Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Raleigh/Durham

You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown
Raleigh Little Theatre
Review by Garrett Southerland

Also see Garrett's review of Dairyland

The Cast
Photo by Elly McClanahan
For some of us, happiness might be pizza with sausage or learning to whistle, both of which are singled out in You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, currently being produced by Raleigh Little Theatre at the Cantey V. Sutton Theatre through November 3. But it's a true happiness to see the beloved comic strip character and his assortment of friends come to life on stage in this musical adaptation of Charles M. Schulz' timeless comic, "Peanuts." It has all the heart and laughs one could hope for.

Clark Gesner's book recreates some of Schulz' classic comic strip vignettes and adds a handful of new ones, with additional dialogue supplied by Michael Mayer for the 1999 Broadway revival. Gesner and Mayer bring to life the beautiful mix of childish personas with adult perspectives which were characteristic of Mr. Schulz' cartoons. Gesner also provides character-developing music and lyrics; in many cases, the songs are scenes in and of themselves. The Broadway revival also introduced some new music and songs by Andrew Lippa, paying homage to the American jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi, who scored many of the Charlie Brown made-for-TV animated specials.

Each cast member gets their moment to shine with a musical number. Nicky Taylor brings the sympathetic and loveable Charlie Brown to life with great warmth. Gabriel Yarborough delights as the blanket-toting Linus van Pelt. And as Linus' sister Lucy, Britney Duong can't help but grab attention, just as her character would. Bryan Bunch, as the piano prodigy Schroeder, proves that every day should be "Beethoven Day." A highlight is the eleven o'clock number, "Suppertime," sung with great enthusiasm and talent by Tim Poliquin as Snoopy. And as Sally Brown, the wonderful Caroline Moore gives Kristin Chenoweth (who won a Tony Award for this role in the Broadway revival) a run for her money, singing one of Mr. Lippa's song additions, "My New Philosophy."

Matthew Hurley has proved himself a talent as a director, and his creative team members seem to know these characters and their comic strip fondly. Elizabeth Newton's scenic design and Darby Mitchell's lighting design transport the audience to a minimalist yet purposeful newspaper print land filled with color and whimsy. Rae Quarles' sound design adds great effects and humor. Costumes by Jenny Mitchell capture the essence of each character, right down to Charlie Brown's yellow zig-zag pattern shirt. Mitchell has found a creative way to dress Snoopy, making human performance possible while paying perfect tribute to the blissful beagle.

Running just over an hour and a half with no intermission, You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown never feels labored. Whether you grew up reading the comics and watching the TV specials or are introducing a younger generation to Charlie Brown and his crew, you surely will leave with happiness in your heart. You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown is so much more than mere peanuts.

You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown runs through November 3, 2019, at Raleigh Little Theatre, Cantey V. Sutton Theatre, 301 Pogue St., Raleigh NC. Tickets can be purchased online at or by phone at 919-821-3111.

Based on the comic strip "Peanuts" by Charles M. Schulz
Book, Music and Lyrics: Clark Gesner
Additional Dialogue: Michael Mayer
Additional Music and Lyrics: Andrew Lippa
Director: Matthew Hurley
Musical Direction: Michael Santangelo
Choreography: Shannon Carr
Scenic Design: Elizabeth Newton
Costume Design: Jenny Mitchell
Lighting Design: Darby Madewell
Sound Design: Rae Quarles

Charlie Brown: Nicky Taylor
Sally Brown: Caroline Moore
Linus van Pelt: Gabriel Yarborough
Lucy van Pelt: Britney Duong
Schroeder: Bryan Bunch
Snoopy: Tim Poliquin
Ensemble: Grace Deadmore, Rebecca Shell, Davis Leonard