'Peanuts' favorites come to life

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If you're going to bring one of America's best-loved comic strips to life on stage, you have to start with the sets.

Director Debi Ballas made sure that the components of You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown were designed to look like something out of Charles Shultz's funny pages.

"The thing we tried to do with this production is stay true to the comic strip," Ballas said. "I wanted (the set) to have that animated look and feel."

Then the set components have to be large enough that the adult actors look like little children.

Of course, the actors also have to remember to act like children, and that can be challenging.

The actors who will portray Charlie Brown, Sally, Lucy, Linus and Shroeder in the musical Feb. 25-27 are well aware that the characters they portray are iconic.

They had to meet certain expectations in developing their characters, Ballas said.

And then there's Snoopy, who never talks in the comic strips. Readers always know what he's thinking, but you can't use thought bubbles in a theater.

"He verbalizes everything he's thinking," Ballas said. "It's more aside (and) out to the audience. It's very in keeping with the fact that he is a dog."

Some of Snoopy's beloved signature moments are represented in the play, from the air battles with the Red Baron to suppertime.

The story follows the Peanuts gang through a typical day, in which the characters daydream, go to school, play, sing and figure out what it means to be good people.

This adaptation is from the 1999 Broadway revival of the show, which won several Tony awards. It's newer, fresher, and Ballas said she likes it better than the original, which debuted on Broadway in 1971.

"People are not going to be disappointed," she said.

'You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown'

WHEN: 8 p.m. Feb. 25-26; 3 p.m. Feb. 27

WHERE: Imperial Theatre, 749 Broad St.

DETAILS: $15-$41; (706) 826-4707, www.augustaplayers.org


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