Hayswood cast brings ‘Charlie Brown’ to life
Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor, Editor, [email protected]
Some things during the holidays become family traditions, like watching “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
However, this year, I missed the television special that premiered on Dec. 9, 1965. Instead, I was treated to a live performance of the show at Hayswood Theatre in Corydon. This year’s TV version aired Thursday, the same night as the theatre’s opening night.
Hayswood’s cast, ranging from age 12 to mid-20s, didn’t disappoint.
Director Jason Jones, who made his stage debut at Hayswood back in 1987 in “Alice in Wonderland,” referred to the cast as “young” and “very talented.”
Carter Thompson, in his first role at Hayswood, had Charlie Brown’s demeanor down perfectly, and Chelsea Roy, also a first-timer at the Corydon theatre, was the perfect overbearing Lucy.
Stealing the show, for me, was Allie Mattingly as Snoopy. I imagine it’s not easy to portray an animal, but Mattingly was fun to watch.
The only thing more difficult to be in this production than a dog perhaps was a Christmas tree. Brylee Deuser, who has performed at Hayswood as well as on other stages, pulled it off.
Other cast members include Will Weatherby (Linus), Tucker Wheatley (Schroeder), Cassidy Gray (Sally Brown), Morgan Bell (Violet), Eryck Knear (Pig Pen), Olivia Spencer (Frieda) and IJ Henry (Shermy).
With both indoor and outdoor scenes, the folding back-drop panels worked extremely well for this show. Eric Bell and Scott Smith were in charge of scenic construction.
The theatre production was like making the television version come to life with the familiar scenes — the skating rink, the play rehearsal, Charlie Brown and Linus’ search for a Christmas tree, etc. — in 3D along with the music we’ve come to know and love.
Prior to the start of the show, children in the audience were invited to the stage to listen to Mrs. Claus read a story about her husband, Santa. She also gave each child a small bell.
Jones said he had to “pull a lot of strings to get her” to the theatre.
At each performance of “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” the theatre is collecting coats, hats, gloves, etc., to donate to those in need. Jones said donations can be made any time the theatre is open.
Unfortunately, the remaining shows are sold out, as has been the case with most of the theatre’s productions. However, tickets just went on sale for the next show, “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe,” set for Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays beginning Feb. 7 to 23. You might ask Santa now for tickets so you won’t be disappointed later.