BWW Reviews: Eating Disorders, Bullying, Sexual Identity and...Charlie Brown?

Johnny Hebda as CB

The image of Snoopy on top of his dog house with Woodstock is the image that usually comes to mind when someone mentions Charlie Brown.

Mean girls, pot heads, teenage drinking and suicide are not typical words associated with our beloved comic strip friends. Yet, in Dog Sees God opening Friday, June 21st with Silver Summit Theatre Company, this is exactly what you can expect when the Peanuts gang goes to high school.

Similar to Wicked the audience is delighted as the familiar characters are unveiled to us and their stories are seen through a different lens. True to reality, the innocence of childhood is often lost during the high school years. However, as a society - especially the conservative one we find in Utah, we often choose to ignore the difficult issues facing our youth and leave them to muddle through this minefield alone.Bryce Kamryn as Beethoven

In its Utah premier, Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead written by Bert V. Royal tackles these difficult issues with ease, humor, shocking reality and nostalgia. As a new comer in town, Silver Summit Theatre Company recognized the importance of this show and despite not even having rehearsal space vowed to produce this dramatic work. Now, after countless rehearsals in the garage of founder and director Michele Rideout, we are granted the privilege of seeing this production at the Midvale Main Street Theater June 21 - 30, 2013.

And if the content makes you a little wary, listen to those involved in the cast. This is not a production glorifying these issues, it is a production that seeks to educate and promote change.

G. Morgan Walton as Van"This show challenges our assumptions, and exposes us to situations that the majority of us have never experienced, but that are real just the same." Says Rideout. "I believe that audiences will laugh, cry, and gasp... sometimes at the same time. The material is that powerful. Its brutal honesty is raw and moving"

Actor G. Morgan Walton who plays pot-head Van (think Linus van Pelt and his blue blanket) remarks "This show is a glimpse into the world our kids in high school and jr. high are going through. I would hope that this would open some eyes so that we might be advocates in helping. Too often we all turn a blind eye when we are not the ones directly involved. These issues are not just gay, straight, fat, skinny, male, female, or group issues, they are human issues of which we all are."

And from our star CB - Johnny Hebda "The message in Dog Sees God needs to be shared. Especially in Utah, where teen suicide ranks among the highest in the nation, and where so many of the topics that are very real in Utah are considered taboo to discuss openly. It deals with heavy topics, but the dark humor and witty comedy of seeing the peanuts characters as teenagers will have the audience rolling in their seats in many scenes as well."

Well, Good Grief! If that doesn't convince you to check out this amazing production - I'm not sure what will! I'll be seeing the show Saturday at 2:30 - want to join me?

Dog Sees God, produced by Silver Summit Theatre Company is playing at the Midvale Main Street Theatre (7711 South Main Street) through June 30, 2013. Tickets are $15.

Ali Lente, Morgan Walton, Alexa Rideout, Johnny Hebda, Carson Kohler, Frank Castro, Aidan Rees and Bryce Kamryn.

Photo Credits: Brash Studios with artist James Rhodimer

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From This Author Megan Pedersen

Megan B. Gutierrez is a member of the American Theater Critics Association and is a theater lover from a suburb of Salt Lake City, Utah. (read more...)

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