A classic cartoon and comic character will come to life at the West Orange High School theater.
Theater students will be performing “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” from Feb. 14 to 17. Showtimes are 7 p.m. Feb. 14 to 16, with a 2 p.m. matinee Feb. 17. Tickets cost $10 and can be purchased online or at the box office. Tickets also can be purchased from any of the school’s theater students.
Theater Department Director Tara Whitman said the production is a musical rendition of some of the adventures of Charlie Brown and his iconic friends, the Peanuts Gang. Audiences can expect to see these iconic characters brought to life onstage.
“It’s a great, upbeat, family-friendly number,” Whitman said. “It kind of follows the same structure of a Charlie Brown movie or the comic strips. There’s different plots of different random days of their life. … It’s the same basic characters and situations that we’ve seen since Charles Schultz started the whole thing.”
Whitman said she is going about this musical a little differently compared to past productions. Rather than taking on all of the responsibilities with putting on a show herself, she has given two students the opportunity to direct “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” — but with her supervision and occasional guidance. She’s also getting some help from a student choreographer.
“I’ve taken on two student directors and a student choreographer (for the show),” Whitman said. “As their teacher, and their director and their club sponsor, usually everything is me. … Having the student directors — and I also have a student technical director — has given the (other) students a new person to communicate with.”
Seniors Isabel Sugrue, 18, and Alex Mohr, 17, are the two student directors of the show and excited for the new opportunity.
“We’ve either been behind the scenes or on stage performing, so it’s really kind of cool to use the experience that we’ve gotten performing here and using it in a different way,” Mohr said.
“For me, (Ms. Whitman) has let me do directorial duties before, but I never officially have received the director’s status,” Sugrue said. “It’s really interesting seeing the difference between getting those bits and pieces of doing (director’s) stuff and then completely taking on the responsibility.”
Both agree the change in position presents unique challenges.
“It’s harder than I thought it was going to be, but almost in a good way, because it kind of makes us realize how tough of a job (it is),” Mohr said.
“It’s definitely been a challenge, but more of an exciting thing to take on because we’ve got to learn how to problem-solve and how to make schedules and how to do what’s best for an entire company rather than just worrying about two or three scenes that we’re in — instead you have to worry about all of them,” Sugrue said. “I know that the one thing I want to do for the rest of my life is be a part of the theater community — whether that’s on stage or telling the people onstage what to do. I can definitely see myself — hopefully — one day being a director.”