A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS Returns To Chance Theater
Chance Theater, Anaheim's official resident theater company, is excited to present an encore presentation of our 2018 production of A Charlie Brown Christmas as part of our 2019 Holiday Series! Created by Charles M. Schulz, based on the television special by Bill Melendez and Lee Mendelson, this stage adaptation by Eric Schaeffer is presented by special arrangement with Arthur Whitelaw and Ruby Persson, and will be directed by Resident Artist James McHale. A Charlie Brown Christmas will preview from December 6th through 8th; regular performances will begin December 12th and continue through December 29th on the Fyda-Mar Stage at Chance Theater @ Bette Aitken theater arts Center.
Join Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus, and the whole Peanuts gang as they produce their own Christmas play and ultimately learn the true meaning of the season. A Charlie Brown Christmas is a present the whole family can enjoy! Adapted from Charles M. Schulz's timeless story, this holiday treat features the unforgettable music of Vince Guaraldi, as well as beloved holiday carols performed by the Peanuts characters. There's no better way to discover the magic of the season!
"It's like watching the television special come to life!" - Around The Town Chicago
"A sweet and touching, live action version that is itself an instant holiday classic" - Broadway World
"I was excited to direct this show because of the honesty and directness of the story and the positive and uplifting message," said director James McHale. "It's important to tell stories about acceptance and goodwill. One of the reasons Schultz' Christmas Special was such a hit (despite the producers being positive that it would flop) was because he spoke directly to feelings so many people relate to during the holidays. Despite it being a time that's supposed to be filled with cheer, Charlie Brown feels disillusioned by the commercialism of the holiday, something many of us can feel from time to time. And it's not until his community show him real kindness and goodwill that he finally finds that Christmas spirit he was looking for."
But... how do you put a TV special onstage? "I wanted to find a unique approach for bringing this story to the stage," McHale continues. "When I watched the cartoon I loved the quirkiness of the characters' movements -- the way they bounced when they walked -- and the stilted very two-dimensional life they had on screen. We aimed to bring that oddness to life with a unique and bold physicality by the actors. The goal of the production design was to make the show feel as much like a cartoon as possible. Rather than seeing a fully realized version of Lucy's psychiatry booth, let's see a flat, two-dimensional version that comes out of nowhere, almost like a children's pop up book. Let's transform the space and surprise the audience in a very theatrical way."
A Charlie Brown Christmas premiered on CBS on December 9, 1965. The road to television was not an easy one, and the premiere was preceded by a sense of dread from the network. The program was contradictory to all the trends at the time -- no laugh track, a jazz score, a sad tone, slower pacing, and featuring a voice cast of children. Most people expected it to be a disaster. And those people were very wrong. A Charlie Brown Christmas was a ratings smash hit (over 15 million households tuned in -- nearly half of the television sets in the US), and went on to win both an Emmy and the Peabody Award. It is now broadcast every year.
The production team for A Charlie Brown Christmas includes Chance Theater resident artists McHale and Masako Tobaru (production designer), as well as production designer Megan Hill, costume designer Christina Marie Perez, and stage manager Kelsey Somerville.
The cast of A Charlie Brown Christmas includes Chance Theater resident artists Laura M. Hathaway (Big Fish) and Karen O'Hanlon who are sharing the role of Lucy, as well as returning cast members Matt Takahashi (Ragtime) as Charlie Brown, Dimithri Perera (Stinky Cheese Man) as Snoopy, Juston Gonzalez-Rodholm as Linus, Nathan Shube as Pig Pen, Jennifer Noce (Goosebumps) as Frieda, and Hannah Schill as Patty. They are joined by returning Chance artist Christopher Diem (James and The Giant Peach) as Schroeder, and Chance newcomer Shai Culver as Sally.