Adelson students to stage ‘You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown’

The musical "You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown" is normally performed by adults. This time, it will be performed by 10-, 11- and 12-year-olds at The Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Educational Campus.

"Children approach it with (a different viewpoint)," said Thom Culcasi, theater teacher at the school, 9700 W. Hillpointe Road. "They have this incredible sense of fearlessness and simplicity that an adult doing these things doesn’t have. With an adult, it always kind of sounds arched. But with children doing it, they’re involved with all these problems, so they ‘get it’ in the way an adult would have to dredge it up."

The musical comedy was first brought to the stage in 1967 and features music and lyrics by Clark Gesner. It’s based on the characters created by cartoonist Charles M. Schulz in his Peanuts comic strip. The musical went on to appear on Broadway and has been a popular choice for amateur theater productions because of its small cast and simple staging.

Culcasi, who directs the production, said he intentionally chose a small production for the school’s first foray into a show with professional performance values.

"I wanted to do something a little more user friendly that didn’t require 40 munchkins and flying witches," he said.

Culcasi has a 20-year background that includes appearing on Broadway and performing in summer theater alongside Gesner. He has many contacts in the business and tapped a couple of them for the show.

The Summerlin production, for example, features a set designed by John Saltonstall, owner of Copper Creek Partners. The company builds sets for special events, conventions and for Cirque du Soleil. The two became acquainted at the Adelson school.

"We were doing a show with the Jewish Repertory Theatre, and we got to talking, so, when Charlie Brown (was being planned), they reached out to me," he said, adding that he provided the design. "It’s the faculty and the kids who are doing all the work."

A member of the Cirque du Soleil family, Mike Tushauf of "KA," was the lighting designer.

The production stars Brayden Bramhall as Charlie Brown, Sarah Littman and Samantha Colwell as Lucy, Megan Larian and Tal Ziv as Sally, Yoni Mayer as Linus, Tal Derei as Schroeder, Nicole Derei and Riley Fulton as Peppermint Patty, and Noy Benaloul and Bailey Fulton as Snoopy.

The dual roles are due to the "big student talent base" Culcasi discovered when auditioning, he said, adding, "It breeds variety into the show, the Lucys will be different, the Snoopys different, it gives it a life you (otherwise) wouldn’t get."

The play follows the characters made famous in Schulz’s comic strip. Each has his own view of life as a 6-year-old. Lucy is smitten with Schroeder and tries to impress him.

Charlie Brown talks about his bad days and can’t muster the courage to speak to the Little Red-Haired Girl. Snoopy has no such qualms and is off blasting enemy planes from the skies of World War I, while Linus dreams of a day when everyone is content to have a blanket.

By nightfall, Charlie Brown is sad that he still has not discovered what it means to be a "good man." He studies a pencil, dropped earlier by the Little Red-Haired Girl, who is his perennial crush.

As he examines it, he discovers that there are teeth marks all over it, which leads to a profound discovery … which you’ll have to attend to learn.

Performances of "You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown" are planned for 6 p.m. Monday through March 22 at the Adelson Educational Campus.

The show is free and open to the public. To reserve a seat, call 255-4500.

Contact Summerlin/Summerlin South View reporter Jan Hogan at or 387-2949.

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