Director Julie Seidl is working with 24 high school students for the St. Joseph Catholic Academy’s fall musical, but it feels more like she’s corralling a bunch of 6-year-olds.
That’s because Seidl is directing “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.”
The musical, with music and lyrics by Clark Gesner, is based on the characters — including Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy, Snoopy, Sally and Schroeder — created by cartoonist Charles M. Schulz in his comic strip Peanuts.
And those characters are young children.
“I told the teens in our cast that they have to act like little children,” she said. “And little children are in their own little worlds — they’re innocent, they’re spontaneous and full of love and compassion.
“Once they got that, everything kicked in. Little children are all doing their own thing.”
The Peanuts characters, who have been around since Charles M. Schulz created the comic strip in 1950, continue to appeal to people “because they are children and children do the same crazy things,” Seidl said.
“Everyone can relate to them because everyone at one time was a child. All children learn the same things: How to be kind to each other and have empathy and respect; those types of lessons.”
Seidl said she finds herself “tearing up at times because some of the kids had no idea what Peanuts is, and they are on stage portraying these characters who were so relevant in my lifetime.”
“The show is innocent but packs a powerful statement that happiness really is something very, very basic: It’s love and caring and having a friend who’s there for you no matter how many times you argue. It’s being OK with the person who drops the baseball; it’s forgiveness.
“These lessons are still so very important, and these kids are getting it.”
When asked why someone should come to this show, Seidl said, “It will bring back memories of when they were young. It’s refreshing and endearing, and you just can’t help but walk away feeling good.”
“You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” premiered off-Broadway on March 7, 1967, with “MASH” star Gary Burghoff as Charlie Brown. The St. Joseph production is the 1999 Broadway revival, tweaked with new dialogue and songs, Seidl said.
That Broadway production starred Anthony Rapp (“Rent,” “Star Trek: Discovery”) as Charlie Brown, B.D. Wong (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”) as Linus and theater superstars Kristin Chenoweth and Roger Bart as Sally and Snoopy. Chenoweth and Bart won Tony Awards for the show.
PHOTOS: Lincoln Park Live: Betsy Ade & the Well-Known Strangers
Betsy Ade & the Well-Known Strangers — a band made up of Ade on vocals, Cameron Fair on cello and piano, Brittany Lumley playing multiple instruments and backing vocals, Roger Gower Jr. on drums, John Kulas on the bass and Joe Adamek on lead guitar — played a two-hour set at the latest installment of Lincoln Park Live in Lincoln Park, 6900 18th Ave., on Tuesday, July 17.
Here are a roundup of photos of the band performing at the event.
Betsy Ade and the Well-Known Strangers, seen here performing in Lincoln Park during the summer, are playing in Pennoyer Park Saturday as part …