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BWW Review: YOU'RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN at Round Barn Theatre

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Runs through August 22nd!

BWW Review: YOU'RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN at Round Barn Theatre
The cast of YOU'RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN at the Round Barn Theatre.

Now playing at the historic Round Barn Theatre in Nappanee is YOU'RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN, a musical comedy based on Charles M. Schulz's beloved Peanuts characters. It's a fun production, sure to delight anyone from four to a hundred and four.

The musical is more of a collection of scenes and an exploration of the characters rather than a plot-heavy show, and each character- the blanket-loving Linus (Julio Ulloa Jr.) and his bossy older sister Lucy (Erin Tierney), the Beethoven-obsessed Schroeder (Matthew Malecki), the anxiety-ridden Charlie (Matthew Ollson) and his precocious little sister Sally (Molly Hill), and of course our favorite cartoon dog, Snoopy (Caleb Shaw)- had ample time to charm the audience with their antics.

Each actor perfectly embodied their cartoon counterpart, which is incredible fun for people familiar with the source material. Their body language, their gestures, and even the way that they walked emphasized their characters' personalities! I also appreciated the cartoon-ish touches to their costumes- for example, collars being drawn onto the girls' dresses with black marker, the same as the zigzags on Charlie's iconic yellow shirt. These playful artistic decisions matched the set pieces, benches that pop off the comic book page and "illustrated" trees lining the scenery.

BWW Review: YOU'RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN at Round Barn Theatre
Charlie Brown (Matthew Ollson) goes to Lucy Van Pelt (Erin Tierney) for advice.

The small cast of six didn't feel small, either, due to their powerhouse voices and the fact that they played incredibly well off of each other. The comedic timing of the opening number helped set this into motion. The cast crushes a number of genres of music throughout the widely-varied songs in the show, everything from pop to choral music to gospel, and sometimes within the same song- as is the case with "Beethoven's Birthday."

Erin Tierny as Lucy in particular had a great character voice, especially in "Schroeder." Her Lucy lit up the stage with energy whenever she appeared. Julio Ulloa Jr.'s portrayal of Linus had a few incredible moments of comedy that adults will appreciate (jokes about philosophy may go over kids' heads a bit), but would please children equally in the adorable "My Blanket and Me" number. The actor playing Charlie, Matthew Ollson, also brought a distinct charm to the character who's clumsy and disastrous, and sometimes depressed, but always unique and himself- positive traits that Charlie fully realizes by the end of the musical.

With the Round Barn's cast of premier talent, YOU'RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN had the audience in stitches last weekend. You won't want to miss the chance to take your mom, your grandma, your children, or your friends to see this cheery and clever production.

BWW Review: YOU'RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN at Round Barn Theatre
Snoopy (Caleb Shaw) flies high against the Red Baron.

YOU'RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN is directed by Alex E. Price, with music direction by Sandy Hill, choreography by Molly Hill, scenic design by Alex E. Price, lighting and technical direction by Rebecca Sears, and costume design by Rachel Saylor. The musical's executive producer is Christy Stutzman. The Round Barn Theatre is located in Nappanee, Indiana, at 1600 W. Market St, and the show runs through August 22, 2021. You can get your tickets online here, or for more information: see their website, call the theatre at (574) 773-4188, or follow the Round Barn Theatre on Facebook.

The Round Barn Theatre's next season has also been announced, and includes Disney's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, a return of last season's WHEN CALLS THE HEART, Rodgers and Hammerstein's CAROUSEL, the musical BIG FISH, Agatha Christie's THE MOUSETRAP, and MY WAY, a Frank Sinatra musical revue, plus a Christmas musical soon to be announced. Early bird pricing for season tickets is available through December 31st, so be sure to see their website for details.

Photographs courtesy of the Round Barn Theatre and photographer Ben Hannah.


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