Archbishop Carroll Theatre Society gets an A+ in YOU’RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN

by Laura and Keith Clattenburg

In 1950, Charles M. Schulz created the first Peanuts comic strip. In 2013, TV Guide ranked Peanuts the Fourth Greatest TV Cartoon of All Time. On December 4, Archbishop Carroll Theater Society (ACTS) will take to the stage with YOU’RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN with humor, insight, music, song, and dance. It is a delight for children of all ages, as well as anyone who has ever been a child.

The show is “an average day in the life of Charlie Brown.” It really is just that, a day made up of little moments picked from all the days of Charlie Brown, from Valentine’s Day to the baseball season, from wild optimism to utter despair, all mixed in with the lives of his friends (both human and non-human) and strung together on the string of a single day, from bright uncertain morning to hopeful starlit evening.

With only six main characters in the actual script, mastermind director Missy Piffath (class of ‘97) crafted together a cast of over 50 students to perform this highly energized musical, adding human props such as birds and blankets and memorable roles such as Woodstock (Katie DiMedio), Peppermint Patty (Carly Polizzi) and Marcy (Molly Dorsey), Rerun (Tommy Donovan), Pig Pen (Finbar Byrne), and Violet (Gigi Garifo), to name a few.

The main character Charlie Brown (Andrew Noyle) is both befriended by all and ostracised by everyone; a loser-yet-leader who rises out of every downfall with shining hope and determination. If you think about it, there is a little Charlie Brown in all of us. Noyle not only looks the part, he played it extremely well throughout the show, especially as he’s lovesick over the Little Red Headed Girl (Samantha DeCarlo) and stressed about a book report.

Jess Bisch played the mean-tempered yet lovelorn Lucy in well-rehearsed spry animated movements and crabby voice that is accentuated in her singing. Her performance was hysterical. Nina Straface portrayed the annoying little sister Sally with appealing funny facial expressions and childlike high-pitched voice. Gifted crooner Charlie Harrison played blanket-abiding thumb-sucking Linus. First class singers and dancers were Austy Hicks as Schroeder and Brett Schratz as Snoopy. Although everyone delivered a superb performance, these two truly stood out. The large ensemble was the heart of the show with great harmonies and their dancing.

Producer Liz McDonald and Music Director Marie Anderson ensure no dull moments throughout the performance. Even the scene changes are entertaining as the well-played orchestra, conducted by Dan Matarazzo, provided the vamps. Cartoon-like oversized set (Matthew Barth) and props (Juliana Khanuja), colorful costumes, (Nancy Hicks) and Jenna Rogalski’s dynamic choreography pulled together an A+ performance.

Based on The Comic Strip “Peanuts” by Charles M. Schulz
Book, Music and Lyrics by Clark Gesner
Directed by Missy Piffath
December 4-7, 2014
Archbishop Carroll Theatre Society
211 Matson Ford Road
Radnor, PA 19087
610-688-7610 x113

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