Theatre Council goes nuts for Charlie Brown
The Theatre Council will present “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown” this weekend, the first musical to be performed at Seton Hall University during an academic year since 1992.
“You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown” will mark the first production of a musical since 1992’s “Brigadoon.” Junior Sally Hourigan said she thought it was the right time to stage a musical.
“Musicals are such a lively part of American theatre,” Hourigan, who is directing the musical, said. “Students always go to New York to see shows, but here we have the convenience of doing a musical right on campus and at a better rate.”
The musical brings Charles Schultz’s Peanuts characters to the stage with music and lyrics by actor and playwright Clark Gesner. In the Tony Award-winning musical, Charlie Brown wonders if he really is the “good man” all of his friend tell him he is. Fan-favorite songs include “My New Philosophy” and “Beethoven Day” and are sung by Peanuts characters including Lucy, Schroeder and Sally.
Hourigan said she chose Charlie Brown because it was a relatively simple show to do and because she wanted to display the talent of her fellow students.
“There’s a reason it’s the most widely produced musical in American theatre,” she said. “And I wanted to pick something that people would like – the Peanuts characters have a very wide appeal.”
Hourigan’s directing process began last semester when she began to read the score and researched the characters. Auditions were held in early February and since then the cast and crew have been rehearsing several days a week.
“Luckily, we have a very talented and experienced cast,” Hourigan said. “They are all very hard-working and I’m very proud of them.”
The cast includes six actors and two swings, or understudies, who are required to know at least three parts in case they are needed.
“Our swings are the best,” said junior Rebecca Rondinella, who plays Snoopy.
About the entire cast, she said, “We made great friends and all became really close.”
In addition to the all-student cast, the show boasts a student production team, seven-piece orchestra and stage crew. Hourigan estimates there are 25-30 students involved in the production.
“The entire Theatre Council has put forth an enormous effort into supporting this show,” she said.
Junior Bryan Lucas, who plays Linus, thanks Hourigan for her effort.
“For a student production, it was really very professional and I think that’s due in a major part to Sally’s efforts,” he said.
Senior Nicole Stapinski, who designed the sound and will work lighting for the production, said that everyone involved in the production is happy to bring together the music and theatre departments.
“People will definitely want to witness this important chapter in Seton Hall Theatre history,” she said. “Everyone involved has put in a lot of effort and it shows.”
This is Hourigan’s first experience with directing and she said she hopes the audience will enjoy the show.
“It was a stressful experience, but one that was very good for me,” she said. “It gave me experience in both problem solving and in leadership and it helped me really broaden my knowledge of dramatic language. We want to display the arts here at Seton Hall and put a focus on something positive on campus.”
The show will be performed in the Main Lounge of the University Center on April 9 and 10 at 8 p.m., with an additional matinee on Saturday at 4 p.m. Tickets are $5 with a valid Seton Hall ID and $8 for general admission. Tickets can be purchased at the door, the University Center Box Office or by calling (973) 761-9474.
Erin Bell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.