You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown brings music to DMACC theatre

Director Carl Lindberg runs lines with five of the actors
photo by: Bailey Perkins

On Oct. 13, six DMACC actors put on the first performance of the Musical “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” in the Black Box theatre in Building Five.

This followed months of preparation from director Carl Lindberg, plus student cast and crew.

“You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” is a 1967 musical comedy based on the Peanuts comic created by Charles M. Schulz.

It follows the Peanuts characters–a group of kids, Charlie Brown (Karl Heimberger), Schroeder (Alex Brown), Lucy Van Pelt (Christine Schmitz), Linus Van Pelt (Rodolfo Munoz), Patty (JonnaDeane Laughlin) and, of course, the show-stealing Snoopy (Spencer Reineke) in world where adults exist but are rarely seen or heard.

Peanuts, you might not know, has a lot of satirical humor. For example, Charlie Brown suffers from an utter lack of self-confidence. He is totally unable to talk to a girl or fly a kite and his friends seriously put him down about it. Each character has a lot of depth.

Rehearsals for the musical began weeks in advance and when asked how they went, Lindberg said, “What I usually do when I direct a musical is just spend the first week or two just on music, which is what we did. It ends up being a big chunk of time is just learning the music.”

Lindberg said he was nervous about the choreography but thought it came out well. During the show there is a pianist as well as other musicians playing the music live. The band is the bridge between the third and fourth walls—the actors frequently cross it. Lucy might be talking to the tromboner and then all of the sudden she’ll be tossing you Linus’s blanket.

The musical is rated G, but there are laughs for the whole family. Lindberg states, “Hopefully the kids’ reactions to things also help engage other audience members in that sort of childlike imaginative way.” Lindberg also said that there is a lot to look forward to, “in terms of reaction and interaction.”

Karl Heimberger,  chose to audition for the musical because he loves acting.

He said,“I heard about an opportunity that I could act again so I thought I might as well try out and see where it takes me.”

It appears to have turned out well for him as he scored the lead role.

“The best part about playing Charlie Brown,” Heimberger continued, “is I can relate to him a lot, because, like everyone, you can relate to a five-year-old and be able to feel what the character is feeling at times because he gets picked on,” said Heimberger, who acted all throughout high school, was in four previous musicals and four previous plays, and plans to transfer to Iowa State to persue  a degree in Performing Arts.

Alex (Brownie) Brown talked about how he wasn’t going to audition for the play but later changed his mind because of Lindberg’s guidance.

“Originally I was supposed to be an assistant stage manager for the musical but the first day of auditions he [Lindberg] pushed me to audition a little bit and I wasn’t too comfortable.”

Brown was given a day to decide if he wanted to audition and chose to do so. Brown said ever since deciding to act in the play it has been one of the best experiences he has had at DMACC.

This is Brown’s first year at DMACC and he is a theatre major. Brown said he enjoys the musical, because, “It is super fun to just go out and do something different every time you are on stage and just act like a little kid again. You get to channel that little kid mindset.”

Brown was previously in “Twelfth Night” this summer, and was an assistant stage manager in “FOOLS.” In high school he was in “High School Musical” and got to perform on the Civic Center Stage.

“You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” is different from other musicals because it does not follow a plot line; if you miss a piece of the musical you haven’t missed an important part of any plot. It is essentially, seriously, and refreshingly like watching a comic strip live.

“The play is nonlinear, we kind of call it jokingly a montage play. It’s just like a bunch of vignettes,” stated Lindberg.

Because the play is a series of “vignettes,” (theatre-speak for a ton of little scenes instead of three big ones), he said, “The rehearsal process in that sense is a little more disjointed because you are just going from one thing to the next and they don’t have to all be related in a plot sense.”

“You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” was a great pick for DMACC.

Lindberg challenged himself and everyone on the crew by choosing a musical. It is fun and the audience are participants in the performance.

The actors are lively and do a great job at making the audience laugh. The play included a lot of dark humor mixed with childish humor that all together created a musical that could appeal to people of all ages.

Charlie Brown is a beloved character in many people’s lives and it was great to see him and his friends again or for the first time.    

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