CATS Stages `You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown’ for 8 Shows at Performing Arts Center

Charlie Brown at Big Bear Performing Arts CenterThe youngsters got their chance 15 years ago. Now adults get to bring out their inner child playing kids roles highlighted by everyone’s favorite loser.

You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown was presented in 2002 by Community Arts Theater Society with an all-youth cast, even though the show was written for adults. Now the grown-ups get their turn for an eight-show run at the Performing Arts Center beginning June 30 at 7:30 p.m., as everybody’s favorite comic strip characters come to life—Snoopy, Linus, Lucy and the whole gang.

A talented cast presents a day in the life of Charlie Brown, courtesy of Schulz’s well-recognized comic strips. From Lucy pulling the football out from Charlie Brown to Snoopy getting more Valentine’s than his master, the familiar story lines unfold vignette style with short snippets straight out of the Sunday funnies.

“This is not Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma or The King and I,” noted CATS’ Karen “Sarge” Rachels. “These are little vignettes, like a cartoon, scenes that make a point.”

Peanuts devotees will recognize the material, be it Charlie Brown’s failures from writing a book report to the baseball diamond, but the musical, which won two Tony Awards and a Drama Desk Award, also features a terrific score. It opens with the title song and ends with “Happiness,” both popular numbers presenting Charlie Brown’s optimism. In between there’s show stoppers like Snoopy’s “Suppertime” and Lucy songs like “Schroeder” and “The Doctor is In.”

“My New Philosophy” is perhaps the show’s most memorable tune, which happened to make Kristin Chenowith a star. Other nice numbers include “The Book Report” and “Beethoven Day.”

Veteran CATS performer Adam McDonald plays Charlie Brown, yellow shirt with squiggly line and all. He’s had several leading roles in CATS shows including Scrooge in A Christmas Carol and Sid in Take Me Along last summer. For this role he’s perfected the art of falling after Lucy yanks the football away.

CHarlie Brown at Big Bear PACCarolyn Freeman Champ plays his nemesis Lucy, bringing years of theater experience to her role. She was one of the Broadway Broads of Big Bear, the hit CATS original, and was also in Annie Get Your Gun. Her background includes two national tours and voiceover work.

Playing Snoopy meanwhile is Evie Nootenboom. Though young she already has a slew of CATS credits with performances in over a dozen productions including three times in A Christmas Carol.

Serena Saunders, who starred in the title role of Annie Get Your Gun along with appearing in The King and I and Broadway Broads, appears as Charlie Brown’s little sister Sally. Timmy Brasher has literally grown up on the CATS stage, growing from Tiny Tim into more adult roles, and now he’s back as a kid again. Troy Obernolte is another homegrown talent who plays Schroeder.

You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown continues with 7:30 p.m. performances on July 1, 3, 5, 7-8 plus 1:30 p.m. Sunday matinees on July 2 and 9. Don’t miss the final CATS production at the PAC (story page 2); tickets are priced from $17-$29 for adults, $16-$27 seniors, $10-$20 child depending on performance.

Call the PAC at (909) 866-4970 or visit the box office for tickets.

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