Reviewed by George Basler

Perky and amiable are words that describe You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, now mid-way into a two-weekend run at the Cider Mill Stage in Endicott.

While the show has no plot as such, it’s so good natured and pleasantly entertaining that it’s hard to resist. The production, being staged by BLAST (Bold Local Artists of the Southern Tier), sports a playful tone and an engaging six-person cast that brings to life the classic characters created by cartoonist Charles M. Schulz in his Peanuts comic strip.

The musical, with music and lyrics by Clark Gesner, was a major hit Off Broadway when it debuted in 1967. It continues to be performed regularly even though the comic strip ceased in 2000. A 1999 revival offered some punched-up dialogue by Michael Meyer, three new songs by Andrew Lippa and a script written collaboratively by Gesner, cast members and the production team.

The reason for the enduring popularity was Schulz’s skill in conveying the joys and innocence of childhood while at the same time humorously touching on the insecurities and stresses that go with it. The combination means it appeals to both children and sophisticated, even jaded, adults.

The musical works to retain the spirit of Schulz’s original creation. The main characters are all there: self-doubting Charlie Brown (Stephen Kane), brainy Schroeder (Nick O’Neil), philosophical Linus (Richard Aton), crabby Lucy (Kerry Kane), spunky Sally (Amanda Blake) and the goofy beagle Snoopy (Isaac Weber).

Instead of a plot, the musical features a series of vignettes interspersed with musical numbers, some more successful than others.

Many of the scenes are familiar from the comic strip. Charlie Brown leads his hapless baseball team in a losing effort. Snoopy takes on the Red Baron in a World War I dogfight. Lucy sets up shop as a pint-sized psychiatrist with Charlie Brown as her only patient. All the characters struggle with writing book reports.

The performers, under the direction of BLAST Artistic Director Rob Egan, show agreeable spunk and humor. They do a laudable job conveying the characters’ childish qualities without resorting to stereotypical “cute kid” mannerisms. They also do some nice chorus work.

The score is a mixed bag. Some of the songs are instantly forgettable. Others have a quirky charm. This is especially true of “My Blanket and Me,” “Beethoven Day” and “The Book Report” in Act I and “My New Philosophy” and “Suppertime” in Act II. Egan’s staging and the cast members’ performances magnify the songs’ appeal.

The charms of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown should not be overstated. For all its strong points, it remains a show that is more pleasing than memorable. But, while it may be a trifle, it’s an appealing one.

The BLAST production ends on two high notes. One is “Suppertime” in which Weber pulls out all the stops in a delightfully over the top performance as Snoopy waits for his supper.

The second high note is the show’s final number, “Happiness,” which is genuinely touching as the Peanuts characters sing about the simple things that can bring joy into your life. It ends the show with a sweetly positive message that is always welcome.

The four-member band, led by Music Director Sonny DeWitt, was solid throughout.

While all the performances deserve applause, a special mention goes to Blake as Sally, Charlie Brown’s kid sister. The character wasn’t in the original 1967 production but was added in the 1999 revival. The addition was a good move because the character’s sassiness adds some spice to the show. Blake plays the role with an infectious silliness and steals every scene she’s in.

The opening night audience (May 24) included groups of children who seemed to enjoy the show as much as the adults. My advice is to order tickets in advance because opening night was a near sellout.

IF YOU GO; BLAST (Bold Local Artists of the Southern Tier (BLAST) will present You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday (May 30-June 1) and 2:30 p.m. Sunday (June 2) at the Cider Mill Stage, 2 Nanticoke Ave., Endicott. Tickets are $30 (12 and under, $22) including fees. Advance tickets can be ordered on the Cider Mill Stage’s website,, or call 607-321-9630.