As the pointy end of semester approaches, university students seem to become fairly regressive. 90s themed parties spring up to remind us of our childhoods, talking cat videos spike in views and making cupcakes and fairy bread become legitimate procrastination methods.
So it seems appropriate that the UTS Backstage Theatre and Film Society, sensing students’ apparent need for childhood nostalgia, is staging musical comedy You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown this week.
Based on the comic strip Peanuts, the musical features characters like Charlie, Snoopy and Lucy, and is sure to help get you through those exam time blues. The show’s director, Alexander Burge, is excited to get the chance to direct an old favourite.
“I grew up reading the Peanuts comics so it seemed like the natural decision for a show about the Peanuts characters to be my directorial debut,” Burge tells Vertigo.
But how do you take a much-loved cartoon and make it work on stage? In directing the musical, Burge has taken some creative license with the 1967 script to ensure the feel of the cartoon is maintained.
“Originally the script was written for six characters: Snoopy, Charlie, Lucy, Schroeder, Linus and Sally. I didn’t like the idea of breaking up all of the cast so I gave the other cast members a title role themselves. For example, I cast a Peppermint Patty and Pig-Pen,” Burge says.
According to the show’s producer, Aimee Miller, even if you dislike musical theatre, you can’t hate Charlie Brown.
“Musicals tend to bring people in; whether it’s the audience or people wanting to get involved, it’s such a great thing to get a community going. This is the first Broadway musical, tried and tested, that we have done,” Miller says.
The show sees Backstage outgrow UTS facilities and instead perform at the new Lend Lease Darling Quarter theatre.
“Every production is bigger than the last. Every time we put on a show we’ve got that much more experience, more people involved, more talent and new talent. ‘Charlie’ is the biggest yet. Unfortunately UTS doesn’t really have the facilities to put on a show of this size. We’ve got the Bon Marche Theatre but it’s quite small and limited technology wise,” Miller says.
Burge agrees that You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown is bigger than what you might expect from a university theatre society. He’s even taking the show back to his home town in the Snowy Mountains to be performed at Cooma Little Theatre after its run in Darling Harbour.
“While it is a university production, it’s being produced to the most professional standard that Backstage could offer. One of the most exciting things for me is a seeing a show that we’ve produced to a professional standard in Sydney being brought back to my home town,” says Burge.
“I think the best thing about working with the Backstage productions is that everyone is so passionate about what they are wanting to do and have such vision for their shows,” Flitcroft says.You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown is being performed 7:30pm Friday June 7 and 1:30pm and 7:30pm Saturday June 8. Tickets can be purchased here.