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Weyburn cast of ‘Charlie Brown’ musical raising funds for trip to NYC

The nine-member Spirit Singers are enjoying the process of rehearsing for four performances of the Broadway musical, “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown” on Feb. 23-25.

WEYBURN – The nine-member Spirit Singers are enjoying the process of rehearsing for four performances of the Broadway musical, “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown”, to be staged at the Tommy Douglas Centre over the Feb. 23-25 weekend.

The group is performing the musical as a fundraiser towards their upcoming trip to New York City, to sing at Carnegie Hall, and will be staging one more musical after this towards that goal.

Directed by Kendra Gonczy, with assistance by her mother, Colleen Weimer, the play originally had a six-member cast, but a chorus was added to round out the numbers a bit.

Donald Alexander plays the main role of Charlie Brown; Jyllian Payak plays his sister Sally, Brinlee Klapak plays Lucy, Tauren Jack plays Charlie Brown’s best friend Linus, Calla Hrynewich is his dog Snoopy, and Camden Husband is Schroeder, with the scenes based on the Charlie Brown comics by Charles M. Schulz.

The other members of the Spirit Singers are in the chorus, including Brittany Barber, Natalie Butz and Emerson Jack, with Emerson and Brittany helping to manage the stage props during the play. The chorus also includes Lila Anderson, Ryan Hansen, Pressley Barber and Isabelle Cugnet.

Calla said she’s made Snoopy a little bit sarcastic in spots, and commented, “I just get to be silly.”

She’s particularly looking forward to the trip to New York, noting when Kendra told them about this opportunity, they all jumped at it.

“It’s a really amazing once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. As soon as she told us about it, we all knew we had to take it,” she said.

Jyllian said as she plays Charlie Brown’s little sister Sally, she also gets to be a little silly with her character.

“It’s fun to act like a little kid. I like how the characters all fit together,” she said.

For Tauren, he noted his character of Linus is unlike any of the parts he’s played before, and Calla interjected that she and Tauren have often played villains, so it’s a nice change to play young children.

Tauren noted he does a blanket dance in one scene, which is also something he doesn’t usually get to do as an actor.

Brittany pointed out that as a group who have performed in a few musicals, they don’t usually get to do comedies like this one.

“I love it, especially working with this group,” added Natalie. “It’s very special to work with these guys and learning from Kendra and Colleen. It’s nice to work with people who work really hard and are giving their best effort.”

As some of the chorus members worked on a routine on the stage behind them, Calla pointed out they’re always looking out for each other and helping each other.

“We’re all learning a lot from each other too, especially doing something different with the group,” added Brittany. “We really appreciate all the work that Kendra and Colleen do. Without them this would be impossible.”

Calla agreed, noting that Kendra and Colleen are always pushing them to be better.

“We invite everybody to come out to see the show. It’s going to be hilarious for everyone,” she added.

As the director, Kendra said it’s nice to have a show with a small cast, originally just for six people, but modified to add in some chorus members.

She noted it’s a very well-written Broadway show, and has challenging songs in it, with the Spirit Singers taking the characters and making them their own.

She has shown them the Charles M. Schulz cartoon strips the story vignettes are based on, and they have seen the animated films as well.

The trip to New York City will be at the end of May, and they will have three rehearsals at Carnegie Hall before the performance as part of a 100-voice choir. The group is also looking forward to doing some sight-seeing around New York while they’re there.

The rights for the Charlie Brown musical were expensive, but Kendra noted there has been excellent support from the business community to cover that cost, so that when the performances are on, all of the proceeds will go towards the cost of the trip.

“You just don’t want to miss this show. They’re wonderful on this stage,” said Kendra, noting one of the shows was close to being sold out as of late Friday.

Advance tickets are available at the Grace United Church office or at Brady’s Flowers, or will be available at the door if there are any tickets left.

There will be three evening performances, from Friday, Feb. 23 to Sunday, Feb. 25, all at 7 p.m., and a matinee on Feb. 25 at 2 p.m.