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"Good Man" Great Show

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The latest Theatre IV production, "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown," may be targeted at young audiences but it is truly a delight for anyone from 4 to 94. Impeccably designed and expertly acted, this musical collection of vignettes brims with silliness and sweetness for the kids, while including plenty of material aimed squarely at the older crowd. Featuring a whiz-bang band and even a clever dance step or two, this production is a testament to the universal appeal of a well-done show.

"Charlie Brown" resembles a series of "Peanuts" cartoons come to life, each scene making good use of Charles Schulz's richly drawn characters. Without the burden of a plot to sustain, the actors can fully exploit every opportunity for generating laughter. The entire cast excels, but as Snoopy, Scott Wichmann stirs up the most mayhem; his electrifying rendition of the song "Suppertime" is the show's most crowd-pleasing number. Wichmann's canine cool contrasts nicely with Steve Perigard's endearing ineptitude as Charlie Brown. Susan Sanford is a convincingly crabby Lucy, intentionally pitching her voice off-key in some songs to great comic effect. And, even with his thumb in his mouth, Cliff Todd infuses Linus with an amusing intellectual air.

Director John Glenn, who presided over local hits of the past such as "Quilters" and "Four Part Harmony," makes a rousing return visit to Richmond with this show. He employs masterful Scenic Designer Terrie Powers to create this production's perfect ripped-from-the-funny pages look. Costume Designer Thomas Hammond gets all the details right, down to matching shirts and socks. The pace never slows during this show's brisk two hours, thanks in part to catchy tunes such as "Happiness" and "My Blanket and Me." Let your kids treat you to one of the best musicals you'll see this year and go with them to "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown."

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