BWW Review: YOU'RE A GOOD MAN CHARLIE BROWN at Des Moines Young Artist Theatre: Happiness is...

BWW Review: YOU'RE A GOOD MAN CHARLIE BROWN at Des Moines Young Artist Theatre: Happiness is...

BWW Review: YOU'RE A GOOD MAN CHARLIE BROWN at Des Moines Young Artist Theatre: Happiness is...

What is happiness? I think this is something we forget about all too often. And who better to remind us what happiness is than a group of young artists performing. Happiness is... going to Des Moines Young Artist Theatre's production of "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown".

"You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" book, music, and lyrics by Clark Gesner, with additional dialogue by Michael Mayer, and additional music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa, takes the audience through the ups and downs of a day in the life of America's favorite blockhead.

I appreciated the cacophony of all the different characters giving lines at the same time going to the simplicity of just Charlie Brown talking. Each of the cast members did a great job giving us a glimpse into their characters, and by the end of the opening song I had a smile on my face that stayed on my face through the entire show.

The casting and the directing of the show were done expertly by Libby Waterbury and Adam Yankowy, who also served as choreographer and music director respectively. The choreography in the show was fun to watch. I appreciated that Libby was able to come up with moments in each song that the choreography could shine, but not distract. I think my favorite moment came during the show stopping suppertime. There are many theatres that wen having kids in the show focus on them learning one part through the entire show. I appreciated that Adam worked with the students on part singing. The students did a great job and the moments they were singing in parts were some of the most impactful parts of the show.

All the performances of the students involved were done so well, I wish I could talk about the amazing things they were doing. The only issue with that is that this review wouldn't ever end. So I am going to focus on a few of the stand out performances for me.

The first performance that stood out to me was Ryan Henzi as Snoopy. What impressed me was every scene he was in he seemed to give everything to the scene and then give a little more on top of it. It helped bring the character of Snoopy to life. This was especially visible during "Suppertime."

Vivian Klein also did an amazing job bringing Lucy Van Pelt to life. I could see her characters determination to get what she wants from the top of the show, but later in the show was able to give Lucy what a felt was a very heartfelt moment. It made the last line in the show, which she gives even more heartwarming.

Last but certainly not least, is Drake Carney's portrayal of Charlie Brown. He does an amazing job holding the show together. There were nuances that he brought to the character that I wouldn't expect a student to bring. To me the moment that stuck out to me the most was leading up to "The Baseball Game." He brought a heart to his conversation with his team mates that made me understand why they kept playing the game even though they continued to lose.

"You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown," is a show that is not to be missed. It brings a heart that is missing in the world today. Performances run Friday at 7:30 PM, Saturday and Sunday at 2. This show closes on February 24. So grab a kite and fly to the Stoner Theatre at Des Moines Performing Arts to see this production. To find out more about the show or Des Moines Young Artist Theatre, visit

Photos by Brandon James Photography

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From This Author DC Felton

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