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BWW Review: YOU'RE A GOOD MAN CHARLIE BROWN at Castle Craig Players


An outdoor performance

BWW Review: YOU'RE A GOOD MAN CHARLIE BROWN at Castle Craig Players

On Friday, July 23rd, I had the pleasure of seeing live theatre from the Castle Craig Players, again, their first live show since March of 2020! Performing outdoors at the Hubbard Park Bandshell, in Meriden, CT, the Castle Craig Players return to live performances, right where they left off, with yet another phenomenal first-rate production, the family friendly 1967 classic musical, YOU'RE A GOOD MAN CHARLIE BROWN, which is written by Charles M. Schultz and John Gordon, with music and lyrics by Clark Gesner. This is a show I have known about for a long time, yet have never before seen in any capacity. After seeing this show as presented live by the Castle Craig Players, it has now become one of my absolute favorite musicals!

It was a perfect night outdoors for this show, helping set the tone, as we were surrounded by night sky, and sincerity as far as the eye can see. The outdoor setting accommodates a larger audience, filled with adults, youths, and children, all of whom, based on lively audience reactions, greatly enjoyed the show, as I did.

Director, Melanie Del Sole helps bring out the best in this talented cast, aided by the exciting choreography of Chelsea Dacey, and moving musical direction of Nick Ciasullo.

Ian Galligan stars as Charlie Brown, providing the high energy performance that Castle Craig Players audiences experience every time that Ian Galligan is on stage. He commands the audience's attention and shows excellent stage chemistry with the other cast members, truly becoming Charlie Brown, on stage, making the audience feel Charlie Brown's emotions and connect with his experiences.

Jennifer Del Sole, who consistently brings her A game to every production, and who excels in both comedic and dramatic moments, provides yet another outstanding performance in the role of Sally Brown. Sally has some amusing theories and philosophies that have the rare combination of simultaneously being farcical and thought-provoking. Jennifer Del Sole's strong acting talents, including adjusting her voice to fit the role, bring Sally to life.

Francesca Fontanez is excellent as Lucy Van Pelt, providing the spunk, sass, and charm that make Lucy the perfect antagonist, one who although is not always the kindest person, remains one who is highly entertaining.

Arthur Canova is terrific as Linus Van Pelt, a serious yet comedic character, all mixed in as one. Linus is highly analytical, searching for deep meanings, and finding them. This is one of my favorite performances I have seen by Arthur Canova, a role that truly showcases his talents. He plays this role to the maximum!

In addition to his fine job as musical director, Nick Ciasullo also provides an excellent performance as Schroeder, whose comedic moments come in him being the straight man surrounded by five over-the-top comically quirky characters, and trying to get them to take things more seriously. Nick Ciasullo helps this character fit so well into this show.

Stephen Koehler brings Snoopy to life, a brilliant human-like stage adaptation of the classic comic dog. Stephen Koehler as Snoopy is highly entertaining as an actor, singer, and rabbit hunter!

I really like the way this show showcases all six cast members, and the way Castle Craig Players got the perfect cast members for each role. All six have tight stage chemistry with each other, and it is clear that they all enjoyed playing their respective roles. It was truly a team effort and it worked! The full cast number "Happiness" is my favorite of the musical numbers, as it showcases the harmonies of the six cast members, all of whom have great singing voices.

I highly recommend YOU'RE A GOOD MAN CHARLIE BROWN, to all audiences, and particularly to families who want to bring their children to something that both the parents and children can simultaneously enjoy. It is scheduled for tonight, July 24th, at 7:30 PM at the Hubbard Park Bandshell in Meriden. For tickets, please go to tickets.

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