by Peter Keough ’20 A&E Staff
During any given school year, Providence College’s Department of Theatre, Dance, and Film will put on a sizable collection of shows. In 2018-2019 thus far, there have already been two completed large-scale theater productions, as well as multiple dance concerts.
The fall semester provided students with a production of Bat Boy: The Musical, while the department has just begun the spring semester with a run of Lord of the Flies performances.
However, the next show to come out of TDF is bound to provide viewers with something a little more close to home. Why? Because it is completely student-produced.
This upcoming weekend, TDF will be putting on an updated production of the 1967 musical comedy You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.
Originally created by playwright John Gordon in conjunction with composer and lyricist Clark Gesner and based on the characters in Charles M. Schultz’s classic comic strip Peanuts, the Theatre, Dance, and Film performance includes additional dialogue by Michael Mayer, as well as additional music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa. Since its inception, this musical has been on Broadway, toured the U.S., and more. Now, it is coming here to PC.
The upcoming TDF production of this theater classic is, as previously mentioned, an independent student production. Charlie Brown is being directed by Teddy Kiritsy ’19, with a cast and crew composed entirely of members of the PC student body. Kiritsy and six other student cast members bring classic Peanuts characters to life through a variety of mediums during the show’s runtime.
One of the most impressive aspects of this performance of Charlie Brown is how much Kiritsy and company are able to accomplish with a small cast and a limited number of props. Being performed in the John Bowab Studio Theater, the cast does not have a huge amount of stage space to work with. However, they take what space they have and make the most of it, using the stage to bring themselves closer to the audience.
The musical itself is not so much one flowing plotline, but more of a collection of vignettes that compose the story as a whole. These smaller scenes include a wide variety of theatrical mediums, from song and dance, to humor, to some more serious scenes. Thematically, the mood varies as well, shifting from jokes about Beethoven to discussions of Charlie’s mental health. However, through clever staging decisions, smooth transitions, and well-placed music, the whole structure of Charlie Brown flows smoothly and blends each of these vignettes into a complete and enjoyable show.
As a whole, the student production of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown is a true success by Kiritsy and his talented cast. Any theatrical production coming from TDF is bound to be well-composed and impressive, but the added layer of Charlie Brown being student produced makes it that much more of a triumph. The show will run for this upcoming weekend, with presentations taking place Feb. 15 and Feb. 16 at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, February 17 at 2 p.m.