Ghostlight stage presents iconic ‘Peanuts’ musical

From left, Nicholas John Gearing (Schroeder), Tristan Richards (Linus VanPelt), Alexandra Utpadel (Sally Brown), Ryan Malikowski (Charlie Brown), Kendra Schroeder (Lucy VanPelt) and Thomas F. Graca (Snoopy) portray the Peanuts iconic characters in “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown: The Musical” at Ghostlight Theatre in Sun City West May 23-June 2. [Submitted photo]

‘You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown’ closes Sun City West stage’s season

Ghostlight Theatre, 13541 W. Camino Del Sol, Sun City West, will close its 2018-19 season with the iconic characters of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown: The Musical.” Opening night is 7 p.m. Thursday, May 23, and the production runs through June 2.

Charles Schulz famously debuted his comic strip “Peanuts” in 1950, and by 1967 it was adapted into a musical stage comedy with music and lyrics by Clark Gesner. It made its premiere off-Broadway that year, and has remained a stage favorite ever since.

“I absolutely love this music, and I love the message. It’s been on my bucket list for quite awhile,” said Brenda Goodenberger, who directs the Ghostlight production. “As a director I tend to work more with large casts, so I haven’t had the opportunity to do the show even though it’s one of my favorites. When presented with the more intimate setting of Ghostlight Theatre’s stage, I knew it was the perfect choice.”

Ms. Goodenberger is an ariZoni winning director, and ariZoni- and NYA-nominated actress and make-up/hair designer. The Glendale resident returns to Ghostlight after the success of “Nunsense” and “Nunsense 2.”

The cast features Ryan Malikowski (Charlie Brown), Nicholas John Gearing (Schroeder), Tristan Richards (Linus VanPelt), Thomas F. Graca (Snoopy), Kendra Schroeder (Lucy VanPelt) and Alexandra Utpadel (Sally Brown).

“Honestly, because the characters are so well-known, it really gives the actors much to work with, from mannerisms to vocal stylings. Then, just as with any show, you really want to select actors that can take what has been established and make it their own,” Ms. Goodenberger said. “I was really fortunate to get some phenomenal A-listers from around Phoenix to come out for the show. Ghostlight audiences are in for a real treat.”

The story revolves around Charlie Brown discovering what it means to be “a good man,” with support from his Peanuts gang.

“This show is really about our capacity to love unconditionally,” Ms. Goodenberger adds. “What you have here is a group of 4 to 6 year olds and their dog, that have made their own little family. Sure they give each other a hard time and they notice each other’s faults and differences, but it doesn’t change the way they FEEL about each other. I think that’s a wonderful hallmark of childhood that a lot of adults have forgotten. I hope that audiences leave with a warm fuzzy feeling of what ‘Happiness’ truly is.”

The Ghostlight production includes Thomas Hartwell as music director, Lindsay Tejera as choreographer, Susan Tejera as props designer, and Samantha Utpadel as costume designer.

The comic strip-like set is designed by Bobby Sample, and was donated by Spotlight Youth Theatre, 10620 N. 43rd Ave., in Glendale.

 

IF YOU GO

What: “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown: The Musical”

When: 7 p.m. Thursday, May 23. Production runs through June 2.

Where: Ghostlight Theatre, 13541 W. Camino Del Sol, Sun City West

Tickets: $20, available at ghostlightaz.tix.com, or at the theatre box office 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays



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