BWW Interview: DOG SEES GOD at Roxy's Downtown, A ground-breaking play about the coming of age

Roxy's Downtown is set to open their upcoming production Dog Sees God this weekend. For those unfamiliar with the title, simply imagine what it would be like if Charlie Brown and the rest of the Peanuts gang grew up from sweet, innocent childhood adolescence to fully-fledged, juvenile teenagers. Not to be confused with the hit Broadway musical, You're a Good Man Charlie Brown, this play definitely sparks a more mature conversation worth having. In an exclusive interview for BroadwayWorld.com, I sat down with the cast of Dog Sees God at Roxy's Downtown to find out why this show is important to attend.

The cast is composed of more people than the Vince Guaraldi Trio. Max Wilson leads the cast of eight in the role of Charlie Brown. Other company members include Madi White (Charlie Brown's sister), Sam Warner (Van), Haylee Couey (Van's sister), Ash Lauren (Marcy), Austin Ragusin (Matt), Matthew Hale (Beethoven) and Sarah Wine (Tricia).

"This is a Bert Royal script," Wilson says, "it is an unofficial sequel for sure." The show is about the coming of age taking Charles Schulz's beloved characters and hurling them into the high school realm making them face new trials, touching on a lot of subjects that are relevant to the current times.

"You can only guess where these characters have been the last ten years. Now we get to see where that is and for most of them, for some of them and all of them it's surprising! We're all individuals and we all have the potential to grow and not grow and we get to journey on it all," states Sarah Wine.

"I think after high school you can forget what it's like to be growing up or to really be a kid," says Madi White, who was voted to have some of the best costumes in the show. "I think it brings people's attention to difficult things that people have a hard time talking to their children about like drugs, sex, bullying and sexuality and they're all are very important things to be talking to their kids about, so it is kind of opening up a dialogue for that as well."

Ash Lauren confesses that during her high school years, she was viewed as a bit of a misfit trying new things and always wanting to fit in, definitely a lot like her character. During five minute breaks, the cast would spend a lot of time talking and getting to know each other. The play is a tight-knit show and it was important for the actors to find those meaningful connections on stage before a live audience filled the seats. Along with such discoveries, the cast learned that Warner is a lot like his character in real life, but Couey and Ragusin are far from the characters they portray, adding some challenges in bringing the script to life. "You want to do justice to the characters as children as well as make them unique and really be able to show that they have grown up and that they are their own people," further remarks Lauren.

Under the direction of Rick Bumgardner, the cast mentions that with his help, they were able to find those relations, allowing them to build the characters from their own perspective and individual acting styles.

"Something that Rick and the cast has been trying to do is find the pieces of each character that are like the cartoon characters and then marry that with a realistic teenager that is not like a cartoon," Wilson comments.

Bumgardner further added that his favorite line of dialogue is a statement that comes from Charlie Brown in a letter to his pen pal read to the audience, 'Just listen. That's what I want you to do.'

"You don't imagine this play being as raunchy and In Your Face," says Couey. "This is what teenagers are like now."

Dog Sees God opens January 11th and runs until January 27th in the new year. Ticket reservations can be made by calling the box office at 316-265-4400 or by visiting roxysdowntown.com for more information.

BWW Interview: DOG SEES GOD at Roxy's Downtown, A ground-breaking play about the coming of age

BWW Interview: DOG SEES GOD at Roxy's Downtown, A ground-breaking play about the coming of age

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From This Author Craig Richardson

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