Fall Play: Charlie Brown’s Endearing Cast of Characters Brings Big Laughs to the Stage
The Woodcrest Christian School Drama Department performed a heartwarming and hilarious rendition of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown for the 2021 Fall musical. The beloved family of Charlie Brown characters came to life against a vibrantly colorful set, complete with brightly colored costumes, a bright yellow bus and red Snoopy doghouse, and a life-size comic strip. With eight performances, this play sold out faster than any other show performed by the Drama Department in the Multi-purpose room. “We had only 8 seats left after 12 hours,” says Mrs. Bickett, director of the show.
The cast and crew of 40 drew talent from students as young as first grade through students in their senior year. Our elementary students made up 12 adorable little dancing Woodstocks, and six highly talented high schoolers took on the lead roles.
Currently in his sophomore year, Johnathan Ma starred in his 2nd production for the Woodcrest Christian Drama Department and his first major acting role as Linus. His performance and creative interactions with his infamous blue blanket (who came to life through the skilled performance of dancing 6th grader Tenley Cotsenmoyer), were amazing and has become his favorite role.
Senior Audrey Kell wowed audiences earlier this year in her role as Jo March in the Spring play Little Women. Her acting talent shined through in her ability to play the weighty role of Jo and pivot to the happy-go-lucky Sally, the youngest member of the Charlie Brown gang. Audrey has performed in 18 theatrical productions in and out of school, seven of those being performed with the Woodcrest Christian Drama Department.
In his first production at Woodcrest Christian, Liam Elliott landed the quintessential role of Charlie Brown. Liam brings experience from other shows he has performed outside of school including starring as Peter Pan’s shadow in Peter Pan and his favorite role as the Beast in Beauty and the Beast.
Having moved to Riverside just this year, newcomer Elisabeth (Betsy) Hendrickson is not a stranger to being on stage and has been in nine productions before starting her junior year here at Woodcrest Christian. Betsy portrayed the loveable and mischievous Snoopy, bringing so much energy to the stage, and giving a comedic and impossible-not-to-love performance.
Certainly a character that everyone knows and loves, the feisty Lucy was played by sophomore Bella Gianatassio-Pina making this her third production at Woodcrest Christian. Bella says she put in a lot of character research which showed in her phenomenally dynamic and often dramatic depiction of Lucy.
As a junior this year, Micah Suk has performed in five shows for the Woodcrest Christian Drama Department. He masterfully took on the role of Schroeder interacting charmingly with the ever-persistent Lucy and serenading the audience with his “piano playing” as only Schroeder can play.
With incredible color to add to the lively list of characters and ensemble actors, the set was designed by Mrs. Bickett and Karlee Metschke (Class of 2018) who, along with the Set Production Class, painted the majority of all the set pieces by hand. Karlee was also responsible for hand-painting the life-size comic strip which came to life with characters during the show.
The pint-sized characters of the Peanuts family have become a significant facet of American culture. Like all good artists, their creator, Charles Schulz, used his art not only to hold up a mirror to the human condition, but to point to the way things ought to be. And for Schulz that was overtly Christian: his characters unabashedly quote Scripture and discuss theological questions. He was even quoted as saying, “I preach in these cartoons, and I reserve the same rights to say what I want to say as the minister in the pulpit.” But how can you make that acceptable to a culture that was (and still is) running from religion as fast as it could? Just let Charlie Brown, Linus Van Pelt, and the rest of this endearing cast of pee-wee characters disarmingly present a biblical view of life. So, sit back and enjoy the show, but don’t be surprised if you hear something profound “out of the mouths of these babes.”
Putting in hours of preparation and practice, the students and staff in our Drama Department did an outstanding job! Each year excitement builds as the Spring Play approaches, and we look forward to what next year holds! Stay tuned!