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You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown
a Musical
by Clark Gesner; revision by Michael Mayer (dialogue) & Andrew Lippa (songs)

COMPANY : Agape Players, Inc. [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Gwinnett Civic & Cultural Center [WEBSITE]
ID# 4876

SHOWING : April 02, 2016 - April 02, 2016



Charles Schulz’s beloved comic strip comes to life in "You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown." Follow the Peanuts Gang as they take you through an average day in the life of Charlie Brown.

Woodstock Abigail Ellis
Charlie Brown Robby Owenby
Linus Weston Slaton
Schroeder Matthew Thornton
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You’re a Good Show, Charlie Brown
by playgoer
Sunday, April 3, 2016
"You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown" is more of a revue than a plotted show, with a number of blackout scenes giving bits of Charles Schulz’s philosophy, interspersed with upbeat songs. Six characters from the "Peanuts" comic strip get all the scenes and lines, but Agape Players fills out their production with four additional characters (Peppermint Patty, Marcie, Pigpen, and Woodstock). The cast of ten gets a workout, with all scenes and songs working delightfully under the direction of Barbara Hall and the musical direction of John Glover.

The physical production is stunning. The set, constructed by Ben Crider and Tom Coker, uses cartoon-inspired set pieces that read beautifully well in the large auditorium. A school bus segment, with conveyer-belt scenery whizzing by in the background, is a stunner, but all the set pieces are wonderful. Details are well worked out, with Snoopy’s dog house even showing bullet holes in the middle of the Red Baron sequence.

Lighting is impressive too, starting (and ending) with a silhouette of Charlie Brown and Snoopy projected on the back screen, which otherwise displays a blue sky with stylized clouds for most of the show, with a colorful field of stars for one brief scene. Costumes, by Barbara Hall and Simon Fowler, garb all the characters in instantly recognizable clothing. Props, devised by Tracey Schipper, Janet Glover, and Ruth Fowler, are terrific too, consisting mostly of everyday items in oversized form to accentuate the supposed child-size scale of the action. Only normal-sized pennant banners for the baseball game scene seem out of place.

Audio, by Richard Clark, Christen Clark, and Becky Jones, does a fine job of amplifying the orchestra and voices to be easily heard. There were no microphone glitches in the performance I saw. The clarity of the sound does, however, have a downside – it makes easily apparent any pitchiness in singing voices or in the instrumentals. Unfortunately, pitchiness affected all the solo numbers to some extent.

Performances are all good. Robert Mitchel Owenby creates an empathetic, optimistic sad sack of Charlie Brown. Joy Walters makes Charlie’s sister Sally a sassy, big-voiced charmer. Erika Bowman, as Lucy Van Pelt, punches up each scene in which she appears. Weston Slaton, as Lucy’s brother Linus, displays a cuddly charm. Richard Puscas gives Snoopy an infectious energy, and Matthew Thornton does excellent work as Schroeder, with his fingering on the toy piano matching beautifully with the instrumental accompaniment. In minor roles, Dana Gardner and Abigail Ellis display tons of energy and stage presence as Marcie and Woodstock respectively.

Director Barbara Hall has designed blocking for scenes that blends seamlessly with Joy Walters’ choreography. This is a terrific-looking production. The conception of the show is professional, and the physical aspects of the show are professional in execution (except for the too-obvious stage crew presence onstage during scene changes). It’s just vocally and instrumentally that this show comes up short. And, of course, in John Glover’s near-proselytizing curtain speech. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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