By Sean McGrath
22 Jan 1999
Time for previews, already -- "Good Grief!"
The much anticipated revival of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown will begin Broadway previews Jan. 23, 1999.
The show, starring Rent veteran Anthony Rapp in the title role and directed by Michael Mayer (A View From the Bridge, Side Man, Triumph of Love), plays at Broadway's Ambassador Theatre (219 West 49th Street). The comic-strip based musical is set to open Feb. 11.
Featuring book, music, and lyrics by Clark Gesner, YAGMCB is based on the long-running Charles M. Schulz comic strip "Peanuts," which features such timeless characters as everyone's favorite ne'er-do-well Charlie, his mean-spirited foil Lucy, the 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, on Mar. 7, 1967 and comprises loosely arranged songs and vignettes -- a slice of the lives of these elementary-school aged characters. The St. Marks production ran 1,597 performances. Songs include "Happiness Is," "Book Report" and "My Blanket and Me." In 1971, the original production transferred to Broadway's John Golden Theatre, where it only lasted 32 performances. The original cast recording of the score was released in 1967 by MGM.
For the new revival the show has been considerably reworked, with two new songs by Andrew Lippa (composer of john and jen [sic]) added, as well as additional music, a new character, and 23 new vignettes by Mayer from original Schultz strips written since 1967.
The two new songs include one for Kristin Chenoweth's character, Sally (a role created for this production) entitled "My New Philosophy" and an additional song for the character of the piano-playing Schroeder (played by Stanley Wayne Mathis) titled, "Beethoven Day."
New music has also been composed by Lippa for the show's title character, played by Rent veteran Anthony Rapp. According to press representative Jim 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.
Earlier this week, RCA Victor announced they will record Michael Mayer's revival of You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown . The studio recording took place Jan. 20, with the release date slated for March 1999. The recording will be produced by Lippa, with Vincent Caro to engineer.
For tickets call (212) 239-6200.