Wisdom of Charlie Brown comes to FSLT stage Feb. 15

Wisdom of Charlie Brown comes to FSLT stage Feb. 15

“As long as you have a positive outlook and surround yourself with people who love and support you, it’s OK to try and fail.”

“Trust people’s actions over their words.”

“You can find happiness in the small things in life.”

“Really, we’re all just kids pretending to be adults.”

“You gotta just keep trying until you get it right!”

“Anything and anyone in life that you love could and should bring you happiness.”

The six cast members portraying the Peanuts gang in “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” all knew the wisdom embodied by their characters before the Fort Smith Little Theatre production. But they — and director Brandon Bolin — have all learned something during rehearsals, too.

“I think it’s good that everyone can see that there’s a Peanuts character for them, a character they can identify with, and … there are good reasons why they do so,” Bolin says. “Each character has something about them that we might wish we could change about ourselves, but also things that are quite admirable qualities for adults to possess.

“I’ve always identified with Charlie Brown,” Bolin muses. “He’s always over-analyzing everything, somehow always super-optimistic and hopeful for the best possible outcome — THIS time that kite’s gonna fly — but then never being fazed at all when the worst outcome happens.

“I definitely over-analyze people and situations all the time, and I can definitely see the eternal struggle between indefatigable optimism and positivity and paralyzing pessimism,” he adds. “[But] I could stand to be more carefree like Snoopy, more passionate like Schroeder, and more assertive like Lucy!”

“I think I related to all of the characters in a way as a kid,” says Shannon Stoddard, who portrays Sally Brown. “Constantly trying and failing at things like Charlie Brown, loving my blankie and sucking my thumb like Linus, the ultimate goal of being queen like Lucy, my love of music like Schroeder. … but I think Sally Brown and her sassy smart remarks is always who I’ve related to the most!”

“I felt like I was always Linus, but now, having invested time into really studying the characters and being a part of the show, I really think I am Schroeder,” says Eric Wells, who plays the piano player. “Music is his passion, and he would rather put his heart and soul into it than anything. I feel like I did the same as a child, and it continues now as an adult. I put so much into theater and my writing now that I see the parallels with Schroeder.”

Everybody on the FSLT stage has that kind of passion, says Bolin.

“It’s always amazing to me to see the level of talent that comes to Little Theatre auditions,” he says. “This show in particular presents a unique challenge. Part of what makes Peanuts so funny is that they are kids, yes, but they’re very adult-like kids who are unintentionally and unknowingly mature in many of their observations and witticisms — and NOT so mature in many of them as well! So, what you have with this show is adults who have to act like kids who are acting like adults. I think they pull off the feat quite well, and I think audiences will be impressed by how these actors tap into the iconic characters they’re representing.”

“We as a cast are all very close and have worked really hard,” says Wesley Fox, who portrays Charlie Brown. “I hope that [audiences will] be talking about the quality of the performances and the group dynamic. There are only six of us. We have worked so hard, and I think it will show. We will sob and boo hoo on closing night.”

Everyone agrees the closing song, “Happiness,” will touch both actors and audiences.

“I think we’ll definitely be giving some audience members the warm fuzzies this February,” says Megan Henley, who plays Lucy.

“[It’s] such a simply worded and pretty song with a message of contentment,” Fox says. “Joy can be found in our day-to-day lives, and I think that people will respond to that message.”



‘You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown’

WHEN — 7:30 p.m. Feb. 15-17 & Feb. 21-24; 2 p.m. Feb. 18 & 25

WHERE — Fort Smith Little Theatre, 401 N. Sixth St.

COST — $20 opening night; $15 all other shows

INFO — fslt.org or 783-2966

Categories: Theater