A musical based on a much-loved comic strip is the latest offering by Tallahassee’s Young Actors Theatre.
This is the stage version of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” in which Nate Jones plays the part of Charlie Brown’s beloved dog Snoopy.
“The show ‘You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown’ is about the life of Charlie Brown and Sally and Lucy and Snoopy and their everyday adventures taken from the Charles Schultz comic and it is a lot of fun!” he explained. “A lot of fun songs and scenes, which we all get to perform together and it’s a blast!”
Another major character is Charlie Brown’s younger sister “Sally,” here played by Haley Root.
“I think overall the show has a great lesson for everybody to find happiness within everything you do every day that may not be super-duper big, but little joyous things that make you happy every day with your friends and family.”
Root believes one of the story’s most powerful lessons is learned by “Lucy,” whose general attitude towards the other kids and life in general is anything but positive.
“Lucy is kind of crabby and throughout the show she learns that crabbiness doesn’t help her with much, it just makes people dislike her so she learns that throughout the show and how to be a better, kinder person. And Charlie is shy throughout most of the show, but he has moments of getting a lot of self-confidence and then it drops a little bit. So watching Charlie gain that confidence and realizing he’s a good man, as the title goes.”
Nate Jones sees Charlie coming to realize that the aspect of his personality that he perceives as a negative is actually essential to his essence as a human being.
“Charlie’s journey through this whole show is very interesting,” he mused. “As everyone’s seen him in the comics, he’s very shy but he also grows as a person. He realizes that maybe that shyness is unique to him and is something that only he has and that makes him special and different from the rest of the characters.”
For all of the cast members of course, there is life after Young Actors Theatre. Jones hopes to continue in the performing arts.
“I am going into my 7th year at YAT (Young Actors Theatre), which is crazy to think about, because it seems like just yesterday I first walked through these doors. Having been in YAT for so many years, it’s given me the training I need for going into musical theatre. When I leave high school I want to pursue musical theatre in college and YAT gives me those experiences and those opportunities to do shows and to work with directors and choreographers that I wouldn’t get at my local high school.”
Root meanwhile has similar aspirations.
“I chose YAT because I used to come see all the shows and it inspired and got me excited. And I’m also the same. I do want to go into musical theatre so I wanted to go to the place that gave me the most training and I think YAT really does that for anybody. Not only if you want to go into theatre but (also) if you want to be a lawyer or any job, I think it gives you self-confidence and boosts your energy and tells you how to speak in front of a crowd. So that’s been training for life, but also musical theatre.”
In charge of this production is Young Actors veteran Artistic Director Robert Stuart. He sees “Charlie Brown” as a stand-in for everyone young and old.
“He is our everyman! We’ve all been Charlie Brown, we’ve all wanted to have a friend, wanted to be a star or on the football team. We’ve all wanted to have a dog as our best friend, to fall in love and to live every day as if it was the last day of our life where we have pure joy and entertainment,” Stuart said. “So it’s a great family show because you can sit there with your children and know that it’s good, clean, wholesome fun and everyone will enjoy it.”
“You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” at Tallahassee’s Young Actors Theatre runs for the next two weekends, April 6th through 15th. Find out more at: www.youngactorstheatre.com.