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You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown

a Musical
CATEGORY : COMEDY CHILDREN MUSICAL
by Clark Gessner, Andrew Lippa

COMPANY : Button Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Jacqueline Casey Hudgens Center for the Arts [WEBSITE]
ID# 2716

SHOWING : March 06, 2008 - March 30, 2008

[REVIEW THIS PRODUCTION]

PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

The show is best described as an average day in the life of Charlie Brown. It is a day made up of little moments picked from all the days of Charlie Brown, from Valentine's Day to the baseball season, from wild optimism to utter despair, all mixed in with the lives of his friends (both human and non-human) and strung together on the string of a single day, from bright uncertain morning to hopeful starlit evening.



The story of the play itself is told through a series of vignettes that mimic the four-panel format used by the original cartoon strip, "Peanuts." This panel format is supplemented with longer passages that are vaguely reminiscent of Shakespearean soliloquies and by musical interludes.


CAST & CREW LIST
Director Mary Carolyn Conti
Musical Director Ginny Lockhart
Snoopy Nick Arapoglou
Charlie Brown Charlie Bradshaw
Lucy Van Pelt Maura Carey Gebhardt
Linus Van Pelt Matthew Carter
Sally Brown Kristie Krabe
Schroeder Nathan Phillips
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production
REVIEWS

[REVIEW THIS PRODUCTION]

Button makes me happy!
by g8grrl
Friday, March 28, 2008
5.0
By far CB is the best show I've seen ever in the burbs. What a cast! What a theatre! By far this is the best ensemble I've seen otp. The singing and acting is pitch-perfect. Much has been said by other reviewers, so let me add that everyone must go see this! It makes me so happy. And it'll make you so happy too! [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Great Theatre
by jbcathens
Sunday, March 23, 2008
4.5
It was such a privilege to see this production. All of the actors were engaging and a joy to watch. I had the fortune of seeing the show with five other friends and we all loved the energy. This makes the fifth or sixth time I have seen this show, and this is by far the best yet. Every actor played his character exceptionally. Every one of my friends had their favorite moments and it should be said there were many to choose from including “I think I’m losing my flavor.”, “Suppertime”, “My New Philosophy” and many others. Don't miss the opportunity to see this show. It plays for one more weekend, and you will be sorry that you missed it. It's clever, tuneful and well directed and acted. This makes the second show I have seen at Button Theatre. They offer some of the best theatre I have seen in Gwinnett County. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Happiness Is
by Dedalus
Saturday, March 15, 2008
4.5
(With Apologies to Charles Schulz and Clark Gesner)

HAPPINESS IS …

Going to a Musical with my Little Girl.

Seeing an old Favorite Done Right.

Being Pleased with additions and changes to that old Favorite.


HAPPINESS IS …

Any Time spent with the words of Charles Schulz

Any Time spent with Characters of Charles Schulz

Any Time spent with the Wisdom of Charles Schulz


HAPPINESS IS …

Seeing Kristie Krabe with Blonde Hair.

Seeing Kristie Krabe on stage at any time.

Seeing Kristie Krabe make me forget Kristin Chenoweth.


HAPPINESS IS …

Seeing talented people perform for the first time.

Seeing Maura Carey Gebhart make crabbiness HOT HOT HOT.

Seeing Nick Arapoglou channel a dog.


HAPPINESS IS …

Seeing a musical with live musicians.

Seeing a musical with no artificial amplification.

Seeing a musical in which the cast can actually sing and dance and act.


HAPPINESS IS …

My little girl begging me to play the music from a show we just saw.

Hearing my little girl rattle off the “Peter Rabbit” lyrics after hearing the song only once.

Any time I can spend with my little girl in a theatre.


FOR HAPPINESS IS ANY TIME AND ANY SHOW AT ALL THAT'S LOVED BY YOU!

-- Brad Rudy (BKRudy@aol.com)


Postscript: I apologize if the structure of this pseudoreview does not let me go into more detail. This ensemble is one of the most talented groups I’ve seen in days (I admittedly have seen a lot of talented ensembles this year), this is one of my all-time shows (in spite of some script issues -- whoever thought it was a good idea to have Shroeder obsessed with Robin Hood?),, and the production is a delight for kids (round-headed or otherwise) and their children. My quibbles are pointless, and will remain unsaid, because the positives of this production overwhelm them and makes them petty. Unlike some other writers, I had no issues with the acoustics (but then, I was in the front row). This show is a gift to us all.
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You are, in fact, a good man Charlie Brown
by Dagbath Yallington
Saturday, March 15, 2008
4.5
I had the distinct pleasure of experiencing the relatively new Button Theater when I took in the fantastic musical "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown." Now, you have to knock my socks off when it comes to CB because I've seen the show in various incarnations several times and practically know the soundtrack by heart.

