One of the perks of doing a live theatrical performance is hearing the audience applaud. It is nice, as a performer, to get that acknowledgement. Here is a song that describes how it feels:
What is it that we're living for Applause, applause Nothing I know brings on the glow Like sweet applause You're thinking you're through That nobody cares Then suddenly you hear it starting
And somehow you're in charge again And life's a ball Trumpets all sing, life seems to swing And you're the king of it all 'cause You've had a taste of The sound that says love Applause, applause, applause
Tonight was the closing night of "You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown". I don't have a bucket list, but if I did have a bucket list, this would have been one thing to check off the list. To direct "You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown."
And one of the perks of directing the show was hearing the applause each night for the six wonderful students who performed each night. I loved that they were encouraged in this way.
When I started thinking about doing the musical, and kind of looking at how I wanted it to look, and how to have the characters portrayed, I was hoping that each of the students who were cast in the show would develop into their various characters.
I was not disappointed.
Wyatt Sepa-Newell was Charlie Brown. I have watched Wyatt grow up on stage, and develop into quite a stage performer. He added so many wonderful things to Charlie Brown. As his mother shared at last night's performance, she hasn't seen this many facial expressions from Wyatt in a long time....it reminded her of the little boy Wyatt used to be. And it is true. Wyatt used his face and his body language to really make Charlie Brown his own.
My daughter Cosette was Lucy. What an absolute joy to have my daughter play the same role I played on the same KHS stage 33 years earlier. And to have her do it so well. And, despite having voice problems due to a cold during the first two performances, she sang her heart out. She was a great "Crabby person" but was equally effective as the love struck girls with Schroeder. Yes, it was wonderful having my daughter follow in my footsteps of one of the most favorite roles I ever portrayed, but I wouldn't have cast her in the part if I didn't think she could do it justice.
Schroeder was played by Ryan Klette. Ryan has been in Choir at KHS, but this was his stage debut. I loved how he developed the Schroeder character. And it was fun as we performed a couple of times and Ryan started realizing his lines were funny, and how he was making people laugh. He went from being very uncomfortable moving on stage, to dancing around and singing his heart out. He was a perfect Schroeder.
Heather Bermel played the role of Sally. Heather had bugged Paul for years about doing a musical her senior year, and I am so glad she was able to be a part of this production. She brought her great voice, her feistiness, and her great timing to this role. Sally is a fun character to play, and Heather did Sally Brown proud!!
We had a female in the role of Snoopy. Snoopy is a very demanding role, and Crystal Chambliss rose to the challenge. She brought a lot of fun little quirks to the Snoopy character, giving Snoopy a special laugh, and also had Snoopy tap dancing on stage. I knew from the beginning that Crystal was up for the Snoopy challenge.
The role of Linus was played by freshman Bruce Allred. When we started rehearsals, you could hardly hear Bruce say any of his lines, but by the time the performances came around, you could hear his words, and you could hear his songs, and you could see how Bruce became Linus. He took Linus and made him his own. I think Bruce came the farthest during this performance. I think many people saw a side of Bruce they had never seen before.
I couldn't have been prouder of these six performers. Add to them our stage crew, and those who helped with the set, and all the drama students who helped every night, and we had quite a production.
And I can't forget Jan Bajza, our accompanist. Apparently, this score was quite a challenge for an accompanist. But she rose to the challenge, and took each of the performers under her wing and helped them with their songs, and helped them be better performers.
And last, but not least, I have to thank my husband, Paul, for giving me this opportunity. It was such a joy directing this show with him. He let me do the fun things I like to do, like blocking, choreography, and working on songs. That left him to set design, and all the technical stuff. We make a pretty good team if I do say so myself.
Now I have two great memories of this show. The memory from 1981, when I performed it. (Oh, by the way, one of my cast members showed up for tonight's show. Eric Benson, who was Linus in the 1981 KHS production came tonight to see the show with his mom. It was so fun to have him in the audience).
The other memory is this year, 2014, when I got to work with six incredible actors who brought life to this show and helped me fulfill one of my dreams!!
Cosette and I joked about how maybe in 33 more years, in the year 2047, she may have a daughter who is a senior in high school, and she can perform Lucy. You never know!!!
Happiness is.......... Listening to the applause each night for the performers in "You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown".