Charles M. Schulz’s beloved “Peanuts” comic strip characters will come to life this weekend and next in the Orangeburg Part-Time Players’ production of “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown.”
Full of lively music and the antics of the whole “Peanuts” gang, the show is directed by J. Michael Thomas, with musical direction by Blake Cramer and choreography by Vicki Smith King.
Thomas wants people attending the show to get in touch with their inner child.
“I hope that they get to enjoy a little bit of fantasy, a little bit of reliving childhood memories, having grown up with ‘Peanuts.’ It’s all there,” he said.
“Charles Schulz always wanted to have ‘Peanuts’ reflect life from a child’s point of view, and that’s what it is,” he said.
The show stars Coe Dantzler as Charlie Brown, Phyllis Davis as Snoopy, Vicki Smith King as Lucy Van Pelt, Phillip J. Ford as Linus Van Pelt, Laura Bright as Sally Brown and Donald Lee as Schroeder.
Thomas said there are lot of people taking the stage now who grew up in the Junior Part-Time Players.
“These guys have meshed together so well, it’s scary,” Thomas said. “Every once in a while, you have to draw a line and say ‘No, wait a minute, just focus back on the target.’”
“But for the most part, they know exactly what they’re doing,” he said.
The show is a collection of humorous vignettes broken up by song and dance numbers.
“What I like about the show (is) there’s not an overall plot but like basically if the comic strip came to life,” Dantzler said.
“It keeps moving – punchline, songs,” he said.
Dantzler has worked with OPTP for years, but he’s usually a supporting character or in a chorus.
“This is the first time I’ve ever been the title character of a show,” he said.
In preparation for the role, he went back and revisited “Peanuts.” Dantzler read the script and realized that it is “smart and funny. ... It’s not talking down to kids.”
He also realized how much he relates to Charlie Brown, the well-meaning kid who tries and often fails, but keeps going.
“He’s not perfect. He screws up, but he keeps trying. And he has a good heart,” he said.
Ford said he’s excited to be back with OPTP after moving away from Orangeburg for a few years.
“I used to do shows. I started when I was 5,” he said. “Coming back to be part of the Part-Time Players is just really exciting, being a part of the community again.”
He said the show is “a lot of fun.”
“It’s fast-paced -– one line here, another here,” he said. “The cast just meshes well, and we are able to play off of one another very well.”
The production’s book, music and lyrics are by Clark Gesner, with additional dialogue by Michael Mayer and additional music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa.
“Very lively” is how Cramer describes the music for the show.
“The music is kind of straightforward,” he said.
He said the show is formatted like the comic strips.
“It’s like a bunch of little skits put together with some music in it,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to a whole bunch of people coming out,” Thomas said “I’m hoping that the audience turns out. I know that they will enjoy it.”
Davis hopes people coming to the show enjoy it as much as she has.
“I hope they have a good time because I have had a ball playing this part,” she said.
“This has been a great cast and they’ve bonded well. We’ve had our little valleys and now we’re on a high,” she said.
“We’re ready to go, we’re ready to do it,” she said. “I think we’re going to have a great show.”
Show times are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 10 and 11, and Friday and Saturday, Nov. 17 and 18, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 12 and Sunday, Nov. 19. All shows are at the BlueBird Theatre, located at 1141 Russell St., Orangeburg.
Tickets are $19 for adults and $17 for senior citizens and youth under 16. For tickets, call 803-536-5454.