Tonawanda News

The Town

March 14, 2013

East sings tribute to a favorite good man

Tonawanda News — These are the images of childhood: A beloved blue blanket. A kite-eating tree. A little yellow bird. A white, black-eared beagle with a red doghouse and an active imagination.

And one black-zig-zag-striped, iconic yellow shirt.

Kenmore East High School will present the musical, “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” today through Saturday at the school in the Town of Tonawanda. To stage director and producer John Vogt, the show starring everyone’s favorite blockhead represents childhood — and all the insight and humor it entails.

“To me, it represents a lot of my own childhood,” he said. “I always like to do shows where I feel I have a connection.

“I think that Charlie Brown represents wisdom, and there are so many messages and thoughts about how to treat each other. It’s social commentary disguised as comedy ... and a comic strip. I like that.”

Instead of an overarching storyline, the musical is composed of vignettes focusing on the familiar characters in episodic comic strip fashion, Vogt said. 

“If you know Charlie Brown and the Peanuts game, it’s like a day in the life,” he said, adding that this sort of show can be difficult for the actors. “There’s no plot. They have to be really on their game.”

However, “They’re super excited, which is always good. It’s always good to work with a cast who embraces the characters, which I think this group does.”

Mitchell Ostrowski, a senior will don the yellow and black shirt to play the title character, the perennial underdog around whom the show — and the comic strip before it — revolves.

“It brings out the inner child. It should be fun for people who have watched Charlie Brown for years to children who don’t really know who Charlie Brown is,” he said. “To play such an iconic character, around for years before I was even born ... it’s a huge honor.

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