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Blue Canoe Productions takes the classic You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown and gives it a feminine flare

You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown stars six females as the Peanuts characters.
You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown stars six females as the Peanuts characters.
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It’s the familiar cast of Peanuts characters, except they’re all played by females.

You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, is the reimagined 1967 musical based on the characters from Charles Schulz’s comic strip, Peanuts.

“There is a precedent in children’s theatre for women to play male roles like Mary Martin on [the 1954] Broadway play Peter Pan,” director Alysha Bernstein said. “What I did was I adapted the beginning of the script so there were six girls on the playground playing the game.”

The play opens with a group of schoolgirls walking around reading Peanuts books after which they decide to don the costumes of their respective characters.

The production has been a popular choice for theatres because of the small cast required and the simple stage design.

An integral part of the entire performance is the combined vocal skills of the cast with the ability of the orchestra. The play jumps from scene to scene — Charlie’s obsession with the Red-Haired Girl, Snoopy’s desire to be a wild jungle beast, Schroeder’s obsession with Beethoven, Lucy’s bossiness and of course Linus’ attachment to his blanket — with the music leading you through each moment.

The audience in the front row is so close to the stage they can reach out and touch the actors, creating a true sense of intimacy. Production staff recently listed drawbacks in stage design such as using a painted picnic bench for a piano instead of a real piano, but perfect timing between the musical accompaniment and Mariah Horner’s pounding on the keys as Schroeder made it impossible to tell she was playing on a picnic table.

You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown plays tonight and tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. at the Baby Grand Theatre. Tickets for general admission are $18, students and seniors are $15 and children are $12.

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