YOU’RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN

Good Grief!
Seriously, who hasn’t heard this?

Who doesn’t love the Peanuts gang? I enjoy watching the yearly television specials: It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and A Charlie Brown Christmas. It never gets old how Charlie Brown gets fooled by Lucy to kick the football. How many times will this kid keep falling for that age-old trick? It doesn’t matter, because, like I said, it doesn’t get old and it’s still funny. The one night event held at the Ricardo Montalbán Theatre and sponsored by PAWS/LA, (Pets Are Wonderful Support) an organization that unites people with pets, celebrated their 30th anniversary last week at the Ricardo Montalbán Theatre in Hollywood, with a staging of several vignettes using the characters from the Peanuts squad. Actress Sharon Lawrence (NYPD Blue, Desperate Housewives) hosted the night with an enthusiastic audience.

There’s no concrete story to follow, there are situations with songs attached. The cast consisted of six characters: Schroeder (Doug Kreeger), Charlie Brown (Barrett Foa, Avenue Q), Snoopy (Jared Gertner, The Book of Mormon), Sally Brown (Carly Hughes, American Housewife), Linus van Pelt (Rory O’Malley, American Princess) and Lucy van Pelt (Tracie Thoms, 9-1-1, Cold Case). The stories are familiar from previous cartoons. There’s Linus and his unforgettable blue blanket (My Blanket and Me) forever sucking his thumb until the skin wears off. Pianist Schroeder playing Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata in “Beethoven Day” to perfection. Snoopy (Jared Gertner, The Book of Mormon, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee) being his lovable self in his titular song. Gertner does a fabulous job as the fun-loving beagle, who plays his infamous Red Baron pilot alter ego. He was comical and hysterical especially when Snoopy gets highly exited. Of course, the gang works best when they come together in “T.E.A.M. (The Baseball Game”).

Each actor represented their characters with care, perfect comic timing and excellence. Hughes did a wonderful job in playing Charlie’s Brown’s baby sister Sally. She played it cute and feisty and showed no shame in professing her love to Linus, who doesn’t care, but she is persistent. Tracie Thomas is hysterical as the feisty Lucy, Linus’ older and demanding sister. She gets such evil joy mutilating Charlie Brown’s soul in removing the football Charlie Brown is suppose to kick. And still, he goes back for more. Well, she only charges five cents for her “professional advice” and he definitely gets what he pays for. Sorry to say. However, she turns on a dime whenever she gets around Schroeder in the sketch “Schroeder.” Like Linus does to Sally, Schroeder ignores Lucy. Vicious cycle. For fans of these assorted “friends” this show was a wonderful surprise. I can only hope that it will return and stay longer.


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