Saturday night I went to Nashville to see the Brown County Playhouse’s production of Clark Gesner’s musical "You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown." Although, I take full responsibility for this review, I must begin by reporting that I am the husband and father of a household with divided opinions.
We’ll get to those opinions soon, but first some facts. "You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown" is the opening show at the Brown County Playhouse. The production is economically directed and neatly choreographed by George Pinney. Music Director Michael Slon , who leads the show from the piano, has done a good job of preparing a cast of actors that all sing well. Wes Peters has put together a delightful set with a very nice whimsical feel.
The show is about those things that the "Peanuts" strip focused on. There is Linus with his dependance on his blanket. Shroeder is the artist lost in his music. Lucy is the bossy older sister who is right just often enough to keep her precarious place. Charlie Brown is the all American striver with the focus on lost kites and the annual disastrous baseball season..
Of the cast, I especially enjoyed the wild whimsey of Ben Cohen as the irrepressible Snoopy. Stan Wash had the proper balance of forlorn hope and dark foreboding that make Charlie Brown like some of us all the time and most of us some of the time. Megan McKinney was always on top and ready for battle as Lucy. I had forgotten about the musical number that has all the characters coping, characteristically, with a book report on "Peter Rabbit. Lucy was counting her hundred words out, word by word. Linus was doing some deep criticism and Charlie Brown was simply giving up. I especially enjoyed the way music, words and character all worked together
Now to those divided opinions. My wife, who is far from uncritical and committed the recording of the show to memory years ago, thought it an excellent production by a fine cast. My son, who’s frequently critical though more familiar with the tv productions than the original, offers that it was good and all the actors can really sing. Frankly, I wasn’t much moved by most of it and kept seeing tired adult actors instead of fresh kids on stage, but must register this as a minority opinion.