, quirky live orchestral music strikes up, and veritable incarnations of the familiar Peanuts cartoon characters are frozen on the stage. “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown: the Musical” premiered at Concord University’s H. C. Paul Theatre on April 12 and ran until April 15, attracting Concord students, staff, and Athens community members, as well as friends and relatives of the performers.

    “I was laughing pretty much the whole time. You could really tell how much work went into the show from the sets to the incredible actors and musicians. Definitely time well spent,” says Abby Rector, Concord student who attended opening night.

    Concord University student actors made up the iconic cast, with Blake Whitener as the depressed Charlie Brown; Maizy Landreth as the self-centered Lucy; Tyler Weaver as her little brother Linus; Brianna Duckworth as an impressive Snoopy; Kristen Osborne as Violet, among others. They sang raucous songs and performed brief but philosophic excerpts from the classic comics for the two hour show.

    “I absolutely loved Charlie Brown as a kid. My family would always watch the TV specials at just about every holiday,” says Blake Whitener, who landed the role of Charlie Brown. “I’ve always preferred musicals to plays due to the singing aspect. I went in knowing that it was going to be a lot of work to create the show the audience sees.” Whitener says that the show was a “sporadic one,” and that it took a while to figure out the sequence. “I love this cast, I love each and every audience, and I can happily say that we’ve worked our tails off and provided a great show that anyone can enjoy.”

    “Playing an iconic role like Snoopy has been a blast! Charlie Brown has been a staple character in American culture so I grew up always knowing who CB was,” says Brianna Duckworth, who portrayed the dramatic dog Snoopy. “Snoopy is a really interesting character to play and I’ve never done a character quite like him before. It made for a really fun challenge to try and live up to the expectations of those who loved the comics.”

    Maizy Landreth, who plays the hysterical Lucy, says “I didn’t really know what to expect walking into this. I wasn’t expecting the role I got. But it worked out in my favor! I always thought Charlie Brown was hilarious and Lucy was one of my favorite characters.” Landreth has been in theater for over 11 years, and has performed in musicals in the past. “This cast worked so hard for this show. It’s been an honor to work with them!”

    The show was a long and challenging project for all. “We chose this play because we wanted to do a musical. We wanted to do something fun and happy, and we wanted to get as many students involved as possible,” says director Karen Vuranch. Preparations began in November 2016. Casting and the first read through happened before the winter break, and after the commencement of the spring semester, the crew and the directors practiced three and later four times a week, splitting rehearsals between acting, choreography, and singing parts before combining. “Little by little, were worked more music in, more vocal in, more spoken word in. Sometimes we would pull out just a spoken word rehearsal but then we brought it all together,” says Vuranch.

    “This was a fairly simple one to do. We had nine actors and 10 in the band, five in a stage crew. We thought it was within our possibility of pulling it off.” The production’s scene changes were carried out by Karen Vuranch’s Theater 321 Stagecraft class, which had the chance to earn course credit while learning aspects of lighting and sound design, set construction, stage management, and prop and costume management.

    According to Vuranch, the biggest challenge came with combining the music with the acting, but the collaboration with Dr. Kelly Hudson and Dr. David Ball and the Theatre Department, the show ultimately ended up a delightful success.

    According to Vuranch, the biggest challenge came with combining the music with the acting, but the collaboration with Dr. Kelly Hudson and Dr. David Ball and the Theatre Department, the show ultimately ended up a delightful success. In total, the box office sold about 250 tickets.

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