‘You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown’ to be staged by Auburn students
Linus and Lucy, played by Ethan French and Sierra Aylor, have a conversation while Snoopy, played by Ashley Jeffers, sleeps on his dog house during rehearsal of Auburn Middle School's play 'You're a Good Man Charlie Brown.' Photo by Randy Litzinger
Next week, one of the most famous boys in the world will once again wish for the little red-haired girl to look his way.
A girl will declare unrequited love for a piano player. And a boy constantly carrying a blanket will share his words of wisdom, as he has for decades.
Auburn Middle School students will perform the musical, "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" Feb. 21 and Feb. 22.
Director Dana Harrison chose to reprise the musical she directed eight years ago.
"It's fun to see kids playing kids," said Harrison, who has a bachelor's degree in music and performance, and a master's of education.
Carrying her 9-month-old son on her hip, she keeps a practiced eye on the entire cast, on and off stage. She has taught for 13 years.
"This age group blows me away," Harrison said.
The most exciting part of the production for her is watching students' confidence and self esteem grow as they practice their roles in front of their peers.
Harrison's biggest challenge has not come from the actors, but from a lack of resources. With the help of parents and local businesses, she scrounged up lights, coordinated sound, and obtained props and costumes.
Acting as Lucy, 13-year-old Sierra Aylor's primary challenge to overcome has been slowing down her speech. Harrison told her to carefully enunciate everything she said.
She knew that the school play would become the milestone of her eighth-grade year, Sierra said.
"I went screaming down the hall," said Sierra, when she saw her name on the list of characters and that she would play Lucy.
"Lucy is me as a 5-year-old," said Sierra.
In spite of her enthusiastic reaction, Sierra claims she was shy before playing Lucy. Now she feels like she can talk to anyone. The idea of performing in front of people is good pressure for her, she said.
Like Sierra, Jacob Mattson, 13, said his confidence has grown. Jacob plays Charlie Brown. The experience has made him want to talk to people more than he did before rehearsals.
One of Jacob's acting hurdles to overcome was coordinating his actions with his singing. With the director's help, he's improved a lot, he said.
Fourteen-year-old Nicholas Seyler plays Schroeder. He is in the eighth grade, as are Sierra and Jacob.
Like Sierra and Jacob, Nicholas has grown in confidence, he said. He became more comfortable talking in front of people.
Acting as the musical prodigy meant learning how to properly pronounce music terms, many of which are Italian, said Nicholas.
Harrison is looking forward to opening night.
Until they are in front of an audience, you don't see how they [the actors] really shine, said Harrison.
"You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown" will be performed at 7 p.m. Feb. 21 and Feb. 22 at Auburn Middle School. Tickets are available at the door; $7 for adults and $3 for children.
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