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'Peanuts' crew comes alive in HHS play

News editor

Charlie Brown, the beloved comic strip character of Charles M. Schulz, turned 64 years old in October, but he’ll be his ever-youthful self when Hillsboro High School’s production of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” opens at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the school auditorium.

Sophomore Vance Klassen is cast as Charlie Brown, and while his knowledge of the Peanuts world has come primarily through television, he has a good grasp on the character’s essence.

“Charlie Brown was very hopeful in what he did, but still kind of glum about life, which is kind of different to portray in acting, but it’s good,” Klassen said.

While the play debuted in 1967, Riley Loewen, who plays Lucy, said the childhood antics of the play will resonate with viewers of all ages.

“I think those who grew up with it will enjoy it because there’s that recognition of taking you back to your childhood,” Loewen said. “For those who haven’t grown up with it, it will spark an interest. All of the colors are so much fun, and we’re like little kids, and that will make the kids in the audience go, ‘Look at that, it looks so cool.’”

Loewen, a senior, is enjoying a character that’s different from ones she’s played in past productions.

“Lucy is fun for me because I’ve never been the bully, per se, of the musicals, and this is my fourth time,” she said. “I’ve always been the goody two shoes, the nice one, so this is more fun for me because I get to play it up and be the big drama queen.”

The play draws on the comic strip to re-create many familiar scenarios, but one playgoers won’t see is Charlie Brown falling flat on his back after trying to kick a football that Lucy jerks away.

“A lot of people ask, and it’s kind of disappointing to tell them that there’s not a scene with that,” Klassen said, “but there are many other good ones.”

Loewen said the intensity of practice has increased in the final rehearsal before opening night.

“I think with any show, production week is always way more stressful than any other week,” she said. “I’ve been really impressed with how the chorus and newbies have been doing with set changes and learning everything. They’ve been doing a really good job.”

Klassen also had praise for younger cast members.

“The cast has really impressed me this year,” he said. “Having a lot of freshmen step up and take on some major roles has been very good. They’ve been improving ever since rehearsals started.”

Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at the high school auditorium. Tickets, which cost $5, can be reserved by calling the high school office, (620) 947-3991.

“Friday night is looking like a sellout, but there are seats open on Thursday and Saturday,” high school secretary Patty Funk said.

Last modified Nov. 13, 2014

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