Company Carolina will bring the comic strip by Peter Schulz to life in a musical entitled “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” at Historic Playmakers Theatre this weekend.
Junior Christian Payne, the production’s director, said he wanted to try his hand at directing a musical after being involved with Company Carolina for two years.
“(Musicals) are just fun, because sometimes you just have to accept that the characters will break out into song about, you know, flying a kite,” he said.
The show’s humor also played a large part in the decision to pursue it as a Company production.
“I’ve seen the show a million times, and it’s still so enjoyable. We all have tears in our eyes every time,” Payne said.
Payne said he has enjoyed working with new company members to create the final product.
“We’re all characters already in our own special ways, and I think that really helps,” Payne said. “Everything is larger than life.”
Freshman Music Director Elizabeth Carbone said although she has been involved in theater since she was young, the new members made it a different experience.
“We have a wonderful cast, and working with a lot of new people on cast has made the whole process very fresh,” she said.
Carbone worked with actors individually to help them deliver music best according to their characters. The small orchestra includes a flute, a piano and a clarinet.
Freshman Shannon Gallagher, who plays Lucy, said she thinks the audience will love the play’s energy and script, which she said differ from the average play.
Jonathan Scott, an exchange student from Northern Ireland who plays Charlie Brown, said another thing that made this production different was its structure.
“It’s not a classic play because you’re extracting from comic strips that are like two seconds to read,” Scott said.
This production is the first part of a new Peanuts repertory, the second part of which is entitled “Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead” and will be performed next weekend. Payne said the second part focuses on the Peanuts characters in their adolescence, while the first portrays them at a very young age.
The cast is excited about the repertory, but Scott said he’s especially excited about the music in “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.” He said his favorite song — the last of 15 in the musical — is called “Happiness.”
“I adore it. It’s this really cheesy song, but it just captures the feeling of happiness,” he said.
Carbone said the entire musical would incite similar feelings.
“You’re riding this wave of joy the whole time, and then the last song gently sets you down and lets you go,” she said.
“You never get to see a cartoon put on stage, so it’s colorful and dramatic. It’s an hour and a half dose of happiness.”