“Snoopy!!! The Musical!” is the sequel to “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” which focused mostly on Charlie Brown. But, in this musical, Snoopy commands the stage. Audiences can expect to see the same characters and interaction they have witnessed on the TV specials and read in the comic strip.
Dr. Ellen Peck, assistant professor of drama at JSU, serves as the director of the musical, and Kayleigh Jade Smith is the choreographer. While there is only a slight difference between the musical and the comic strip, Peck said, “The biggest change is that Snoopy talks. He never had a voice in the cartoon.”
Although Snoopy, played by Jacob Cummings, has some of the bigger musical numbers such as “Mother’s Day” and “The Big Bow-Wow,” Peck said the production is much more of an ensemble.
“Peppermint Patty has two songs as well. You get to hear everyone’s voices,” Peck said. Another ensemble number includes “Don’t Be Anything Less (Than Everything You Can Be).”
The cast includes Tanner Cain as Charlie Brown, Aaron Martin as Linus, Kacey Laine Jacobs as Lucy, Heather Boyett as Peppermint Patty, Meaghan Browning as Sally and Autumn Brown as Woodstock.
While there is no live orchestra, there will be two keyboardists with additional music directed by Paul Moran.
“The music is peppy. We wanted the characters to talk and move the same way the songs do,” Peck said. It can be challenging to adapt a cartoon or comic strip to the stage, and Peck thinks the most difficult part is the pace and allowing the musical to have its own rhythm.
“We can’t do the different cuts and angles that you have on TV so we have to speed it up,” she said. “In live theater, it has to be fast.”
Peck is most proud of the way the actors have embraced the characters and made them their own.
“You have real live people understanding characters and bringing their own interpretation and life to it,” she said. The cast, Peck said, has “enjoyed getting to know these characters and have shown something in each one.”
Even Sally, played by Meaghan Browning, has perfected her stance on stage the same way Charles M. Schulz created her.
Michelle Darrisaw is a graduate student in journalism at the University of Alabama.
Snoopy!!! the musical!
When: Today and Saturday at 7 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m.
Where: Ernest Stone Performing Arts Center, corner of 11th Street and Church Avenue, Jacksonville
Cost: $10 for adults, $8 for JSU staff and senior citizens, $5 for students, military and children