The popular Peanuts characters came to life on the St. Lawrence Academy stage as Santa Clara’s only Catholic high school performed You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown March 26-28.
“It’s one of my favorite plays,” said Director Mary Carroll, adding in her director notes that, as one of the first musicals she saw as a child, it holds a special place in her heart. “We’re having sort of a transition year where a lot of kids graduated and it seemed like an appropriate show to rebuild because it has a smaller cast.”
Although the cast has only six characters (Charlie Brown, Lucy van Pelt, Linus van Pelt, Sally Brown, Schroeder and Snoopy), Carroll got creative in order to incorporate her 32 actors into the storyline. Each character in the St. Lawrence performance had a name, backstory and was created by Charles Schulz during the nearly 50 years he drew the comic strip.
Seniors Kristina Lindh (last seen in Saint Lawrence’s fall drama, Arsenic and Old Last as Martha Brewster) and Jonathan Russo stood out as Sally and Charlie Brown, but the entire cast showed enthusiasm and passion for their craft, some of which had no idea they could sing until they auditioned for their roles.
“Linus (Samir Sekon) is a senior who did not even know he could sing until he took my choir class, and now he wants to minor in music,” said Carroll. “There have been some surprises [in producing this play]. The kid who plays Schroeder (sophomore Athin Srinnavasan) did not know he could sing until his audition, so that’s been really exciting. It has been a lot of new, fresh people coming up or people who have been in ensemble for many years. The girl who plays Sally and the boy who plays Snoopy (sophomore Martin Flores) have been in ensembles since their freshman year with very small, little roles or no roles at all and now it’s their time to be the lead. For me, as the teacher, that’s the most rewarding thing in the world.”
Carroll noted that putting the play together went smoothly and the confidence she had in her cast showed throughout the course of the two-hour, two-act play, which conveyed the message of finding happiness in unexpected places.
“The wit and wisdom of Peanuts remind us of a time when life was simpler,” wrote Carroll. “It reminds us that happiness lies in the small moments of life. It reminds us that we don’t have to look for celebrity, wealth, status, excitement or mindless acquisition of possessions in order to gain happiness. In fact, we don’t have to seek happiness outside of ourselves and our current lives. We have families, friendship, abilities, interests, humor, faith and, most of all, love. We should be mindful of and thankful for all that we have; for the people and the experiences, both great and small. It is in that gratitude that we can recognize our happiness. For, as the song says, happiness is found in ‘anyone and anything at all that’s loved by you.'”