To make "Charlie Brown" shine you have to assemble a versatile and talented ensemble or you are dead in the water. The folks at the Button did just that as all the pieces fit into place very well. While the show is named after the lovable mope, it's really Lucy and Snoopy who have the best material and it is essential that those characters shine and shine they did. Maura Gebhardt is tremendous as Lucy. She really captures the spirit of Lucy's crabbiness and has a phenomenal voice. Ms. Gebhart was the best Lucy I've seen in person, kudos.

I don't know what kind of schooling they got going on in Indiana, but they must be doing something right because recent IU grad Nick Arapoglou is stellar as the lovable pooch, Snoopy. He can make you laugh just with a facial expression and both of his big solo numbers are just so charming.

I'm not trying to say that the rest of the cast is days old lasagna here or anything, it's just that a big key to the success of this show is a good Lucy and a good Snoopy. The rest of this ensemble is scrumtrillescent as well. Kristie Krabbe is making quite a name for herself around town and she adds another strong performance to her resume as Charlie Brown's sister Sally. Ms. Krabbe is really funny and brings tons of life to the character. The biggest surprise for me was Nathan Phillips who plays the pianist Shroeder. I wasn't sure what to think of him because he seemed to just blend into the background because, let's be honest, Shroeder is the straight man in all of this and doesn't get a ton of time to shine. However, when Mr. Phillips got to his big number "Beethoven Day" I was blown away by the range and talent of his voice. This gentleman was just an outstanding performer and was spectacular in a role designed to take a back seat to the others.

And what can you say about Charlie Bradshaw and Matthew Carter who play buddies Charlie and Linus respectively? Bradshaw must have been Charlie Brown in a previous life because he captures Charlie's sentiments incredibly well and Carter is funny as the philosophical Linus. The banter between Bradshaw and Carter just adds depth to an incredibly colorful cast of lovable goofballs.

I had a few minor issues with sound. I think the folks at the Button have something to work with, but the acoustics weren't good in my opinion and I need good acoustics in the theatre because I have minor hearing issues and if it were me, I would have considered a larger band because part of what makes Charlie Brown such an engaging show is the richness of the characters, the colors, the sets and the music. Those are just minor complaints. I really enjoyed the show and emplore those of you out there to give the show, and this theatre a chance. We need as many places around the city for actors to ply their trade and express their creativity and the survival of these places relies on the support of people like you. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
I second that emotion! by Trixie
I saw the show last night and cannot say enough wonderful things about this cast and show! It was fantastic and definitely worth the drive to Gwinnett for anyone that is not local.

The sound is the only problem... I do not have hearing issues and at times found it difficult to hear some of the songs - and I was only 3 rows back!

Still I applaud the Button Theatre for this wonderful production. I will be back!
Sightlines are the problem! by playgoer
Acoustics are the problem?!? Not from my vantage point in the third row at Saturday's performance. The big problem was the sightlines. Gwinnett County appears to be too cheap or too clueless to furnish any sort of tiered seating in this so-called "black box theatre," so all the audience sits on the same level. When you're viewing actors on a 4"-high stage and you have two rows of people in front of you, there are blind spots onstage. Luckily, the staging was active to the point of being pleasurably frenetic, so the only sequence I missed in totality was Charlie Brown's reverie on the red-haired girl while seated on a bench, mooning away. (Was he mooning her or mooning over her? Couldn't tell from my seat!)

I've seen several productions in the Jacqueline Casey Hudgens Center for the Arts, and they've all had this problem with sightlines. This is not a "black box theatre" -- it's a big, black box of a room with stage lights (now, anyhow) and iffy acoustics. The venue is horrible, horrible, horrible on its own, and the traffic and parking congestion from other events at the Gwinnett Civic Center make going to this theatre an unpleasant experience on "light" nights and an ordeal when anything "big" is going on.

