Lori's Take - "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown"
We had the pleasure of seeing You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown at The Whole Backstage Theatre tonight. If there’s a more perfect portrayal of Charlie Brown than Denton Gillen’s, I can’t imagine it. From the monologues to his singing voice, he nailed the character’s angst — and helped the audience identify with Charlie Brown — because haven’t we all been that guy? Overlooked on Valentine’s Day, chosen last for the team at PE, not very confident, not very popular? Denton, you sold it, man.
The gang was as funny and quirky as I remember from the comic, with Ajia Jones’ spot-on-salty and oh-so-bossy Lucy with such a powerful belt (yes ma’am!) Brandon Kelley’s vulnerable and sweet Linus, Savannah Reece’s sassy Sally (chickadee! you killed My New Philosophy!) Brody Hemphill’s passionate Schroeder and Drew Hunter’s disheveled Pig Pen - I could almost see the cloud around you! And John Everett Brewer’s Snoopy! Props for pulling off the demanding physicality of the role. And we did not stop laughing, from the opening scene, to the hiked leg at the fire hydrant to the booming notes of Suppertime.
The group numbers made the company shine and I’m so proud of and impressed by you all! The accapella part of Happiness was so NICE! The Woodstocks were the cutest and most fun!
I gotta give a shout out to the lovely and talented Hannah Grace Yost as Linus’s blanket, and to the accomplished Josh Hood as Snoopy’s doghouse and stage manager.
Bravo Johnny Brewer, and everyone who had a hand in making this show so heartwarming.
I think the sweetness that balances the “poor Charlie Brown” moments, can be summed up when Lucy gives Charlie reason to hope in The Doctor is In, singing:
“You have the distinction to be
No one else but the singular, remarkable, unique Charlie Brown.”
And as the final song so lovingly affirms,
“Happiness is two kinds of ice cream,
Knowing a secret, climbing a tree
Happiness is five different crayons
Catching a firefly, setting it free…
Happiness is morning and evening
Daytime and nighttime too.
For happiness is anything and anyone at all
Who is loved by you.”
Indeed. Don’t miss your chance to see this show!