by Margaretha Heidel
(photo by Joe Epstein, via Mile Square Theatre)
Mile Square Theatre does it again…
“You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown” is a delightful evening for the whole family—with quick-moving, top-notch production that will keep you and the kids entertained from the get-go.
All your favorite characters are here, in vignettes together and solo, letting us in on a bit of life at school, at home, and in the park. Though written in 1967, the direction and choreography of this production give it a very ‘now’ feeling, as it shows us the ups and downs of life as a kid (or a dog, as the case may be).
Brandon Santoro was utterly disarming as the carefree and mischievous Snoopy. His opening song “Snoopy” was spot on (sorry, pun intended-shout out to Peter Fogel who designed costumes). His physicality so light and dog-like, he really captured the audience. Later, when he reenacted the WW1 Flying Ace, he was terrific again—sharing the limelight with his great scarf!
His owner, Charlie Brown, expertly played by Mikey Lobalsamo, goes through some real ups and downs as he searches for the way to happiness. Lucy and Schroeder are wonderful too, Lucy (played by Rachel Eddy, last seen at MST in 7th Inning Stretch) was just perfect as she threw herself at Marcus Beckett as “Schroeder” while he sat at the keys and tried his best to ignore the advances. Great touch to see him at the tiny piano and his playing was solidly believable. His physical work was terrific and he added a great deal to the group numbers, especially “Book Report” in which he careens off course from Peter Rabbit to Robin Hood.
I cannot say enough what a great ensemble this cast is. Not leaving out anyone, I want to be sure to include Clare Rea, whose Sally was real, nuanced, silly, and so lovely. Chris Goodrich had a great handle on his portrayal of Linus, the most brilliant, level-headed one of the bunch and still, for sure, a child among them. A smart, swell performance.
The set was great, spare and well utilized, beautiful colors and lighting. The music was just right and not overpowering so that we could understand all the show’s lyrics. A great balance of humor is to be found here as well, so that there is truly something for every age. Part of the fun was watching the kids in the audience ‘get’ the jokes. How often do you get to see the exhilaration on your child’s face when he agrees wholeheartedly with Charlie Brown’s narrative about the girl with the red hair, or when they truly understand that book reports stink?
The showtimes for “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” are ideal for family viewings. Who could ask for a better way to beat your cabin fever in this chilly weather?
This play is truly worth checking out. You’ll be glad you did.