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‘You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown’ Preview: A Buoyant Playground of a Musical

Inseo Yeo '26 ("Charlie Brown") and more cast members of "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown"
Inseo Yeo '26 ("Charlie Brown") and more cast members of "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" By Angelina X. Ng
By Angelina X. Ng, Contributing Writer

Perhaps “playground” isn’t the first word that comes to mind when thinking of the Loeb Experimental Theater, but that is what the cast and crew of the musical “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown” aim for the audience to experience when they see their performance in the space. Featuring the characters from the comic strip “Peanuts,” with music and lyrics by Clark Gesner, book by John Gordon, and a revision by Andrew Lippa in 1999, the musical follows the antics of the familiar gang as they navigate the treacherous world of growing up. The Harvard-Radcliffe Dramatic Club production, directed by Nikhil O. Kamat ’25, runs from March 2 to March 4 at the Loeb Ex.

For Kamat, the musical isn’t just about a snippet of childhood, but also about connecting to themes that the college audience would still relate to.

“It evokes a lot of joy and happiness, and also kind of makes you reflect on times you were put in similar situations to these characters,” he said. “It’s really playing into that enjoyment and excitement that children have.”

The cast and crew are mindful of their college audience, and have accordingly taken a creative direction to help the musical connect to students venturing to the theater in search of a respite from schoolwork.

“We thought a lot about how to fit the show for a college audience and with college actors,” said Carolyn Y. Hao ’26, the choreographer. “And I think a lot of what we thought about was connecting to childhood and to just being young and being free.”

The musical is staged in an intimate black box theater with the audience seated on three sides of the performance space. The farther audience row is positioned mere feet away from the stage, which makes the production feel much more cozy than traditional musical productions. Matthew J. Given ’25 (“Snoopy”) relishes the opportunities that such a performance space brings.

“It’s a good acting challenge, being able to utilize the fact that everyone is crammed in so tight and watching your every move,” he said. “In some ways, you don’t have to be as big and gestural as you are on the mainstage.”

“We’ve definitely thought a lot about how to move the actors in a way and choreograph their movements, and figure out how to project to all sides of the theater,” Hao added.

This intimacy with the audience is something that the cast and crew of “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown” want to take advantage of to the fullest degree. Kamat finds the relationships between characters to be the driving force of the musical, which is rendered more powerful by the smaller performance space.

“What makes the show interesting for the audience is the connections and feelings they have towards the characters,” he said. “You get to feel like what’s happening is really and truly right in front of you.”

When talking to cast and crew, the buoyancy and creativity is palpable. The cast and crew have embraced the sense of play that their musical evokes, channeling that sense of joy and curiosity on and off stage.

“It’s a couple of kids that we can all relate to, in some way or another, going through life, enjoying its stresses and trials and tribulations, but coming out on the other side with a smile,” Given said.

Ultimately, though, “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown” is a production that just wants its audience to have fun.

“It’s a reminder to be more free, or to be more childish, once in a while,” Inseo Yeo ’26 said.

“What I’m really loving about this show is that it doesn’t pretend to be anything more than it is,” Given said.

For college students exhausted from the onslaught of midterms and non-stop campus life, “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown” may be a crucially needed, relatable, and enjoyable escape.

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