The Corban Theatre Department’s latest production draws the cartoon curtain this weekend with a nostalgia-packed staging of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.” Based on the beloved “Peanuts” comic strip of Charles Schultz, the Corban cast’s interpretation of this comedic musical runs from November 9-19, with both evening and matinee performances available—perfect entertainment for all ages.
Opening to a sold-out crowd of elementary school children, the energy and enthusiasm of this show is ready to lift any audience members’ spirits, regardless of their age or exposure to the original comic strip. Diehard “Peanuts” fans will be instantly familiar with the sights and sounds: Snoopy’s bright-red doghouse, Lucy’s psychiatric help stand (still only 5 cents), Shroeder’s two-inch-high piano, music inspired by the beloved Charlie Brown holiday TV specials of the 60s and 70s, the goofy dance moves to match, and yes, even the famous “wah, wah, wah” of the unseen adults.
On the stage, Corban’s cast of talented actors instantly invite audience members into the fast-paced fun, nailing the finer points and quirks of Charles Schultz’s crazy collection of characters. “When I think about this cast, how much work we’ve put in, I think I’m most excited just to see how much joy we can bring to everyone who gets to be a part of this and what they take away from it,” says Alekai Faber, who portrays Shermy.
The quick scenes and musical numbers play across the stage in an almost vignette style, mimicking the feel and structure of a comic strip. While it does capture the childhood whimsy of the “Peanuts” cartoon, the play is not pure nostalgia. In between songs and dances, jokes and tropes, whimsy walks hand-in-hand with wisdom, and philosophy plays right alongside pure fun. “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” touches on serious themes like anxiety, loneliness, popularity, purpose, and love—as Charlie Brown is, all jokes aside, a philosopher at heart, a quality this musical faithfully carries.
For fans who are just looking for a bit of fun, there are plenty of philosophical points for them too: the futility of jumping rope, the objective coolness of the name “Flash,” and the fact that not being allowed to be queen should be considered undemocratic.
All in all, this performance puts the football right through the uprights, offering audiences the perfect mix of laughter, music, dancing, and inspiration. “What I have really enjoyed about this particular show is that it has enabled all of us to recapture that childlike enthusiasm, and reenter that completely different way of seeing the world,” says Corban Theatre Director, Tamara McGinnis. “It’s been a delight to just sing, dance, act out a few jokes together—it’s still a lot of work, but it’s fun work, and we have enjoyed ourselves.”
“You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” runs now through November 19, with both matinee and evening performances available. Tickets are selling out quickly, so you’ll be saying “good grief” if you miss your chance to catch this lighthearted yet surprisingly philosophical musical. Tickets are available for purchase at https://our.show/Charliebrown23.