Release date: July 17, 2005
'Charlie Brown' Performances to Offer Cross-Generational Appeal
Angelo State University 's James Worley learned a few things about how the Peanuts characters have endeared themselves to audiences of all ages when he and students began rehearsing "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown."
The assistant director of university theater realized most students are just as attuned to the characters as their parents and grandparents before them, but they did not learn about characters like Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus and Lucy through the comic strips.
"The majority of students were familiar with Charlie Brown through the Charlie Brown specials," he said. "Most people my age or older all remember the Peanuts comic strip."
The Arts at ASU will present "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown," a musical that was performed nearly 1,600 times on Broadway, July 28-31 and Aug. 4-6, in the Modular Theatre. All performances begin at 8 p.m. except for Sunday shows, which are at 2 p.m. Dinner is served an hour before the show begins. The Arts at ASU performance marks the university's second dinner theater of the season.
Charles Schultz's Peanuts strip first appeared in 1950. The cartoonist produced original comic strips for 50 years before announcing his retirement in 1999. Schultz's final strip appeared in January of 2000 and the artist died in February of that year.
Worley said he and the students started their first rehearsal by talking about their memories of the characters in the comic strips or television specials. He realized people seem to relate with the characters, especially Charlie Brown.
"He's a childhood everyman," Worley said of Charlie Brown.
The actor who will play Charlie Brown, Jourdanton junior communication major, looks just like the original, Worley said. The appearances of the characters, however, aren't as important as the emotions the actors portray.
"A lot gets communicated through the attitude of characters," he said. "These little things get driven home nicely, so the audience gets caught up in what they remember from their childhood."
Worley recalled a scene where Lucy, played by Addison senior drama major Rachel Leigh Landry, acts as a sort of psychiatrist for Charlie Brown. He offers a lengthy list of concerns and failures to her. When Charlie finishes, Lucy, in her classic know-it-all way, offers him a single comforting line:
"For what it is worth, Charlie Brown, you are you," she says.
Worley said this simple line tells a lot about the themes Schultz presented through his characters.
"It reminds us that we are still valuable people despite the insecurities and problems we have as children or adults," he said.
The menu for the production is:
Country fried chicken
Potato au gratin
With strawberry cheesecake as the dessert.
Ticket prices are $20 for the general public, $15 for arts at ASU subscribers and non-ASU public school students, and $12.50 for ASU students and activity card holders with the fine arts option.
For more information or for tickets, call 942-2146 Ext. 241.