People’s Playhouse has produced a wide variety of shows over the past 20 years, and present their latest show, You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown for six shows only at the Cranbourne Community Theatre in April 2017. Theatre People spoke to director David Krause about putting the show together, working with a young cast and how a comic translates to a musical.
“It is incredible to be able to offer a range of opportunities for young people both as principles in junior shows and being mentored by more experienced performers in our open age shows” said Krause.
“The special aspect to You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown is the narrow age range of our 25 cast members. They are all teenagers, playing kids. They are all hanging out with their friends doing something they love and something they have a talent for, it is an extremely rewarding feeling to see them enjoying themselves, gain confidence and growing in to their roles” he said.
You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown is based on the Peanuts comics that appeared in 2600 over 60 years. Charles Schulz penned over 10,000 comics, and there have been over 45 television specials, movies and musicals written.
“The characters obviously have a universal attraction to a wide range of ages and this show is just an extension of that appeal. The translation to the stage is easy with so much material to draw from,” he said.
“Each of the characters has such quirky and interesting personalities that there is great scope to develop them for the stage. Charles Schulz had an amazing ability to imbue his characters with unique adult philosophies on life, told through the simple eyes of 7 year old children”.
“The humour is great for all ages, the music by Clark Gesner is fun, energetic and uplifting, but the most amazing thing about this show is the beautiful heartfelt moments that catch you by surprise every time” said Krause.
The show is about the little moments and a day in the life of Charlie Brown, and the story is derived from comic strips all joined together across a single day.
“You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown is certainly different to most other musical productions. There are no villains, not much romance apart from some hand holding, no slow love songs, no big scene changes, and of course there is a talking dog who has a very active imagination”, Krause said.
“Charlie Brown (Thomas Myszka) is the central character and as his day unfolds we discover you don’t need to be the smartest, fastest or most handsome to be loved by your friends”.
“Casting a show with teenagers that was written for adults can be a challenge, especially when there are some tough vocal parts for the males”.
“Peoples Playhouse has a reputation for putting on quality shows in a positive and rewarding environment, so getting a cast of talented teens was not too hard” he said.
“Our rehearsals have been full of laughter and special moments. The cast constantly amazes us with the four part harmonies and subtle changes in volume. It is those ‘Goose Bump’ moments in a song or some of the touching dialogue that I can’t wait to hear and feel on stage with a full audience reaction,” Krause reflected on rehearsals for the show.
“Our musical director Maddy Corbel is incredible and only a couple of years older than some of the cast so they adore her. Leah Osburn (choreographer) is also amazing. She has the ability to make every cast member shine on stage with dances that fit perfectly with the music and the lyrics”, he said on his production team.
“I am so excited to see everyone’s completed efforts under the lights of the stage. Community theatre brings out the best in people and exposes many hidden talents behind the scenes”, he said.
Catch You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown at the Cranbourne Community Theatre from Friday 7 April through Saturday 15 April. Tickets at: trybooking.com.au/nctb