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UMaine Students to Stage “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown”; Performances Set for Area Schools

Contact: Media contact: Joe Carr at (207) 581-3571

ORONO — The timeless and beloved story of the “Round-Headed Kid” immortalized in Charles Schultz’ “Peanuts” comic strip will come to life at the University of Maine and area schools with the UMaine School of Performing Arts’ December production of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.”

Prof. Sandra Hardy will direct the effort, which will take the form of two separate touring companies that will stage the play at local schools beginning Dec. 2.  In what Hardy calls “a gift from the School of Performing Arts to the children of the area,” four performances will be staged later that month at Hauck Auditorium with a children’s admission price of $2. 

Students involved in the project are taking Hardy’s Drama in Education course this semester.  Inasmuch as many are future teachers, Hardy says this type of an effort will provide good background for dealing with the challenges they will eventually face in working to bring theatre to their students.

“This will be a great learning experience for everybody involved,” Hardy says.  “As a musical performance, this show is quite complex.  At the same time, it has a limited set and it is portable.  These students will learn to overcome obstacles and adapt to the performance environment that is presented to them.”

Hardy says that this effort is in keeping with the school’s mission to provide outreach to communities and people who might have limited access to live theatre.  She believes that the UMaine students can serve as role models who may inspire the young audience members to become involved in the performing arts themselves.

“Every child should have the opportunity to perform.  It is thrilling for a child to be involved in an artistic project,” she says.  “Theatre can have a dramatic impact on a child’s social life, development of friendships and sense of worth and the teacher may make all the difference.”

“You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” by Clark Gesner, debuted on Broadway in 1967.  Gary Burghoff, who went on to great fame as Radar O’Reilly in the movie and television show “M*A*S*H,” was the original Charlie Brown.  A Broadway revival, which resulted in Tony Awards for two of its stars, began in 1999.

Hardy says that, while the show has appeal to people of all ages, she selected it for the effect it can have on children. 

“While ‘Charlie Brown’ might appear to be for children, it is based on ideas that are complex and emotional,” she says.  “Children are interested in exploring their own feelings and sometimes it is hard for them to communicate what they feel.  By observing characters, they can sometimes identify and give meaning to their feelings, and that is healthy and entertaining at the same time.  This show explores issues like loneliness and the inability to fit in.  There are life lessons to be learned from ‘You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.’”

School performances are scheduled as follows on Dec. 2, 3 and 4:

Dec. 2

Wagner Middle School, Winterport:  9 a.m.
Mary Snow School, Bangor:  9:30 a.m.

Dec. 3

Hermon Middle School (performance at the high school):  9 a.m.
Lee Middle School:  9 a.m. (workshops at 11:30 a.m.)
Caravel Middle School, Carmel:  noon

Dec. 4

Holbrook Middle School, Holden:  8 a.m.
Reeds Brook Middle School, Hampden:  8:30 a.m.
Leonard Middle School, Old Town:  noon
Asa Adams School, Orono:  1 p.m.

“All we have asked from these schools is that they provide a tuned piano, a stage and an enthusiasm that allows them to take the time from their days for something that they think is important — a live performance by our students,”  Hardy says.

The Hauck Auditorium productions are scheduled for 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. each day on Saturday, Dec. 13 and Sunday, Dec. 14.  Admission price is $5 for adults; $2 for children 12 and under.  For ticket information, call 581-1755.

The following UMaine students (listed with their hometown) will have a role in the production:

  • Dominick Varney, Winterport, Charlie Brown, Musical Director, Producer

  • Joshua Schmersal, Bangor, Schroeder, Musical Director

  • Amanda Eaton, Dexter, Lucy, Assistant Director

  • Emily Gammon, Buxton, Peppermint Patty, Assistant Director

  • Dale Knapp, Bangor, Schroeder, Set Designer

  • Ciara Fahey, Morse, Lucy, Program Designer

  • Caroline Musica, Richmond, Sally Brown, Study Guide

  • Mathias Ringle, Dover-Foxcroft, Linus, Study Guide

  • Janis Greim, Auburn, Snoopy, Choreographer

  • Elizabeth Braman, Hebron, Snoopy, Properties Designer

  • Domenic Mascis, Wells, Pig Pen, Lighting Designer

  • Starsha Schiller, Calais, Sally Brown, Costume & Make-Up Designer

  • Annette Sohns, Bucksport, Woodstock, Costume & Make-Up Designer

  • Amber Callahan, Thorndike, Woodstock, Costume & Make-Up Designer

  • Hillary Roberts, Milo, Stage Manager, Lighting Designer

  • Erin Couturier, Winslow, Stage Manager, Properties Designer

  • Jonathon Schell, Verona, Linus, Lighting Designer

  • Joanne Pineau, Jay, Peppermint Patty, Program Designer

  • Christopher Roberts, Brewer, Production Manager

  • Michel Huppe, Bucksport, Charlie Brown

  • Shawn McVicar, Calais, Pig Pen, Set Designer

  • Amy Maier, Bath, Piano Accompanist

  • Karen E. Johnson, Saco, Piano Accompanist

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