You're a Good Man Charlie Brown

NORTH CREEK Charles M. Schulz was the comic strip genius who taught generations of Peanuts fans that life and art imitate each other. North Country residents had the pleasure of remembering Schulzs insights in July while watching the Seagle Music Colonys lively production of Youre a Good Man Charlie Brown. Charlie Browns basic questions are those of children and adults alike. Do people like me? Did I say the right thing? Or the wrong thing? Can I improve myself? Can I do better? Charlies friends are not reassuring; they are frank in telling him of his failures and weak points. Even his dog Snoopy is not a big fan, except at suppertime. But it is Charlie himself who is his worst enemy; this boy knows his flaws all too well. Seagles young artists, all in their 20s, did well at pretending to be little kids, and complicated little kids at that. Director Clyde Berry clearly knows that the characters are as much adult as they are children, but he kept the childlike behavior constant and he milked every drop of humor from the amusing book. Music Director Christopher Devlin won the audiences applause for his spirited performance on the piano. Dan Kempson, clearly headed for Broadway, was excellent as Charlie, the conflicted young person whose angst delighted comic strip fans for so many years. Kempsons smooth baritone reflected all the nuances of Charlies hopes and sorrows. Desiree Maira handled the difficult role of Lucy with apparent ease, never moving one iota from the character of the perpetually irritating nemesis to Charlie Brown. Lucy is the classic villainess, the little meanie who knows how to inflict pain and takes pleasure in doing so. Seagle audiences will hope to see Ms. Maira in other roles, in which her fine mezzo voice is displayed. Mikeal Allen put his flexible face to good use as Linus, the blanket-toting toddler with astonishing intellectual prowess. His Linus was capable of leaping over the furniture, writing a psychological analysis of Peter Rabbit and sucking his thumb with gusto. Joseph Shadday gave a perfect performance of the song Suppertime, strutting and vamping his way around the stage to the delight of his viewers. Shadday revealed his talent to Seagle audiences early this season with his rendition of Sit Down Youre Rocking the Boat from Guys and Dolls. Lane Johnson was amusing as the piano-playing Schroeder, a Beethoven fan of the first order. His tall form bent over a small piano while he delivers a sonata was a funny sight indeed. He rebuffs Lucy in her attempts to wed him, leading her to complain: My Aunt Marion was right. Never try to discuss marriage with a musician. Amy Cahill was well cast as Charlies little sister, a child who never has an original idea. Ms. Cahill reminded the audiences of her successes last season as Luisa in The Fantasticks and the princess in The Goose Girl. This was an excellent cast, fully committed to the show and displaying exceptional voices. Maybe you didnt have to be a fan of Charles Schulzs comic strip to enjoy this production. But if you enjoyed the Peanuts characters over all those years, you had to love Seagles presentation of Charlie Brown. The show has played at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts, Boathouse Theater in Schroon Lake and Tannery Pond Center in North Creek. The Seagle Music Colony will present Puccinis La Boheme July 30 though August 2 and The Magic Flute, August 13-16.

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