“You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” is delightful children’s theater from the Adventure Theatre MTC (ATMTC). The cast, the first show of the 2023-2024 season, and the inaugural choice from new Artistic Director Kurt Boehm play wonderfully to the audience in an energy-filled production at theatre’s Glen Echo Park stage.
…delightful…The cast is first-rate…The troika of Boehm, Rosman, and King are so strong that it would not be surprising to see this tried-and-true musical to win a Hayes or two itself.
This show is about the Peanuts gang from the 1950s era Charles Schultz comic and talks about life’s big lessons as the cast play baseball, fly kites, struggle with homework, and bond as friends. It is a widely produced musical (with book, music, and lyrics by Clark Gesner), since its debut in 1967 and has been updated with additional dialogue from Michael Mayer in his 1998 remount.
From the moment the characters step on stage in Costume Designer Paris Francesca’s true-to-form outfits, kids and parents get all they want out of this production and more. This critic’s almost six-year-old daughter, when asked about which of the six actors was her favorite, mentioned Lucy “because she looks really nice.” It really is true. Each of the characters, down to their footwear, are part of pulling the audience into this production.
The cast is first-rate. As the main character of Charlie Brown, Jimmy Bartlebaugh has a wonderful charisma. He wins not only in his vocal performances, but also by so effectively making eye contact with the many little children in the audience, pulling them into this story. As Linus, Deimoni Brewington prances around the stage, full of vocal chops and animated facial expressions. The rest of the cast—Caroline Graham as Lucy, Julia Lennon as Sally, Christian Montgomery as Snoopy, and Quincy Vicks as Schroeder—bring joy to the stage.
Boehm wisely took it upon himself to direct the first show of his artistic director tenure. He also brought on both Helen Hayes award-winner, Elisa Rosman, to lead a three-person band on stage and Hayes Award-winner, Ashleigh King, to lead the choreography which is central to this show. His leadership and his past experience at ATMTC shows.
The troika of Boehm, Rosman, and King are so strong that it would not be surprising to see this tried-and-true musical to win a Hayes or two itself. This is particularly evident in “Beethoven Day,” where each of the six characters handles the choreography so well, that it draws the audience in with their infectious enthusiasm. It is a fun song and the cast does a fantastic job and Rosman’s band enhances the actors’ performances.
ATMTC has gone through significant changes recently, bringing on all new leadership to the longest running children’s theatre in the Washington, D.C. region. If this spirited production of “Charlie Brown” is an indication of the new regime and the commitment they will bring to the community, this theatre institution is reinvigorated for the next generation of theater-goers.
Running Time: Approximately one hour and 10 minutes with no intermission.
Advisory: Ages 4+. Strobe lighting effects and plane dogfight sound effects are used with the exception of the Sensory-Friendly performance.
“You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown” runs through October 29, 2023 at Adventure Theatre MTC, 7300 McArthur Blvd, Glen Echo, MD 20812. Performances are Wednesday through Saturday at 11 am and Saturday and Sunday at 2 pm. Tickets ($25, general admission). For more information and tickets, go online. Click here to see the cast and creative team.