‘Charlie Brown’s’ in town
It’s probably true that Matthew Hayes is the youngest actuary to commute from Lafayette to Corydon to direct a play at Hayswood Theatre.
‘I was the odd person who was originally a theatre major on scholarship at I.U.S. who switched to math,’ he said.
He earned his math degree at the University of Louisville. He realized he could make a lot more money in the insurance business, ‘but I love the theatre,’ he said, ‘It’s my hobby.’
Hayes, a North Harrison High School graduate, is only 24. He’s an actuary for Lafayette Life, and he’s directing his first full-length play, ‘You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,’ at Hayswood. It opens Friday night at the community theatre at Capitol Avenue and Chestnut Street in Corydon, next to the Kintner House Inn B and B.
Because his work forced him to move from Palmyra to Lafayette, Hayes has had to rely heavily upon his cast to get ready, and they have.
‘They are an extremely talented group,’ Hayes said Saturday afternoon, at their second rehearsal of the day. ‘I really feel good to have all the talent that I’ve got here. Half the job is getting the most talented people here. Without that, it’s not going to come together.’
Because ‘Charlie Brown’ is a musical with lots of dancing, the cast has worked hard and gotten expert help from Kathy Todd Chaney of Louisville, who has choreographed many shows at theatres in the Falls Cities area, including Jeffersonville High School.
Hayes said, ‘I am sure everyone can find a little bit of their younger selves in Charlie Brown, his sister, Sally, his bossy friend, Lucy, her philosphical brother, Linus, or the musical prodigy, Schroeder. And I think we can all see who we wanted to be as a child in Snoopy.’
Cole Duffy, a junior and a familiar figure on the North Harrison stage, plays Charlie Brown, the lovable Peanuts comic strip character created by Charles Schultz and read by millions through the years.
Cole’s sister, Summer Duffy, a North Harrison and recent I.U.S. grad, plays Sally. She was Cinderella last year in Hayswood’s ‘Into the Woods.’
Jeff Ekberg, originally from Chicago, now Louisville, plays Schroeder. This is his first role at Hayswood.
Emily Fields, a voice teacher from Louisville, is Lucy. She has directed and played in other productions of ‘Charlie Brown.’
Kevin Horton, originally from Atlanta, now Sellersburg, is Snoopy. He is a Navy veteran and a senior voice major at I.U.S.
Michael Snelling, who grew up in Utica and now lives in New Albany, is Linus. He has been on stage with many area threatre groups.
Four children, from age six to nine, Emilyl Stock, Micenzi Livengood, Michaela Livengood and Jacob Smith, are ‘the Woodstocks.’
‘I was blessed to have this cast,’ said Hayes. ‘They’re just so incredibly talented.’
‘You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown’ ‘reads a lot like the Peanuts comic strip,’ Hayes said. It’s a series of vignettes from an average day in the life of Charlie Brown. There’s something for everyone and suitable for children and adults, although they may be laughing at different things.
The set will be very simple so the audience can concentrate on the characters and dialogue, but it does include, however, the psychiatrist’s stand (‘Help available for 5 cents’ and ‘the doctor is IN’) plus Schroeder’s piano. Hayes designed the set and Horton (‘our master carpenter’) is building it.
Speaking of double duty by the cast, Snelling is the musical director; Summer Duffy is doing the costumes.
‘Charlie Brown’ opens Friday night at 8, and will be given Saturday at 8 and Sunday at 2 p.m. The same schedule will be followed the second weekend.
Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for senior citizens and children under 12. For reservations, call Magdalena’s Restaurant at 738-8075.