Details of all sizes will play big role in ‘Charlie Brown’
By Laurie Merrill
GCU News Bureau
From the “wah wah wah” trumpet noise made by the Peanuts teacher to the sign on Lucy’s booth that says, “The doctor is in,” Ethington Theatre’s production of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” pays attention to meaningful details.
The show opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Grand Canyon University’s Ethington Theatre. Opening night is sold out and tickets for other shows are selling fast, but they can be purchased here or at Groupon. Students get in free with ID.
There’s an inherent challenge in producing a live-action version of the comic strip, which has been beloved since writer and illustrator Charles M. Schulz’s first piece was published in 1950. But the College of Fine Arts and Production crew sought authenticity in the technicalities.
“To create the world of the cartoon, we had to be very specific,” Assistant Stage Manager Kaitlyn Johnson said. “We recreated iconic pieces that everyone recognizes.”
Pieces such as Charlie Brown’s yellow-with-black zigzag shirt, Snoopy’s red doghouse and Schroeder’s toy piano. Johnson said it took extensive research to find just the right blanket for Linus.
“We have an artistic take on it, but it remains true,” said Stage Manager Andrew Weedman, who was busy with other colleagues sawing, painting and putting together scenery.
Another challenge inherent in a show about elementary school children is making college-age actors look younger. One solution is to use oversize furniture and props that dwarf them. For example, at school they will wield giant wooden pencils, and the crew just finished building a six-foot-high sofa.
“They have to scramble like little kids to get onto it,” Weedman said.
Assistant Director Logan Barrett said that the cartoon translates well to the stage.
“These are entirely iconic characters,” Barrett said. “This is the experience of being Lucy, Charlie Brown and Snoopy. Our Charlie Brown (Micah Larsen) is just one of the most adorable things on the face of the planet. He has really embraced the role.”
First week: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday
Second week: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 24 and Saturday, Nov. 25; 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 26
Director: Scott Campbell
Charlie Brown: Larsen
Lucy: Tarnim Bybee, Ali Giordano
Snoopy: Isaac O’Farrell
Linus: Bowen Moreno
Schroeder: Trustin Adams, Christian Bradford
Sally: Whitney Hammond, McKenna Kollman
Woodstock: Actors take turns
Some student crew members:
Stage Manager: Weedman
Assistant stage managers: Johnson, Allye Moyer and Amy Kee
Assistant Director: Barrett
Props: James Coblentz
Hair and makeup: Megan Sutton
Contact Laurie Merrill at (602) 639-6511 or firstname.lastname@example.org.