You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown

For Pure Fun and Frivolity
You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown
The Musical
By April 28 at NTC

On Sunday, April 14, 2019, from the moment the performance began until it ended, the audience smiled, laughed/giggled, and cheered.  It was almost as though Director Michael Ross type-cast every role — their voices, their looks, and their actions — everyone was in character from beginning to end.  This production is based on the “Peanuts” funnies by Charles M. Shulz, the book by John Gordon with music and lyrics by Clark Gesner.

The Michael Walraven set design was a very clever playground — alive with caricature-posters of the whole Peanuts gang and the perfect dog house for Snoopy.  The Orchestra, under the superb Musical Direction of Lucas Sherman, showed its expertise, especially with each and every musical emphasis on specific cast actions/cues, matching the perfect choreography of Marilyn Izdebski; for example, Linus  with his blankey (delightfully and skillfully performed by Lorenzo Alviso)— with the rest of the cast then  joining him (Lucy, Sally, Charlie Brown, and Snoopy).

Kudos to the entire cast for their courage (and talents) to be “kids,” again.  Given that every cast member was excellent in their role, it is difficult to select a standout portrayal.  That said, the role of Snoopy was definitely the most difficult, and Jake Gale was outstanding as a dancer/singer and with every bark and growl, and every howl at the moon (his Red Baron bit was hilarious perfection). Charlie Brown (performed by Robert Nelson), the biggest kid of all, was a sensitive, vulnerable (“it’s hard on every face when it gets laughed in”), kind, and a good friend (with a beautiful singing voice, as well).  Tika Moon (as Lucy) demonstrated her funny, multi-talent-self, including her ability to shift between glorious operatic chops and her Lucy-character-vocals with such ease and grace. Schroeder (played by Paul Hogarth) may be a dullard but there was nothing “dull” about his interactions with Lucy at his make-believe piano! And the rabbit-round was charming — with perfect sound effects. Rounding out this wonderful cast was Julianne Thompson Bretan, the effervescent Sally, who performed a show-stopper with Schroeder in her singing and dancing “shtick” of “My New Philosophy.”

Kudos to the Orchestra — without which this marvelous production would have tanked! From the intro to the bows, these musicians were “instrumental” and indispensable to the success of this performance:  Lucas Sherman (keyboards); Felicia McFall (Violin/Viola); Trevor Acebo (Reeds); Jeff Sherman (Bass); and Quinten Cohen (Drums).

Kudos to the Production Staff with zero weak links: Director Michael Ross; Music Director Lucas Sherman; Choreographer, Lighting Assistant and Producer Marilyn Izdebski; Stage Manager, Diane Pickell-Gore; Set Designer/Builder Michael Walraven; Lighting Designer Frank Sarubbi; Costume Designer Michael Ross; Sound Design Aaron Yoffe/Sound Logic, Inc.; Props Cindy Morris; Asst. Stage Manager Will Lamers; Scenic Artist Kristy Arroyo; Light Board Operator Hunter Ward; Follow Spot Operators Heath Oty, Lauren Oty, and Mary Weinberg; Lighting Riggers Electric Bill Weinberg, Hunter Ward, and Aaron Yoffe; Production Photographer Fred Deneau; Publicity Karin Conn PR; Program Mark Clark.

By Elle Alexa Simon on behalf of and with
Flora Lynn Isaacson, Critic, San Francisco Bay Area Critics Circle

You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown began its run at NTC on April 5th and is slated to close
April 28th.

Don’t miss this superb production at the home of Novato Theater Company, 5420 Nave Drive, Novato. Reserve seats by telephone at 415/883-4498 for 8:00 pm performances on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, as well as for Matinee performances on Sundays.