Drama Club performance revives love of musical theater in CHS



The CHS Drama Club presents only their second ever musical — You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. https://unsplash.com/license

Andrew Seckular and Ethan Wen

The Communications High School Drama Club stepped into the spotlight on May 6 and 7, dressed in the iconic childhood outfits of the Peanuts characters with a production of “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.”

The production, directed by senior Maggie Schneider of Wall Township and produced by senior Ainsley Lang of Shrewsbury, featured 11 cast members who took on the roles of beloved Peanuts characters. This was only CHS’s second musical ever, but Schneider and Lang took on the challenge.

“Maggie, the director, and I are probably the most musical-obnoxious people ever… we have a song in our heart and we wanted to do it,” Lang said.

Although Lang and Schneider were passionate about the project, spearheading a musical has multiple facets to focus on.

“There is so much more to handle in terms of you have to learn the music, choreo and the dialogue,” Lang said.

Due to the increased amount of work on their plate, Schneider and Lang had to shift their approach from the fall play.

“Adding in the music, we just had to give more direction, and Ainsley and I both took on more hands-on approach to the show then we did to the fall one,” Schneider said.

Schneider and Lang also had to spend extra time on making sure the characters were portrayed accurately. She compared Charlie Brown to the fall play, Peter and the Starcatcher. Contrary to the Spring Musial, the actors had more flexibility to define their characters.

“The Peanuts characters are so mainstream that if we didn’t get each and every single one of the characters not necessarily perfect but good and presentable then the show wouldn’t work,” Schneider said.

Sophomore Jordan Juliano of Long Branch, played Linus and spoke about the new demands that a musical has compared to a play.

“It’s a lot of pressure that you have on yourself to like make it look good and to be the best that you can be,” Juliano said.

The added pressure didn’t take away from the unforgettable memories that the cast had. It also provided an opportunity for the actors and actresses to experience different elements of musical theater. Sophomore Garrett Stemetzki of Wall Township, who played Schroeder, explained that he enjoyed getting to expand his acting repertoire.

“I’ve always loved music and singing and I’ve enjoyed musical theater,” Stemetzki said. “So being able to do this after such a long break was a lot of fun and that was something that was missing from the fall show.”

Leading man — Charlie Brown — was played by sophomore Justin Longo of Middletown, who described that some of his favorite experiences precluded the rehearsals themselves.

“The hour before rehearsal when we would all go into each other’s cars and go out to restaurants because it really showed that theater is a bonding experience, a community,” Longo said.