Seventh and eighth grade STM students stage 'You're a Good Man Charlie Brown'
Poor, hapless Charlie Brown. Everyone agrees he's a nice guy, but "why must he be so wishy-washy?"
Those were the sentiments played out by the seventh and eighth grade students who last week staged the long-running Broadway production of "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown."
The play had two performances May 10: Friday afternoon for the school's students and Friday evening for parents, friends and family.
Charlie Brown, played with great believability by Luke Ebrwein, went from the downcast Charles M. Schulz comic character to the smiling young Charlie who discovers what it really means to be a "good guy."
The play's director, Natalie Pionegro, the music and worship director at St. Thomas More Church, told students at the afternoon production to "pay very close attention to the dialog in this play.
While Charles M. Schulz gained fame as the cartoonist of the long-running 'Peanuts' newspaper and television productions, he (Schulz) was really a great philosopher. He chose to put his philosophy into the mouths of the six- and seven-year-old characters who inhabited his comic strips, but he had a lot of good philosophy that we can all learn from," Pionegro said.
The stage production opens as Charlie Brown sits alone as his friends give their various opinions of him, each overlapping the other. Today everyone is calling him a "good man."
Charlie Brown is happy and hopeful as usual, but he nevertheless wonders if he really is what they say. He decides to find out how he can really become a good person. Alone one day, during lunch, Charlie Brown talks about his bad days. Then he notices his perennial crush, the Little Red-Haired Girl, and decides to go sit with her. However, he cannot find the courage to do so.
A series of twists and plots turns in the play would be familiar to fans young and old of the comic strips and televisions animated features.
At the end, Charlie Brown is sad he still has not discovered what it means to be a "good man." He proudly displays a pencil which had been dropped by the "Little Red-Haired Girl."
As he examines it, he discovers that "there are teeth-marks all over it . . . she nibbles her pencil . . . she's HUMAN!"
With that realization, Charlie concludes the day hasn't been so bad, after all, and he's done a lot of things that make him happy.
As Charlie Brown expresses what makes him happy, everyone, touched by his love of life, begin to express what makes them happy as well, Charlie's "Happiness."
Right then, Charlie Brown realizes that being a "good man" means trying your best and making the most of the things you've been given in life. As his friends leave the stage, Lucy walks over and puts out her hand, making him shrink back. As he reaches out, she shakes his hand firmly, then tells him, "You're a good man, Charlie Brown."