Most people are familiar with the Peanuts comic strip created by Charles Shultz, which centers around the lovable, yet doleful Charlie Brown, unsuccessfully trying to fly a kite or failing at building up the courage to talk to the cute redheaded girl.
In 1997, the Peanuts gang went on to entertain through a whole new source of media in the Broadway musical “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.” The staged script has all the charm of the comic strip with the spectacle that live theatre has to offer. This unconventional show brings together six of the original characters as they go through all their usual antics.
This summer, Thingamajig Theatre Company (located in Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts), features “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown” and “Chicago” as part of their rep season. But all good things must come to an end, so they are getting ready for their two final weeks of performances.
With a cast consisting mostly of Fort Lewis College students and graduates, “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” has entertained all ages of people since its PSCA opening on June 22.
“It’s interesting because it’s not a traditional script or story line; it’s unique in the sense that it follows the comics and holds true to what the writer Shultz was aiming for. It’s intriguing to see Charlie Brown staged and I think because it’s so untraditional it makes it more interesting to the audience,” says Liz Dunn, who plays Sally in Charlie Brown and is part of the ensemble in “Chicago.”
This is Liz’s first year working for Thingamajig, and also her first year doing rep theatre. “I think Tim and Laura Moore (the founders of the company) did a good job of choosing shows because they’re so contrasting,” she says. “‘Chicago’ is definitely an adult show while the other is clearly more of a kid’s show, and that transition between the two characters can be difficult. Difficult but still a lot of fun and a great learning experience.”
Moriah James, who is also in the cast of both shows, has had a decent amount of involvement in rep theatre around the Four Corners area, and she could not be more excited to be a part of the process.
“I really enjoy Charlie Brown, I’ve been a big fan of Peanuts for a very long time, always watching the cartoons and I read the comics when I was young,” she says. “I’ve had fun playing Lucy because she’s such a contrast to my personality; she’s someone who’s loud and obnoxious and I’m not really like that.”
It is interesting to watch these young actors take on two very different roles in these shows, going from dark, drab and sexual characters to small children. It is easy to understand how they can get exhausted when they act like kids for two hours. Although the choreography for “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” may not seem as intense as it is in “Chicago,” the performers are nearly always involved in the show. They are constantly on the go when they are on stage, whether it be moving scenery or staying physically engaged as they are keeping in character.
In Thingamajig Theatre Company’s short and intense existence, they have never disappointed audiences and left them feeling less than highly entertained. These two summer shows are no exception. And unlike painting or film making, theatre is brief and fleeting — if you let it pass you by, you will have missed something extraordinary.
Don’t miss an opportunity to see the talented cast of 17 perform “All That Jazz” or the adorable Charlie Brown hide under his lunch bag hoping that the Cute Red Head Girl doesn’t (or does?) notice him. There are only five performances left of both shows, Aug. 1-12.
Those who are interested in seeing “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” still have a few chances to watch the performance. There will be showings Wednesday, Aug. 1, through Saturday, Aug. 4, at 7 p.m. and a Sunday matinee on Aug. 5 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20 if you order them in advance or $25 at the door. Kids 12 and under are only $10. It is a fantastic show to take the whole family, a group of friends or bring your grandkids.
“Chicago’s” final week is Aug. 8-12, Wednesday through Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. You can purchase your tickets online at www.pagosacenter.org or by calling 731-7469. The Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts is located at 2313 Eagle Drive. The box office is open from 3-7 p.m. on show days.