You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown at Roscoe Middle School: happiness


Henry Simpson played the lovable Linus who was fighting separation anxiety from his blanket, Payton Schnaper. Photos: Kristen Simpson

Roscoe Middle School's cast and crew told the heartwarming and thought provoking story of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown during the weekend of March 8-10, 2024.

The musical in two acts was based on the Peanuts comic strip which is familiar to many, created by Charles M. Schulz. The original show's book, music and lyrics were written by Clark Gesner. It premiered off-Broadway in 1967. Michael Mayer created additional dialogue for a 1999 revival, with additional music and lyrics written by Andrew Lippa.

The show was a mixture of comedy, fun and catchy dance numbers, incredible vocals, detailed and colorful costumes all blended with multi-layered storytelling.

Under the direction of Melissa Middleton, an ultra talented cast of 19, some taking on dual roles, worked alongside a full production crew.

Snoopy and Sally went chasing rabbits in a scene from Roscoe Middle School's You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown. Photo; Kristen Simpson

As soon as the curtain came up, action rolled flawlessly as a full ensemble performed the title number, “You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown.” The song outlines both the character's flaws and strengths. This opener carried the right energy to move the show along at a ideal pace.

As Charlie Brown (Leo Wolf) was prompted to “Get on the Bus,” a bus powered by actors rolled across the stage.

Wolf skillfully depicted the shy and insecure Charlie Brown. His vocal inflection hit the right mark as he spoke in even tones. He allowed the audience to connect with how Charlie Brown was feeling in every scene.

Henry Simpson realistically portrayed the highly lovable Linus van Pelt, who had a strong connection with his blanket (Payton Schnaper) as he fought with separation anxiety. Fun, and certainly challenging, choreography set the scene as dancing blankets took center stage. This routine came to life through the use of special techniques performed by Nicholas Archer, Natalee Braden, Bri Greving, Kellan Krischke and Cole Weber.

In the next scene, Charlie Brown attempted to fly his kite, but met with challenges. This was accompanied by the song “The Kite.”

“The Book Report” set the scene for the struggles that can come with learning and meeting deadlines. This scene is masterfully used with extra large pencils and giant sized notebooks. A screen featured sheets filled with information and typical school assignments.

Cooper Wellen portrayed Schroeder who played a bright yellow piano as Lucy made a pitch to him. Schroeder led an ensemble in celebrating “Beethoven Day.”

Mary Kate Alberstett was convincing in the role of Peppermint Patty. In the song, “Hurry Up Face,” she expresses a wish to be prettier.

Molly Matuska was outstanding as the lovable Snoopy. Matuska's use of the doghouse displayed her physical ability and her strong comedic prowess.

Matuska shone brightly during the fun and catchy musical numbers, “Snoopy and The Red Baron,” with a life size yellow fire hydrant.

"Suppertime" featured a choir who joined Snoopy on stage while wearing green choir robes. Together this number brought the house down.

Snoopy was joined by a choir as the number, "Suppertime" was performed, bringing the house down. Photo: Kristen Simpson

Opening the second act, Sally shared “My New Philosophy” with Schroeder. Grace McClarty shone as Charlie Brown's sister, Sally.

“The Baseball Game” outlined expectations on the field, the options of winning or losing, and what it means to be part of a team.

Charlie Brown and his friends reviewed the ins and outs of playing baseball. Photos: Kristen Simpson

“Glee Club Rehearsal” showed the best of the entire ensemble, highlighting strong vocals.

Lucy, her youngest brother Rerun, and Charlie Brown reviewed “Little Known Facts” as Rerun van Pelt (portrayed by Kellan Krischke) brought out Rerun's warm and friendly personality.

Haily Jang mastered her character of Lucy van Pelt. Jang perfectly timed out the places where she emoted, exactly as Lucy does in the cartoon.

Lucy gave Charlie Brown advice from a psychiatric booth, which sat front and center where “The Doctor is In.” At the end of their session, Lucy asked for five cents to cover her time.

Wylee Bergstrom was convincing as Pigpen.

Nicholas Archer played Roy. Cole Weber was 555 95472- (FIVE.) Payton Schnaper also portrayed Shermy.

Monika Jahn was Violet Gray, Olivia Cordnell played the role of Patty.

Bri Greving played Freda. Natalee Braden was Marcie. The little yellow birds who greeted Snoopy were Olivia Cornell and Monika Jahn.

A few of the cast members also served on different crews. Assistant directors were Katie Clark and Maddi Smith. Student assistants were Kendall Spearman, and Ali Spencer.

Dance numbers were choreographed by Katie Clark.

Behind the set design were the talented hands of Melissa Middleton, and Chad Dickman. Painting of the sets was done by Sophie Dupuis, Aiden Ehrlich, Addy Elting, Aaron Insko, Tom Kalhagen, Ella Lensing, Brooklyn Malcolmson, Melissa Middleton, Maddi Smith and Brandie White.

The set construction crew: Chad Dickman, James Jobson who created an extra large, pink armchair and Melissa Middleton. Middleton also did the costuming, and the media design. Kristen Simpson was the official photographer.

Lily Picot gave artistic consultation and support, also assisting with props that were used in specific scenes. Fran Middleton also assured that props were properly placed and used wisely.

Ali Spencer served as the music director. Barb Clucas did costume alterations.

Lighting the stage were: Alison Greving, Carter Lakey, Kyler Mears, and Natalie Urness. Russell Gilbert helped with Lighting, consultation and support.

Operating the projection was Amadeo Garcia. Projection artists: Olivia Coronell, Kailee Jeras, Kellan Krischke, and Kennedy Leitner.

Calvin Scott managed the sound.

Hours of hard work paid off earning the cast and crew a standing ovation.

In the final number of the show, the cast reminded everyone of different ways to celebrate true “Happiness.”

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