Good Grief! RCT Presents Charlie Brown

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The Rockaway Theatre Company continues to dazzle audiences with their current production of “You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown, The Musical.” Based on the beloved Peanuts characters created by Charles Schultz, the project excels as both an ensemble and individual effort.

On opening night, the troupe’s performance was greeted with well-deserved applause and ovations from the crowd. Lovable loser Charlie Brown (Patrick Meyers) confronts the kite-eating tree, receives five cents worth of therapy from Lucy, helps his hapless baseball team and ultimately finds happiness. Meyers’ wife Nora Coughlin-Meyers is the show’s stage manager.

Perennially-crabby Lucy is played perfectly by RTC newcomer Katherine Robinson. She is delightfully pompous whether singing about her crush on Schroeder or lecturing cluelessly about “Little Known Facts.” Of course, Catherine Leib as Charlie’s little sister Sally (and the group’s choreographer) has plenty to say. Her perpetually plunging school grades lead her to riotously funny rants about “My New Philosophy.” Her anger after a “C” in “hanger-decorating” leads to a very funny and eloquent tantrum. Argh!!

Beethoven’s biggest devotee, Schroeder (John Pannepinto), is in his glory when playing his toy piano and resisting Lucy’s advances. Linus (James Dalid) makes futile efforts to discard his security blanket. He is more successful explaining why Lucy cannot be queen of the world. Rats!!

Snoopy, played by assistant director and RCT veteran Chazmond J. Peacock is indescribably hilarious as he reflects on his dog’s life, his infatuation with suppertime and of course his skill as a World War I flying ace. “Curse you, Red Baron!”

Producer Susan Jasper and co-directors Susan Corning and Frank Caiati have nurtured a fine cast and crew. Musical director Richard Louis-Pierre benefits from a multi-talented orchestra (Monica Martin, Heather Arzberger, Jeffrey Arzberger, Jason Albertson).

However, the true stars of the evening are the little ones, cuddled in their parents’ and grandparents’ laps. They’re completely in awe of the onstage children who are somehow grownups too!

Located at the Post Theatre in Fort Tilden (N. P. S. Gateway National Recreation Area) near Breezy Point, the Rockaway Theatre Company is truly a quality regional troupe. Call 718-374-6400 or surf to www.rockawaytheatrecompany.org.

Autumn winds mean cooler evenings. Just right for a night at a Queens production. As always, save me a seat on the aisle.