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'You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown' at Wallis Theater

“Peanuts” cartoon gang takes the stage July 1 to Aug. 8

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June 23, 2010 | by Judy Moore
Video produced by Matt Paolelli

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Six- to 86-year-olds will be equally entertained by the stage antics of "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown," the ageless musical based on cartoonist Charles M. Schulz's classic comic strip, "Peanuts." Including everything from the trials of first love to Little League championships, the Theatre and Interpretation Center (TIC) at Northwestern University's production runs from July 1 to Aug. 8.

Part of TIC's 2010 Summer Music Theatre Festival, the 1999 Tony Award-winning Broadway revival features additional music and lyrics by award-winning composer and lyricist Andrew Lippa ("The Addams Family") and additional dialogue by stage and film director Michael Mayer.

Directed and choreographed by Northwestern alumna Katie Spelman, "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" will take place at the Hal and Martha Hyer Wallis Theater, 1949 Campus Drive, Evanston campus.

Performances will be at 7 p.m. Thursday through Friday; 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday; and 2 p.m. Sunday. There will not be a performance Sunday, July 4. On Saturday, July 24 there will only be one performance at 2 p.m., and only a 10 a.m. performance Saturday, Aug. 7. Abridged Friday morning or matinee performances at 10 a.m. or 1 p.m. also are available to groups of 25 or more.

Northwestern's production of the classic tale captures a day in the life of the inept but ever-hopeful Charlie Brown. It chronicles the lessons he learns from sister Sally, bossy Lucy, brainy Linus, Beethoven super-fan Schroeder, savvy beagle Snoopy and the elusive Little Red-Haired Girl.

"The show is comprised of vignettes," said Spelman, a Chicago-area native who earned a bachelor of arts and certificate in music theatre from Northwestern's School of Communication in 2009. "It starts with six bored five- and-six year-olds, who upon discovery of a coffee table book of comic strips, decide to use their imagination and act out cartoons."

The two-act family production embodies playfulness, imagination and enjoyment of the simpler things in life. To convey this, Spelman based her choreography on the behavior of children and the way their bodies naturally move to music.

The costume design by MFA graduate student Emily Tarleton reflects the everyday wardrobe of a child, and each actor becomes his or her "Peanuts" character based on clothing typically found in a child's closet.

"This cast has fully embraced the show's silliness and sweetness, its humor and its hopefulness," said Spelman. "And it's my hope that children in the audience will get a taste of the fun they can have through the power of imagination while adult viewers return to the first loves and fond memories of their childhood."

Single tickets are $25 for the general public; $22 for seniors 65 and older and Northwestern faculty and staff and area educators and administrators; and $10 for full-time students. Discounted group tickets also are available.

Subscriptions and single tickets to all 2010 Summer Music Theatre Festival productions may be purchased through the TIC Box Office at (847) 491-7282 or online at http://www.tic.northwestern.edu.

Topics: Campus Life