Written by Joshua Baker. Media by Taylor Neal.
On Wednesday night, I had the unique pleasure of seeing a special performance of You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown at the Factory Theater. The folks at the theater were kind enough to invite children from the Simple Room for a special early performance of the show and I had volunteered to be a supervisor for the event. The kids were well-behaved and really enjoyed the show, so I was able to focus on the performance. And what a performance it was!
You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown is exactly what you would expect from a Peanuts musical. It is a much-needed piece of levity during stressful times. This especially contrasts the Factory Theater’s previous offering, the heavy hitting and heart wrenching rock opera Next to Normal. If you see this performance, you are sure to have fun.
The cast performed their roles superbly and each character felt as though they were ripped straight from the pages of a Peanuts comic. Linus was personally my favorite character and his actor, Nick Watterson, portrayed him perfectly. His facial expressions and delivery led to many laughs for the audience. Another standout character was Lucy, portrayed by Chasity Cook. Cook’s character had great charisma. The rest of the cast also performed fantastically.
The sets were bright and colorful. They matched Schultz’s art style quite well. The actors incorporated the set around them into their performance to produce an extremely humorous effect. The costuming was also spot on and almost convinced me that these grown adults were the small children depicted in the classic cartoons. The music incorporated many genres, yet maintained that fun Peanuts feeling.
You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown plays out more like a series of skits about the same eight characters rather than having one overarching story. However, it still feels cohesive and maintains the unmistakable Peanuts vibe. The sketches left almost the entire audience in fits of laughter or applause at their conclusion. The only issue I had was with the story, and even then, it was only small issues regarding faithfulness to the source material. However, the Factory Theater doesn’t really have control of that and I am a huge proponent of adaptations standing on their own as opposed to relying solely on the source material, which is something this play definitely does.
The cast also had a fantastic way of closing out the play for the Simple Room kids. After the final song was concluded and bows were made, the cast invited the children onto the stage for a dance party. The kids had a blast dancing with Snoopy, Sally, Peppermint Patty, and Charlie Brown, although some of the children were reluctant to show off their dance moves. After this, the cast took a picture with all of the kids. This conclusion to the night really emphasized how much fun the people at the Factory Theater wanted their audience to have.
The kids from the Simple Room all had a blast going to see You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown. I quite enjoyed myself too. I am sure that if you go to see the play at the Factory Theater you will laugh, clap, and leave happy.
Opening night for the general public was last night and performances continue tonight and tomorrow at 7:30pm before picking up again next weekend Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, again at 7:30pm.