Step back into the comedic fun of your childhood with iconic character Charlie Brown at TJC’s theater, starting Feb. 25.
What began as a comic strip by Charles M. Schulz has developed into a full stage production You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.
“I like releasing my inner kid again” said first-time TJC performer Kelsey Kilgore, who plays the role of Lucy. Though the play that has been updated and rearranged among the years (first appearing on Broadway in 1967), Kilgore continued “I think it holds true to the Peanuts characters.”
Specifically for the production, the Theatre, Music, and Dance departments all collaborated their expertise in order to create a memorable performance.
“It’s been a fun show,” said sophomore Ryan Ordmandy, playing the role of Charlie Brown. “It being fun has out-measured the difficulty … the music composition for it is really great, the characters are really rich. I think that everybody who sees the show can relate to a character themselves.”
Even though the characters have an original appeal to young audiences, people will have the opportunity to recall old memories of the comics and to see how their messages still have an effect on lives today.
“That’s what I think will be one of the most exciting things to see at the show, like watching Linus with his blanket and thinking ‘oh my gosh Starbucks is my blanket,’” Ordmandy said.
There are six total characters in the two act play, and each moment is filled to the brim with dialogue, action, song and dance.
“It helps that it’s a cartoon character, because I don’t have to go up against like Hugh Jackman playing Charlie Brown,” Ordmandy said. “It helps that each person who plays it can have their own take on it, keeping in with the characterization of the original comic strips and the cartoons.”
“It’s really about a collaboration of a group of artists together, to put on a performance,” said theatre professor and director Dr. David Crawford. “It gives us the opportunity to do this without having experts in music and dancing. It takes a little bit more work, rehearsals sometimes take a little long because each director has to take care of their area.”
Andrea Trent, a TJC music and voice professor, directs the music. Carolyn Hanna, TJC dance professor directs the choreography.
“It’s more fun, because you have more people to share the fun with, not just one person having to do it all,” Crawford said.
The addition of an orchestra, since the first Broadway production, has “jazzed up” the production, Crawford mentioned. More songs and a new feel have developed throughout the years. Although the play itself has many challenges to handle, from singing to dancing to acting all at the same time, learning from the source could be seen as a relief.
“All they had to do was read the comic strips, and I sent them home after they were cast,” Crawford said. “And I said ‘Okay, you go study the comic strips and that’s who you are,’ and you’re a caricature. You must be Snoopy. You can’t be some weird, far-out Snoopy. You’ve got to be Snoopy.”
The timeless characters continue to entertain people of all ages.
“Over the 50 years that Peanuts have been with us, kids still ask us ‘Why is this still here?'” Crawford said. “Why are we still doing this? Why do still care? Why do we still love Linus and Lucy and Peanuts? It’s a study of true universality. The biggest thing we’re looking for is to entertain and have fun and enjoy Charles Schulz. It’s just pure fun.”
The classic retelling of Charlie Brown will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 25-28 in Wise Auditorium. The Box office is now open, and can be reached at 903-510-2212 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.