Get your baseball caps and food bowls ready, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown is the ORHS springs musical, and I guarantee you’ll have a good time.
This spring is the first spring in two years that Oyster River High School has been able to do a musical since COVID-19 put the school in remote learning. The play will be performing for three nights and one matinee showing. With COVID preventing a musical for so long, the excitement from the director and cast members is very present.
Cathi Stetson is this year’s director for the spring musical. She chose to do this play because “I knew that I had to find a show that I could do outside if we needed to with COVID.”
Stetson made the decision for the play in November, holding auditions in December. When picking the main roles for each of the leads, she said it was an easy choice at auditions. “When our leads were chosen, it was almost like they already knew [the character]…, everybody auditioned for the part they wanted, like they knew exactly who they should be.”
When I saw a dress rehearsal production of the play, it was obvious how good the roles were for each individual person. Allison Howland (‘22) played the star role of Charlie Brown, a role she loved being in. “I 100% feel like I relate to my character, and people wouldn’t necessarily get that immediately.”
Howland has taken this role on with no problem which is incredibly impressive considering that the last time she got to do the musical was in her freshman year. “I only ever did Urinetown, and then I was supposed to do Spelling Bee but I didn’t, because COVID happened.”
Even if this is the case for some of the leads, they still had time to perfect their performances. Gracie Gallagher (‘22) played Sally Brown, as well as helped choreograph the play’s dance routines. Gallagher took on the roles with a passion, saying, “it’s really fun. I really like getting my own shot at this, but it’s also very frustrating sometimes and kind of hard to be in control.” Even with all this though, she played the bubbly Sally so well, giving an excellent performance with awesome choreography.
Taking on another big role was Hannah Hatfield (‘22), who took on the leading role of Lucy Van Pelt and the student producer. Being a senior in the theater world is a big deal to Hatfield because of her freshman year experience. “I was in [the spring musical] my freshman year and it was a really cool experience because I was a freshman and working with the seniors. They kind of took me under their wing that year. Now that the roles are reserved where I’m the senior, creating relationships with the freshmen is just really fun to do.”
Another cast member feeling the nerves is Will Johnson (‘22), who is here doing his first Oyster River production, playing Linus Van Pelt. Johnson says, “I feel excited, maybe a little bit nervous because this is a big thing.” However, he still feels just like he can relate to this nerdy character and is excited to play him.
However, even with all the stress, everyone part of the play still had a lot of fun. Ethan Bessette (‘22) played the role of Shroeder. He said, “I really like rehearsing with everyone. It’s just a fun thing to do.” Bessette also really enjoyed his part. “I am just like Shroeder. Playing this part felt just like I was being myself.”
Thi Udomprasert (‘22) also felt a connection with her character, Snoopy, like Howland and Bessette. “I really like the energy Snoopy has. The character was definitely my favorite. I’m glad I auditioned for it.”
When going to the dress rehearsal performance, I was blown away by the performance. Everyone was so amazingly in character and stayed that way for the whole performance. By the end, I had already known I wanted to see it again, and you can too!
Thursday, May 5th at 7 PM will be the opening night for this play. If you can’t make it then, there are showings as well on May 6th and May 7th at the same times. May 7th will also feature a matinee performance at 2 PM. Tickets are on sale now, $15 for adults and $10 for students, seniors, and veterans. To see behind the scenes of the play, there is an Instagram for the musical @orhs_musical.