PCA to present ‘Charlie Brown’

Published 12:30 pm Sunday, February 16, 2014

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One of America’s iconic comics is hitting the stage Sunday at Porters Chapel Academy.
Students will perform “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” in the school’s gym at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. after spending more than a month rehearsing for the Broadway musical.
Mary Claire Allison, the band director at PCA, is also directing the play. Any students who wanted to participate in the play were invited to join the cast and crew.
“We don’t have a drama program,” she said. “The kids that participate just like to do this stuff.”
Allison said the production is interesting because the cast comes from many different backgrounds, but all share a fondness for performing.
“This is actually just members of our student body from many different activities,” she said. “We have some athletes, we have some young sixth-graders and we also have some members of our choir classes.”
The group will be performing the 1999 revised version in conjunction with Tams-Witmark Music Library, a company that provides musical materials for school theater groups, particularly smaller schools.
Allison said performing a musical at a school where most students participate in multiple extra-curricular activities can present a unique challenge for rehearsals.
“We do have to share students, so we have to work around those types of things.”
Allison said the performers have still managed to rehearse three times a week since Jan. 6.
One of the benefits though, she said, is that most of the students performed in last year’s play, “Through the Looking Glass,” Lewis Carroll’s sequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
“Most of the kids we have on stage had prior experience from previous shows, and then our younger ones are learning pretty quickly,” she said. “They’re just a great group of kids.”
“They tend to start out fairly young, and the interested ones just stay with it,” she added.
The biggest challenge, Allison said, is performing what was originally a Broadway musical.
“This is the first Broadway show we’ve done that I’m aware of,” she said. “It’s very different but they have done a great job. They’ve come in and done what they’re supposed to.”
She said the rehearsals have gone well, particularly thanks to a team of directors that includes Denise Pogue, who oversees the music, costume director Jane Brock and co-director Cheryl Israel.
“You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” was originally written in 1967 by Clark Gesner based on Charles Schulz’s comic strip Peanuts. The musical premiered as an off-Broadway play in March 1967 and performed more than 1,500 times between then and February of 1971. The Broadway production ran about six months in 1971 with 32 performances and was revived and revised in 1999.

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