As sure as we know Lucy van Pelt will pull the football away as Charlie Brown goes to kick it, we also know that it is time for high school Spring musicals. This year the Littlestown High School has chosen “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown!” as its musical production. Produced by English teacher, Michael Baker and guest directed and choreographed by Brittany Stevens from The Vault Theater in Hanover, this year’s musical boasts two complete casts.
Unfortunately, COVID has put a new spin on showcasing this production. Along with using a recorded track for all musical numbers, there will be no live public audience and every cast and crew member receives only six tickets for family and friends to one of the four shows. Each grouping of six will sit in a pod within the auditorium allowing for social distancing.
And the show will not be streamed online. “We did try to look into live streaming it, but that wasn’t offered with these rights or royalties,” stated Mr. Baker. “We used to perform excerpts for all the schools, and unfortunately that was put on hold for this year.”
The show is a series of sketches that mimic Charles Schultz’s comic strips and feature one or more characters in each sketch. The score includes tunes like “My New Philosophy”, “Book Report”, “The Doctor is In”, and “Suppertime”. “This year is the first year that we are working without live musicians,” said Baker.
Rehearsals for the musical began in January, and Senior, Brock Erwin took up his role as one of the two Charlie Browns. About his character, Erwin said, “He is funny and he is just trying to make his way through life.” After graduation, Erwin said he would like to continue in theater, but somewhere other than Adams County.
Charlie Brown’s best friend, according to Erwin, is Snoopy. “He is my best friend in the show, my little buddy. He’s like my sidekick.”
For guest director Brittany Stevens it is her first time working with two casts. “It has been a lot of fun working with two different groups of kids. They each approach the text and music differently,” she said.
There will be four shows split between the two casts. The first cast will perform on March 11th and 13th at 7:00 p.m. The second cast will perform on March 12th at 7:00 p.m. and March 13th at 2:00 p.m.
Charlie Brown will be played by Christian Keller (1st) and Brock Erwin (2nd), Snoopy by Keira Lee and Cambell Wootton, Lucy van Pelt by Taylor Hollie and Jamie Hamilton, Linus van Pelt by Trent Boritz and Derek Reed, Sally Brown by Kaelonnah Darlich and Chloe Sentz, and Schroder by Nick Albright and Chase Wootton.
Other ensemble members include: Cayden Windisch as Peppermint Pattie, Ella Scott as Marcie, Brooklyn Pyren as Pigpen, Juliette Vides as Frida, Kaylie Kurland as Violet, and Danielle Keck as Clara. The Stage Manager is Hannah Shelley. She is assisted by crew members Delaney Smetanick and Morgan Buckmaster, lighting hand Makayla Reiter, and soundman Brandon Morgret.
Keira Lee said it best, “I love the message it gives at the end.” The musical’s closing number is “Happiness Is…”. The producer, director, and students agree that “Happiness Is…” the hope that in the next school year they can perform for a packed house in the high school auditorium, bringing a little theater back to the public.