Arts and Entertainment

'Peanuts' comes to life

Clockwise from top, Nick Dominski is Charlie Brown No. 1, Ryan Weir is Shroeder No. 2, Shannon Flynn is Lucy No. 1, Carlie Watson is Snoopy No. 1, Jesslyn Freeman is Sally Jo. 1, and Dannielle Bethel is Linus No.1. -
Clockwise from top, Nick Dominski is Charlie Brown No. 1, Ryan Weir is Shroeder No. 2, Shannon Flynn is Lucy No. 1, Carlie Watson is Snoopy No. 1, Jesslyn Freeman is Sally Jo. 1, and Dannielle Bethel is Linus No.1.
— image credit:

Everett A Marysville actor, Nick Dominski has a lead role as Charlie Brown No. 1 in the KIDSTAGE production of "You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown," a musical based on Charles M. Schultz's comic strip "Peanuts," directed in Everett by Kati Nickerson, the founding director of KIDSTAGE.

The full-scale musical features 51 fourth- to ninth-grade students with a selection of second- and third-grade students. The show features professionally-designed sets, costumes, lights and sound.

The young actors are selected through a highly competitive audition process, and the show is directed, choreographed, and musically directed by skilled theater professionals who are job-shadowed by youth.

Along with Dominski, north county talent includes five kids from Marysville: Madison Pickard, as Pigpen; Matthew Ircink as Schroeder No. 3; Kristina Simcox as a featured dancer and ensemble players Olivia Brice and Darby Fitch. Two of the cast are from Arlington: Emma VanderWeyst plays Linus

No. 3 and Elizabeth Sande is a featured dancer, and another The lead character playing Snoopy No. 1 is Carlie Watson, of Stanwood.

Based on the classic Charles M. Schultz's "Peanuts" comic strip, this award-winning musical is told through a series of songs and vignettes that mimic the four-panel format used in the original cartoon strip.

The KIDSTAGE production follows the 1999 revival of the musical which received two Tony Awards and features challenging four-part harmonies and contemporary pop rhythms.

Director Kati Nickerson said that the revival has two new numbers.

"It's a fun score. The revival is very upbeat. One of them, 'Beethoven Day' is a large, full-ensemble piece with a gospel feel. It's a show-stopper."

In addition, Sally, Charlie Brown's little sister, is a fun new character with her own new popular song, "My New Philosophy."

The show is written for only six actors, so Nickerson developed a creative concept to involve all 51 young performers.

The six principal roles of Charlie Brown, Lucy, Schroeder, Linus, Snoopy and Sally, are each played by three actors, who are each playing a different version of the individual characters.

The production is not triple cast. Instead the lines and scenes are broken up so the performers play the same role for every show.

Utilizing the comic strip concept, the set incorporates three 8- by 8-foot frames, allowing all three actors playing each principal character to create a live comic strip. Another example of this concept is a scene where one of the actors playing Charlie Brown acts out a song, while another Charlie Brown sings the number.

The various portrayals of each character add presence within the ensemble scenes and strength to each large musical number.

A Beagle Scout Ensemble provides opportunities for second- and third-graders and 10 of the youngest players represent Snoopy's Scouts, playing the roles of the little birds following Woodstock.

"We are looking at this production through different eyes," Nickerson said.

"We want to see as many characters come to life as possible, without altering any part of the script."

This KIDSTAGE production boasts three student directors, two student choreographers, a student music director, and a student assistant stage manager. Each of these students is involved in learning the skills the position requires alongside trained professionals.

"Oh my gosh, what an amazing amount of talent and enthusiasm we have here," Nickerson said.

Contact Sarah Arney

at 360-435-5757 or

sarney@arlingtontimes.com.

How to go

Village Theatre KIDSTAGE Ensemble presents "You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown," running April 10 - 20 at the Everett Performing Arts Center, 2710 Wetmore Ave. in Everett. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m., April 10-12 and April 17- 19 and one matinee performance starts at 2 p.m. April 20.

Tickets are $9 - $11 at the EPAC Box Office, 425-257-8600 or check the Web at

www.villagetheatre.org.

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