It's truly a shame that the Jacqueline Casey Hudgens Center for the Arts took away from me the experience of a truly phenomenal production by forcing me to endure it partially sight unseen. Kudos to Button Theatre for a tremendously entertaining, well-sung, well-acted, gorgeously-realized production. And two big fat thumbs down to Gwinnett County for sticking the production in a black hole.
Like a worn blanket
by the_unlikely_thespian
Friday, March 14, 2008
4.5
My Daughter and I were fortunate enough to have caught one of the opening weekend performances. First a few general comments and then I'll talk about the actors individually. This is a top-notch handful of performers. I felt that in general, the singing was first rate and the portrayals were delightful. I felt they fit together extraordinarily well as a cast.

The production takes place in a black (purple?) box theater in the Jacqueline Casey Hudgens Center for the Arts in Gwinnett county. I was unsure at first if this venue would be suitable for this production. I have to admit that I had no prior experience with this company and when I walked into the theater, the first impression wasn't the best. But they won me over as soon as the show started. This show is intimate enough that presenting it in that way worked just fine. The lighting was simple but good enough. At no point was I distracted by it. (I'm rarely conscious of lighting unless it is really bad.)

The one negative comment that I feel moved to make regarding the venue concerns the sound. The acoustics in there were less than stellar. There seemed to be some acoustically dead spots on the stage. I know that the performers were projecting plenty because I heard them well enough much of the time. But there were times when the actors' voices got lost in the ambient noise. This was a shame because there was so much good stuff to hear.

The musical accompaniment--piano and drums--was excellent.

Now let's get to the fun part: the actors themselves.

I am old enough to have seen the original off-Broadway production of "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown," my 6th grade teacher took us on a field trip to NYC to see it. But I'm not going to try to draw any parallels between it and what I saw in the Button Theatre production because the memories are too dim. The one thing that I do remember well is that I came away from that show with an enormous, pre-pubescent crush on Lucy. This time around I would say that "crush" isn't the right word because I'm considerably older now and that would be really, really creepy. But Ms. Gebhardt did a remarkable job at capturing the essence of Lucy. Wonderful facial expressions and mannerisms. She clearly has a lovely singing voice. Lucy requires a brassy voice, and she managed to nail Lucy's character voice without losing that loveliness. "Little Known Facts" was a number that stands out in my head.

And while we're on the subject of facial expressions, the actor who portrayed Snoopy really caught my eye. His facials were terrific and I loved the character voice. Unfortunately for some of the other actors, I found that my eye was sometimes drawn to his antics when it was supposed to be elsewhere. (Not that he was upstaging them. His actions were subtle and in character. I just enjoyed his portrayal.) I confess that "Suppertime" is one of my favorites from the show and Mr. Arapoglou didn't disappoint. (Though there were a few acoustics problems during that number.) I also enjoyed the Red Baron scene immensely.

I can't put my finger on what it was about it, but the portrayal of Charlie Brown left me just the slightest bit cold. Mr. Bradshaw lists among his credits some NATS placements and I believe it. There is most assuredly many years of training in his voice. He had some lovely moments, but sometimes something was getting in the way of his obviously great singing voice. Perhaps something about the characterization. I don't know. I believe it was in "Happiness" where I heard him really shine vocally. Now, please don't get me wrong, there was much here to like, but there was something missing for me. I wish I could be more specific.

Ms Krabe is especially well known around these parts but this was my first opportunity to see her on stage. What a delight! Her voice, and characterization were first rate. Very cute portrayal. If I remember correctly, the show that I saw many years ago featured Peppermint Patty so Sally was all new to me. She did a fantastic job with it. And kudos to Ms Krabe for some fine and fitting choreography.

Mr Carter as Linus was fun; thumb sucking, blanket hugging, soft shoe and all. There were a few points where the singing was iffy, and by that I mean a loss of projection more than anything else. I attribute that to the same acoustic issues that I heard throughout the show. I'm no dancer--as anyone who has worked with me will attest--but I thought the soft shoe was pretty good. Fun stuff. By the way, what flavor is that thumb anyway?

And lastly Mr Phillips' Schroeder: his energy was high and I liked his character choices as well as his singing. "Beethoven Day" was a hoot.


In summary: Niggles aside, go see this show. There is just so much to love about it.

I hope the Button folks can find a sugar daddy because it's clear to me that there is talent aplenty here that is need of a more suitable home. They deserve larger audiences. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


[REVIEW THIS PRODUCTION]

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