Charlie Brown: A Good Man, Yes, But So Wishy-washy

Peanuts Pal Around In Whs Production

January 09, 1991|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Staff writer

WESTMINSTER — If only he weren't so wishy-washy, say his friends, Charlie Brown could be a king.

Lucy, Linus, Schroeder and Snoopy and the gang willoffer a little help for their pal, as students get into the cartoon characters and perform "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown."

Show time is 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday at Westminster High School.

"The musical is a really cute show, full of fun," said Mary Lou Grout, teacher and director. "With the many vignettes worked into the plot, everyone gets featured at one time or another."

The cast of 23 is as varied as the characters they play and includes one foreign exchange student and one WHS graduate.

Tobias Bonwetsch, who is spending his senior year of high school away from his family in Hamburg, Germany, said Grout encouraged him to audition for apart. He picked up a blanket and landed the role of Linus.

A veteran of several school productions in Germany, the 17-year-old also has lived in England and said he has had no problem mastering his lines.

"Linus has quite a lot to say," he said. "The show has some great funny moments, and I really enjoy the singing."

Ryan Grabowski wandered back to his former high school for a visit during his college's semester break. He left with the script and the role of Schroeder.

"Ryan just happened to be here when one of the students had to bow out because of illness," said Grout. "His experience has been a great help. I don't have to stop and explain things to him."

Grout has high praise for the entire cast. Many of them are in her drama class and several are in the school chorus.

After seven weeks of rehearsing with the cast and with individuals, working with costumes, lighting and set adjustments, she said she is confident all the stars will shine.

She chose this show because "it gives the audience a lot" and reminds everyone of childhood.

"The production is not for little children," she said. "Rather it is for the child within all of us."

The plot moves from the hero's awakening to a "bad, awful day"and ends as he happily overcomes his problems and pronounces the world a beautiful place.

"Children wouldn't understand a lot of the lines, but kids in high school can relate to all of it," said W. ShaneWebster, 18, who plays the hero.

The characters represent Everyman, Grout added. Most people can identify with Charlie Brown, his frustrations and failings. Brandy-Lynn Reese, 16, said the familiarity ofthe characters makes the cast's job a little more difficult.

"Everybody reads 'Peanuts' and has an idea of how the gang should act," said Reese, who has acted in other WHS productions as well as Theatre on the Hill. "I get to be a dog in this show."

With two musical solos and a lot of speaking parts, Snoopy has more than "woof" to say, she said.

Naturally, Charlie Brown has the most to say and is the most difficult character to portray. Grout gave Webster the job of filling the hero with the right mixture of dismay and perplexity.

"We don't want Charlie to look stupid on purpose," said Grout.

Grouthas drawn some fellow teachers into the act, too. From the audience,they will speak the only adult lines, "wah, wah, wah."

Tickets are $3 for everyone except senior citizens, who will be admitted for free. Advertising the production is easy, added Reese.

"Everybody knows what this play is about," she said. "And, everybody knows how funny it is."

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.