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“You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown”

★★★★★ Another opening! Another Show! A children’s show, and guess what? I have no little ones to bring. I have had a few guests help me along the way, but they are all busy with other projects, so off to the Marriott, alone, without a “kid” to help me. Once again, as I took my seat I found a smiling face, Tyler Baldocchi, who was in attendance with Mom and Grandma ( although she looked very young). Tyler said that she would be my guide. Tyler lives in Vernon Hills and attends Hawthorn Aspen Elementary School. I watched her face during the performance of “You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown” now on the stage at Marriott. One could see the gleaming smile, ear to ear explaining why she gave it a ★★★★★.

For those of you unaware of this show, it is a one hour story allowing us to meet and watch the famous cartoon characters from Charles Schultz “Peanuts” comics come to life. The slick production is directed and choreographed by Linda Fortunato, who truly gets her performers to bring their best to the stage. To think, they are up and going at 10 a.m. on a Saturday morning with the highest of energy levels, bringing famous cartoon characters to life.

The show is filled with highlights from cartoons we have watched over the years. Here we have  Charlie Brown (Patrick Michael Tierney)  as the main character and we watch him do his “girl with the red hair” lunch routine, fly a kite, play baseball, visit with Lucy (Tafadzwa Diener is a hoot) for psychoanalysis. Linus is played to perfection by Jackson Evans who does a tap dance routine regarding his “blanket”. The piano playing Schroeder is played by Matthew Bettencourt and it appears that he is actually playing Beethoven’s works. Charlie’s sister Sally ( Amanda Walker is adorable) is fun to watch and has a great number of little one-liners that are very funny. Her song about her new strategy is quite a lesson and last but not least is Snoopy (Andres Enriquedas truly makes this puppy a delight). What a great cast!

What you see is little snippets from many of the hundreds of daily cartoons and TV specials all rolled in to a one hour live musical play. Marriott has been exposing kids to theater for many years. Once kids see live theater they will want to see more, and in many cases, these youngsters see that this is something they want to do as well. The show ends with the cast singing “Happiness Is” and they do another version after they take their bows. I know that today’s crowd LOVED what they saw as did Tyler and I.

What is truly neat is that after the show is over, the actors stay on stage and the audience gets an opportunity to learn more about the show, the people who make the costumes and the props as well as ask questions. This makes the experience even more memorable for the kids ( and their adult companions).

The costumes by Evelyn Danner are true to those we have seen in the “funnies” and the sound ( Rick Sims) is perfect. The lighting by Lee Fiskness and the props/set by Patrick Ham make the show easy to follow and understand, yet because Marriott is in-the-round, we are never blocked. Even Scoop’s Dog House never makes it hard to see.

“You’re A Good man Charlie Brown” will continue at Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire thru April 1st.