According to production spokesperson, Jim Byk, two new songs written by Andrew Lippa (composer of john and jen [sic]), as well as a short musical phrase have been added to the revival of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown during the out of town try-outs.
Also of note, the pre-Broadway Boston engagement for the show has been canceled, due to director Michael Mayer's commitment to his upcoming gig at the Roundabout: directing Laurence Fishburne and Stockard Channing in Lion in Winter. Because of the newly-found free-time, the Broadway opening for Charlie Brown has been moved up to Feb. 4 (a week earlier than expected), with previews still slated to begin Jan. 23, 1999.
Byk told PBOL (Dec. 17) that Kristin Chenoweth's character, Sally (a role added for this production) has received a new song entitled "My New Philosophy." Also, according to Byk, Stanley Wayne Mathis' character -- the piano-playing Schroeder -- has also just received a new song titled, "Beethoven Day."
New music has also been composed for the show's title character, played by Rent veteran Anthony Rapp. According to Byk, the music doesn't really add up to a song -- "more of a brief musical phrase" -- and has been inserted just before the opening number. All new music has been composed by Lippa, whose Wild Party musical (different from the LaChiusa musical of the same name) will be staged at The Manhattan Theatre Club this spring.
With the inclusion of these new changes, the production seems to be more of a complete re-working of the 1960s Off-Broadway musical than a revival. The production had already featured 23 new vignettes, written by "Peanuts" creator Charles Schultz and adapted by director Michael Mayer, and an entire new character, replacing the amalgam character in the original Charlie Brown, Patty, with the well known sister of Charlie Brown, Sally. The cast for YAGMCB includes Roger Bart (Triumph of Love) as Snoopy, Kristin Chenoweth as Sally (Steel Pier), Ilana Levine (The Last Night of Ballyhoo) as Lucy, Stanley Wayne Mathis (The Lion King) as Schroeder, Anthony Rapp (Rent) as Charlie Brown, and B.D. Wong (M. Butterfly) as Linus.
The pre-Broadway tour of Charlie Brown began Nov. 18 in Skokie, Illinois and received good reviews from the Chicago papers. The current stop for the tour is at The Fisher Theatre in Detroit MI for a run, Dec. 16 - 27. The production will then move to St. Louis' Fox Theatre, Dec. 30 - Jan 3, 1999, its last stop before Broadway.
Charlie Brown is based on the long-running Charles M. Schulz comic strip "Peanuts," which features such characters as luckless Charlie, Lucy the shrew, blanket-toting Linus and piano-playing Schroeder. Begun Oct. 2, 1950, the strip now appears in more than 2,600 newspapers internationally. The musical opened Off-Broadway at Theatre 80 St. Marks March 7, 1967 and comprises loosely-arranged songs and vignettes -- a slice of the lives of these elementary-school aged characters. Songs include "Happiness Is," "Book Report" and "My Blanket and Me."