BWW Reviews: Impressive Cast Brings Comics to Life in Retro Dome's YOU'RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN!
As much as Linus loves his blanket and Schroeder loves his piano, this reviewer loves The Retro Dome's production of "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown!" I welcome the reader to sound off as many "good griefs!" as you like while I go on and on about how this musical is so wonderful and fun. Or, perhaps you might yell "Good Grief!" as you read my one petty criticism of the show. But, no matter what, you ought to take a trip to the clean and groovy, seventies themed Retro Dome, for it's a good show, Charlie Brown!
Produced by Guggenheim Entertainment, Retro Dome's "Charlie Brown" features a talented cast just as impressive as the original Broadway production, which starred Kristen Chenoweth as Charlie Brown's sister, Sally. The all-adult cast gets to do what every adult wouldn't mind doing at one point or another - act like children. And because the show includes nostalgic moments from the Peanuts comics it's based on while remaining clean and providing fresh, fun laughs for the younger generations, the musical appeals to a broad audience.
The show has little to no plot, but includes entertaining short after entertaining short and catchy song after catchy song. Shannon Guggenheim's choreography and director Scott Evan Guggenheim's creative staging enhance already hilarious numbers like Snoopy and Sally's "Rabbit Chasing," during which the music, choreography and props go from genre to genre, and Snoopy's "Suppertime," in which the lovable dog dedicates an entire show-stopping number to his dinner. The four-person band also provides high-quality, flawless accompaniment for these enjoyable songs.
But let's not forget about the singers. And here comes my one complaint. Stephen Guggenheim boasts an amazing resume that includes credits with San Francisco Opera and Opera San Jose, but his amazing, operatic voice does not fit the character of Charlie Brown. No worries, though, the average theatre-goer won't know the different, and Stephen's voice does not lack in talent. Clearly, he has succeeded in the opera world for a reason, and he still deserves much praise for his fantastic acting as the melancholic Charlie Brown.
The rest of the cast misses nothing. Actors take on the various main characters of the beloved Charles Schultz comic strips and holiday cartoons with full energy, each managing to deliver superb singing while staying in character voices. Shannon Guggenheim plays the philosophical Sally Brown, Hilary Little plays the bossy Lucy, Nick Nakashima plays the blanket-attached Linus, Mark Martinez plays the Beethoven lover Schroeder and Keith Pinto plays the lovable pet dog, Snoopy. While the entire cast stands out, Pinto has the best lines and, consequently, gets to have the most fun with the audience.
The sets and costumes are just as colorful as the actors, and while they don't look completely identical to their characters in the comics (they are adults after all), the actors deliver an astounding performance. So go see Charlie Brown and the gang. Don't make me say, "Good grief!"
"You're A Good Man Charlie Brown"
Through Dec 18
The Retro Dome in San Jose