The sing-songed phrase “Oh Charlie Brown” has been on TV and in the background of American life since the 1950s. The Peanuts comic strip by Charles Schulz is perhaps the most recognizable cartoon animation in pop culture. The gang hasn’t slowed down— “The Peanuts Movie” hits theaters today.
When Cardinals for the Appreciation of Musical Theater (CAMT) announced they would be doing the musical, “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” it was met with excitement and skepticism. The Peanuts are the longest running cartoon in American history, and the task to make it fresh is no easy feat. However, CAMT performed with such confidence, they claimed the classic as their own.
The night started with the orchestra doing some last-minute warm-ups and a beautiful lighting session.
The play stayed true enough to the original—psychiatric advice is still available for a mere five cents, Linus is still tied to his blanket and, of course, Snoopy is still valiantly pursuing the Red Baron. The musical numbers gave the play a colorful dimension. Hearing the catchy theme had the audience drumming their fingers and feet, happy to take part of childhood nostalgia: that is Peanuts.
Don’t be so quick to shut down the performance as “just for kids.” The audience had many first generation Peanuts fans as well. The lighthearted humor brought smiles to their faces, an especially reminiscent occasion for those who remember the birth of the characters through the weekly Sunday paper.
The mix of fantastic acting makes this play a must-see on campus. Wayne Hogue Jr., a Murray State University graduate, plays the role of Charlie Brown, being lovable, clumsy and goofy enough to remind the audience of the first hopeless underdog who just can’t seem to kick a football.
For more information on CAMT’s production of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” like their Facebook page: Facebook.com/camtuofl.
Photo courtesy / CAMT Facebook