Take 11 talented NSU students and put them in the beloved “Peanuts” musical, “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown”, and you get a delightfully funny theater performance.
You have to feel sorry for poor Charlie Brown. Even in his own musical, he gets upstaged by others. It’s the loveable dog Snoopy who steals Charlie’s spotlight in this opening series of NSU performances.
The sassy, loveable Snoopy, played by Catalina Venegas, captures the audience with her witty, comedic presentation.
It’s seems almost fitting that Charlie Brown, played by NSU junior Michael Friedman, is overshadowed in the musical. Brown’s character, while pleasant, is a pretty gloomy guy. Just as in the comic strips, the depressed anti-hero is duped, ignored, or blatantly teased by the other children around him. The mischief gives “Charlie Brown”, usually a light show, its most serious moments, bringing sympathy and pity to the sulking Charlie. Friedman plays Charlie as an affable schmuck, though his singing occasionally veers off pitch.
The performance is set as a collection of musical numbers featuring familiar “Peanuts” characters. Jamie Kautzmann, as Sally, is a joy to listen to and watch. She brings new life to Charlie Brown’s annoying little sister with a mischievous approach.
Aggressive and bullying, Lucy Van Pelt is played by Emiliana Arteche, who brings out every characteristic of the comic strips’ villain. Arteche is every bit as obnoxious as the more-often-than-not crabby Lucy. Her romantic obsession with Schroeder, played by Eric Potter, plays out to the amusement of the audience in their unintended duet “Schroeder.”
Potter’s portrayal of the musically-inclined and no-nonsense Schroeder brings balance to the comedic performance of the other main characters.
“You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” gives every character a chance at center stage. Linus Van Pelt, played by Wallace Jean, and his blanket, enjoy a laughable dance routine with the song “My Blanket and Me”, which Jean sings perfectly.
Jean does a hilarious job offering Charlie Brown some not-so-insightful, nor helpful, advice, while dealing with the moods of his big sister Lucy.
The supporting cast is also a pivotal part of the plays narrative. Sasha Pimental plays Lucy’s best friend, Violet; Marianne Martinez plays Snoopy’s foil, Peppermint Patty; and Mariah Busk plays Sally’s friend, Marci. Toby Barton and Ricky Rafuls also star as the loveable bird Woodstock bird and dirty Pig Pen, respectively.
Directed and produced by Bill J. Adams, coordinator of performing arts, “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” is a wonderful family production and the perfect opening show for NSU Theatre.
This is a show that will take you back to your childhood. We may remember some of the heartaches, but the “Peanuts” gang gives us lots to laugh about, too.