The Pumpkin Theatre ends its 44th season on a high note with a jubilant production of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.”
The audience reflected the Peanuts’ appeal over time as the mix of generations all seemed equally happy to visit a day in the life of Charlie Brown and the gang. Told in a series of vignettes and musical numbers, it could easily be a chopped up series of punch lines. But the Pumpkin Theatre creates the right balance of comedy, characterization and musicality.
Those who know the story well find it refreshing to revisit the group of six-year-olds who are precocious but not cloying, and just as sweet, funny and observant as you remembered.
Dean Davis is the heart of the show with his appealing Charlie Brown, the perpetual underdog who dares to hope and makes the audience root for his success. His monologue about unrequited love for the “little red-haired girl” is the most touching moment of the show as Davis sympathetically unravels a bundle of anxieties and insecurities over a peanut butter sandwich. If Charlie Brown provides the wounded emotion, Linus is the philosophical intellect. Drew Gaver charms the audience with profound reflections done with a lisp and a blue blanket.
Lucy admits she’s cranky and wants to be queen, but Stacey Needle makes you like her anyway. She will probably end up as a CEO in her future life. If Lucy is mostly ego, Schroeder is the conscience of the show. In a world without adults (except for an occasional” wahwah”), he is the most mature character, but Michael Perrie, Jr. knows how to bring out the obsessive focus of a six-year-old Beethoven fanatic.
Tammy Crisp’s Sally is adorable, hilarious and potentially dangerous. She mesmerized the audience with her soliloquy on the injustice of getting a C in coat hanger sculpting like a trial lawyer who just happens to also be age four. Don’t mess with Sally.
Gary Dieter steals the show with Snoopy, the beagle with a grandiose imagination and the exuberant number “Suppertime”. By the time you get to the soothing “Happiness Is…”, you’ll feel you’ve had a full meal of comfort food for the soul.
The next performances are on June 23 and 24 at 1 and 3 p.m. at St. Timothy's School, 8400 Greenspring Ave. Tickets are $13 in advance, $15 at the door and available by calling the box office at (410) 828-1814 or visiting www.pumpkintheatre.com.