BY PAUL DOWNER
Delano Public Schools
DELANO, MN A familiar cast of characters will take the stage at Delano High School starting Friday, April 6, for the spring musical, “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.”
Show times for the production, based on the “Peanuts” comic strip by Charles Schulz, include a 7 p.m. performance Friday, April 6, and a 1 p.m. show Saturday, April 7.
The cast is led by Gabe Otto in the title role, and actors have enjoyed the prep work that has gone into the performance.
“I’m sure for Charlie Brown it’s hard to act depressed all the time when you’re having so much fun,” said freshman Hunter Elwood, who appears on stage as the piano-playing Schroeder.
The main character’s nemesis, Lucy, is played by sophomore Grace Schaust. Portraying such universally known characters can be a challenge, but it is one that Schaust has embraced.
“I think it’s super fun,” she said. “I want to make sure I’m true to the character, but at the same time, I feel like there are parts of Lucy in me, the sassy aspect of her, so I can kind of just let loose and have fun.”
The production includes a somewhat smaller cast than usual and a simple set, which several of the actors have appreciated.
“Sometimes, I kind of prefer smaller groups because there is more bonding,” said Schaust, adding that the chance to portray the relatively simple life of children has been her favorite part of this particular show. “We get to be little kids, and it’s not very often we get to do that, especially now in high school when we have so much going on,” she said.
Senior Jackson Groskreutz is a six-year crew veteran who has been involved in nearly 30 productions. He is managing the sound this spring.
“I love the music. I think it’s funny, and I love Snoopy’s parts. He’s got a couple of good songs that make me laugh every time I hear them,” Groskreutz said. “We never know what he’s going to do.”
Snoopy is played by Owen Dailey. Other characters include Linus (Blake Koehler), Sally (Jenna Kantrovich), Woodstock (Justin May), Peppermint Patty (Kelli Carroll), Marcie (Mary Ludwig), Violet (Claire Bruhn), Frieda (Juney Anderson), Eudora (Isabelle Hokanson), Pigpen (Sydney Sinnott), and Thibault (Autumn Trujillo). Additional ensemble members round out the cast, and middle school/high school vocal director Sandy Meyerson is managing the music.
Though not on stage himself, Groskreutz said he has enjoyed watching the actors grow into their roles.
“It’s fun to watch the people develop their characters,” he said. “It goes from where everyone is kind of unsure of what they’re reading on the script, to where they’ve really got their character down. It’s just cool to see the progression.”
Elwood and Schaust said the transformation involves both fitting into a character and injecting some of their own personality.
“You get your lines and your choreography, and then you can kind of make it your own,” said Schaust. “You add your own touch to it.”
Elwood said the opposite is also true.
“Acting is taking yourself and turning yourself into something different,” he said.
While the thrill of the performance will come with the weekend shows, actors said their favorite part of the experience overall is the companionship found in working toward a common goal.
“Theater is one of those things where it’s not like some people sit on the bench while the rest play, but everyone is in the game together,” Schaust said. “Every part matters.”