You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown: Behind the Scenes

Performers warm up before practicing choreography.

Performers warm up before practicing choreography.

With just a day left before its April 1st opening night, the team behind Irvington’s spring musical, “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” is swinging into full gear with preparations. Fourteen main actors, an ensemble, the stagecraft crew, costume designers, and a pit orchestra conducted by Mr. Rodda are involved in the production. Based on the Charles Schulz comic strip “Peanuts,” the musical centers around the life of our main character, Charlie Brown, and his friends. 

This year, the production of Charlie Brown started later than usual due to the shift in the district calendar. Production Director Mr. Ballin and other production staff members had decided on performing “Cinderella” at first, but after some discussion and reevaluation, the idea was scrapped. The production team – including stage crews, costume and prop designers, music directors, and choreographers –  also held weekly meetings to coordinate and ensure cohesiveness between team members.


Due to COVID measures, actors are separated into two casts, the Blockheads and the Good Griefs, and a system of understudying was implemented. Before reciting lines or practicing movements, each actor made sure they understood the motivations and mentality of their characters by participating in a group discussion during the first few days. Then, each group practiced every day after school for extended periods of time, making sure they knew their lines, practiced their blocking (practicing positions in rehearsal) and ran over different scenes. 

“I think the one thing that’s very hard for rehearsal is probably remembering your lines, as well as remembering a lot of the dance moves because most are very complicated,” said Rahi Vinod (9), who plays Snoopy’s sidekick Woodstock in the production. Still, cohesive teamwork and dedicated rehearsals help students master these aspects of performance.

The Good Griefs practice blocking in the dance room for a scene.


Under the guidance of Stagecraft teacher Cayla-Ray Perry, students drew inspiration from the “Peanuts” comic to create scenery and props such as the house, backyard, trees, and even Snoopy’s bone. To emulate the comics, the set was designed so that actors seemed to be moving in a 2D space, with an emphasis on color while painting.

The process began as students brainstormed ideas for prop construction. They first sketched set designs and rendered them on computer. The work culminated in a variety of props, some that were complex and made out of wood, while others required paper products. Though the crew faced tighter time constraints than on previous shows, they were able to spend time and complete everything skillfully. 

“Theater is fun no matter what role you play in it,’” said Stagecraft member LD (10). “Whether you are in costume design, stagecraft, or the cast, theater is just one big creative family.”

The Stagecraft crew works on the set in Valhalla Theater.

Stay tuned for more behind-the-scenes of Irvington’s musical.