by Michael Meigs
As fresh as the ink of the morning paper on a bright fall day, the Wimberley Players' staging of You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown is big, bold and beautiful. And so is the cast; director Jim Lindsay has handpicked some of the most attractive talent from the region.
Did you know that this musical by Clark Gesner is approaching its 50th birthday? You'd never know it from this production. The original version was done in 1967, and in 1998 performers using the revised script presented in this Wimberley production took two Tony awards. And Charlie Brown himself, if he weren't ageless, would be almost ready to qualify for Social Security, for Charles Schultz's first four-panel strip featuring him was published on October 2, 1950.
|Ryley Wilson (photo: Leanne Brawner Photography)|
Schultz drew the comic strip for fifty years, so that tiny community of primary schoolers has a rich and diverse history of incident. The situations onstage are instantly recognizable and bring smiles to faces in the audience.
Ryley Wilson in the title role has Charlie's yellow shirt with the zig-zag, a fugitive kite, and that mild, yearning and baffled presence. Kristi Brawner as Lucy van Pelt is adorably heedless, loud and self-certain -- comically capturing childish speech and emphasis with her frequent prolongation of initial consonants ("You're a Buh-LOCKHEAD!")
Part of the pleasure of seeing mature but young actors in these roles is the irony of age difference: grown men are returned to the tentative innocents they once were, while the actresses giving Schultz's girls their endearing brashness are at the same time very attractive young women.
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