Do what you gotta do to get your butt over to Junction City, Oregon for the final performance of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. I know there’s a plethora of community theatre in the valley this weekend to choose from BUT I’m serious when I say you don’t want to miss this production!
This show blew me away in so many areas, where do I begin? Why, at the beginning, of course 🙂 The set really embodies the simplicity and color of the Peanuts Gang. I felt like I was stepping into the comic book strip with the bold colors. Designed by Josh Davis, constructed and led by Robert Bearden with the artistic talents of Wendy Bearden. See pics 🙂
Once the show started, the vocals blew me away. First, the only mics are the the ones hanging from the ceiling and the performance room is a wide open space which used to be a school auditorium now used for church service. So a challenge for sure. The cast projects with such clarity and strength, in the character’s voices and personalities, the mics were probably only there for support. The production uses a music track which works here. The music is classic, recognizable, and frankly, I’m not sure if a live orchestra would have blended so nicely with the cast considering the acoustics of the room. The choreography was complex with great cast energy bringing each number to life! With 14 cast members onstage, this can be a challenge but not for Carey Hilbert. Her choreography utilizes the stage and makes the whole cast shine no matter where you seat in the audience. When the ensemble sings together, it’s like an angelic choir perfectly harmonized where no one stands out and everyone is heard.
Tyler Roberts plays Charlie Brown straight out of the comic but with more emphasis on the depressive state Charlie Brown finds himself on a daily basis. It’s a timely portrayal and Roberts is successful with his expression and body language conveying the underlying message and heartfelt plea to be accepted. I just wanted to hug him and all the Charlie Browns of the world after this.
Hanna Foshay is Lucy van Pelt. She puts ALL she has into this role and more. Not only does she look like Lucy straight out of the comic, she embodies everything Lucy in every scene from expressions, to the harsh bossy sound of her voice, her body language…Her need for acceptance and drive to get it is the perfect balance to Charlie Brown’s. She’s the manic to his depressive.
Joe Liebersbach plays Snoopy with so much fun and flexibility. He plays to the audience in a way which says, “Come with me, let’s have some fun!”, hamming it up and having a great time. I would’ve really liked to see him “lick” Lucy’s face and see her run in circles yelling, “Dog germs!” It doesn’t happen in this show but it would have been another moment for Snoopy to relish in his coolness. Snoopy does, however, get to show off his coolness with “Suppertime”.
The cast is rounded out with stellar performances from Kassi McGregor as the cute and contrary Sally Brown; Wyatt Lee as the knowledgeable and sincere, blanket toting Linus –who’s solo “My Blanket and Me” is not only a touching love song about a boy and his blanket but also an ensemble dance number with a lot of blue blankets which hit the mark! Caleb Kelson as the Beethoven loving, piano playing Schroeder; Broder Forshay as the sweet and resourceful Rerun; Wendy Bearden as the wise-crackin’, sports-loving Peppermint Patty; Brooke Kaiser as Peppermint Patty’s super smart side-kick Marcie; Ethan Mills as the perpetually dusty Pigpen; Danielle Mumford as cheeky Violet; Amber Hagen as the spirited Peggy Jean; Kayla Roberts as the bubbly Frieda; and Robert Bearden as lovable Franklin.
Directed by Cory Snyder, this show is energetic, touching, funny, and a delight to experience! Led by Cory Snyder, the Generations Arts Academy not only produces amazing shows, but they also provide voice and piano lessons as well as musical theater classes for various age ranges. They are cultivating future musical theater stars here and it shows in professional and on-point performances with You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. Snyder and her team are building a community musical theater legacy in Junction City, Oregon which gives the Corvallis and Albany theaters a run for their money. This group is one to watch and definitely one to support! Worth the money and the drive 🙂 I met some great people “working” the show who truly believe in this group and support them with everything they can. Generations Theater Company is a true grassroots theater operation. A non-profit organization blessed with talent cultivated by the Generations Arts Academy. I wish I could’ve written them a check right then. You will too!
Upcoming shows include Shrek the Musical, JR with auditions Saturday November 23rd (ages 9 – 16) with performances March 12th to 14th. Guys and Dolls with auditions Saturday February 29th and performances June 11th to 14th.
For more information about the Generations Arts Academy or to support Generations Theater Company’s future productions and to purchase tickets, click HERE.