Ann Arbor Musical Theatre Works to present 'You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown'
Photo courtesy of Ann Arbor Musical Theater Works
Ron Baumanis, along with 2 co-founders, aimed to present professional quality (non-Equity) musical theater to area stages.
“At the time, there was no professional caliber musical theater company in Ann Arbor - though there were a lot of professional level actors and artistic directors,” said Baumanis, director of “Charlie Brown,” and the sole remaining steward of AAMTW.
The company staged “The Last 5 Years” in Jackson during the summer of 2012, and did a workshop of “Floyd Collins” several years ago (a full production never came to fruition due to venue availability issues).
Because AAMTW hasn’t had a set schedule, it’s generally flown beneath the radar, and Baumanis has chosen shows that best fit the performers currently swimming in his local talent pool.
But “Charlie Brown” - featuring Charles M. Schulz's famous Peanuts gang characters - also already had a special place in Baumanis’ heart. “I played Charlie Brown in a revival Off-Broadway in the ‘80s and loved it,” said Baumanis. “The show is entirely different when adults play the roles. Andrew Buckshaw as Charlie Brown is an up and rising musical theater star. Amazing voice.”
The show also features Allison and Hannah Pearlman (sisters to TV and movie star Zack), “superb character actresses” according to Baumanis, as Lucy and Peppermint Patty; Matthew Kurzyniec “couldn't be a more perfect Linus”; Etan Klein “makes a perfect foil” as Schroeder; and Colby Spencer Cesaro “is an excellent singer and dancer, and Snoopy was the logical choice for her - plus, she taps, so it let me put a tap sequence into the show.”
Baumanis tries, when possible, to combine AAMTW shows with a fundraising opportunity for a local group. “Charlie Brown”’s Thursday, August 29 performance, including optional afterglow, will benefit the U-M medical school’s Timothy RB Johnson MD Professorship in Global Women’s Health.
“The theme of the show - family-friendly and upbeat - was a great match to the fundraiser,” said Baumanis. “ Teaching doctors how to care for women and children in international settings with woeful medical resources.”
It’s a cause that just might make Snoopy dance.