Friday, May 27, 2016

Relive childhood memories with Charlie Brown and the gang - By Lorraine Glowczak

Happiness. Who couldn’t use a little more of that in their life? Well, get your extra dose of happiness while supporting community theater by attending this weekend’s last performances of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” at the Windham Center Stage Theater (WCST), 8 School Road in Windham.

Shelbi Wassick, in her directorial debut, brings together the various aspect of this musical production superbly. Additionally, the cast members’ extremely impressive and successful performance of this Broadway musical based upon Charles Schultz’s beloved classic comic is beyond remarkable.
The performance opens with each character introducing their peculiar personalities to the audience. 
Each “friend” bluntly reminds Charlie Brown of his shortcomings. But despite his imperfections, Charlie Brown has an enduring quality too. This is made known when the Peanuts gang burst into the first musical score, “You’re a good man, Charlie Brown”, accompanied by background piano music played by music director Patrick Martin. This begins a vignette of moments that capture instances of pure joy followed by flashes of utter hopelessness. In his attempt to find happiness, blunder ridden Charlie Brown wonders why he was even born. Lucy reminds him that although his life is full of missteps he’s not so bad, and “for what it’s worth….you’re you!” 

Experience laughter, awe, and sweetness as Charlie Brown (Anthony DeRice) and the rest of the Peanuts Gang live out their innocent childhood lives in the time span from Valentine’s Day to Beethoven Day. Witness bossy Lucy (Chloe Cyr) as she does her best to win the love of piano prodigy Schroeder (Sean Arsenault), who seems annoyed by her existence. Young Sally (Molly Calden) relentlessly teases blanket toting Linus (William Alexander Wheaton II) who turns out to be a very thoughtful lad. And, of course, there is Snoopy (Harmony Brown) who dreams of being anything other than a dog. Peppermint Patty (Emily Libby) says very little but remains a supporting character to “Chuck” and his quirky friends.

Scene after scene captures the phenomenal talent of every actor and actress. Each adult performer uniquely catches, gives life and remains true to Schultz’s eccentric 5- to 7-year-old characters. Through song, dance, and comedic expression, the audience is entertained fully and completely.
One must not forget that every stage performance is also made successful with the talent behind the scenes. Director and choreographer Shelbi Wassick has been a member with WCST since 1998 and it shows. Her ability to bring together all the complex aspects of this musical production that provides professional entertainment is astonishing. Music director Patrick Martin has been acting and music directing for WCST since 2009 and involved in theater since the sixth grade. He is the musical talent behind Schroeder’s piano playing genius. Other important contributors include Mary Wassick (producer and longtime board member), Darnell Stuart (props and costumes), Charlene Stewart and Angela Cyr (set painters), Giovan Corsetti and Timonty Burton (set builders.)
This is a must see small town performance by talented community performers. There are three shows remaining. Friday, May 27th and Saturday, May 28th at 7 p.m. and Sunday, May 29th at 4 p.m. Reserve your tickets now at: Tickets can also be purchased at the door which opens one hour prior to the performance. Add a little happiness and laughter to your weekend and head down to 8 School Road in Windham. You will not regret it!

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