Happiness at Ziegfeld Theater

The Ziegfeld Theater’s Production of You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown was delightful! As each character danced, sang, and bantered I couldn’t help but smile. I wore a stupid grin throughout the play as Sally, Schroeder, Linus, Snoopy, Lucy, and Charlie Brown played out their ridiculous antics. Children were delighted by the play as well as adults. A couple kids I talked to were huge fans of Lucy and Sally, played by Morgan Parry and Lindsea Garside respectively. They also loved that beach balls were thrown into the audience at the end of the play. And who am I kidding, I loved that too! The crowd was so fantastic that everyone bounced the beach balls around the theater until the music played out.

I have to admit that at first the play felt a bit disjointed as there wasn’t a clear story arc. But as I immersed myself in the experience I found that the play felt like playing did when I was growing up. When you play pretend as a child the pretending doesn’t have a clear beginning, conflict, resolution and end. The real joy of this play is watching for themes that continue from scene to scene even though the activities of each scene don’t necessarily flow into each other. Linus, played by Jared Garlick, even points out in the Book Report scene that, “it is important that the superficial characteristics of its deceptively simple plot should not be allowed to blind the reader to the more substantial fabric of its deeper motivations.” I love nuggets like this and if you do too then you should absolutely see this musical!

Amongst all the fun were interspersed moments of real heart and insight that the Peanuts comic is known for. Each character explored many philosophies to cope with life’s challenges and their own failings; they often found solace in each other when other options didn’t offer comfort. One of the main themes throughout the play was finding joy in unlikely places. One scene that demonstrated this was Suppertime starring Eb Madson as Snoopy.

Snoopy anxiously waited for his supper, frustrated that Charlie Brown had forgotten him. All the while Charlie Brown, played by Daniel Pack, was standing right there with Snoopy’s dinner. When dear ol Snoopy finally noticed Charlie Brown he couldn’t contain his excitement for his evening meal and made a marvelous production out of it. Joshua Samuel Robinson’s choreography of the scene was outstanding and Daniel Pack’s light design made the everything pop. The skill and talent involved in creating this magical ensemble truly highlighted the idea that even the little things in life should not be taken for granted. Why not be excited for something as simple as dinner? Why not be like Linus and be happy about having a simple blanket? The final scene of the play, Happiness, tied everything together with the simple phrase, “Happiness is…anything that is loved by you.”

I absolutely recommend that you see this play before its runtime ends on February 4th! The venue is cozy, the staff is helpful and professional, the popcorn was delicious, and most importantly… You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown will leave you feeling happy.