A Charlie Brown Christmas
By Charles M. Schultz
Adaptation by Eric Schaffer
Directed by Wade Hair
Starring Marcus Davila, Keith Newhouse, Rebekka Fogel and Christian Andrew Santiago
Winter Park, FL
Perhaps your old enough to have seen this in CBS Color TV back in 1965, perhaps not. But this half hour of animated television became as big a part of the holiday as Bing Cosby and Burl Ives and “It’s A Wonderful Life.” As all of Charlie Brown’s (Davila) friends make ready for the season, he wonders “What does this all mean?” Linus (Santiago) responds with the Christmas story from Luke, and the universe achieved balance. Here we see the process unfold on stage, slightly reimagined and acted by a cast that’s a good bit older then the notional children of the sixties.
Act One largely focuses on the four panel gags delivered by Snoopy (Newhouse), Linus, Charlie Brown and Lucy (Fogel). I missed a few of them do to bad timing in the parking lot, but the ones I caught were cute with Newhouse’s Snoopy doing his best to steal the show. We get a bit of drama; Charlie Brown wants to get a gift for his girlfriend but lacks the $25 dollars as he’s just a child. But Charlie has bigger issues; he’s just not feeling the holiday like he ought to, according to everyone else. Depression, disillusion, and holiday anxiety surround him as his friend’s party, ice skate and make extensive holiday wish lists. But he soldiers on, and In Act Two, Charlie gets roped into directing the Christmas pageant and learns firsthand how hard it is to act with children.
Davila’s Charlie is a bit tall for the role, but he has the right boyish look. Newhouse aims for the loopy Snoopy and gets more laughs than anyone, although he’s aided by the extra cute Woodstock (Kaitlyn Hoyt). On keys we hear BeeJay Aubertin Clinton as Schroeder. I’m not sure if he really plays piano, but he convinced me tonight. Finally, Pig Pen (Chris Siciliano) didn’t get that many lines, but I loved his “Tough Guy Just Finished Doing an Oil Change” look. Yes, it’s a kid show but the kind you, as an adult, won’t squirm through.