Thursday, March 05, 2009

Five free tickets to UA&P-Kultura's You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown

UA&P-Kultura is offering five free tickets to the remaining playdates (March 5 [Thursday], 7:45 p.m., and March 8 [Sunday], 3:00 p.m.) of its current musical offering, You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown, at the Dizon Auditorium of the University of the Asia and the Pacific.

First-come, first-served, one ticket per blogger. Please e-mail Marie Puyat directly at to reserve your ticket.

May I add that these tickets go with my recommendation. I watched the show just this afternoon and found it mostly enjoyable. Rough impressions: The production is technically wanting, its direction not particularly skillful. The sound mix is bad, overmiking muffles the voices, and the constant blackouts weigh down a show already divvied up into revue-like sketches, forcing it to move along in fits and starts.

But the young cast by and large wins you over with endearing, even surprising turns--the Linus has heart-tugging line readings, the Sally is flintier than the Kristin Chenoweth template, and the lanky guy playing Snoopy turns out to be the best song-and-dance guy of the lot. Nothing too sleek and polished overall, but nothing amateurish, either. Except, and it pains me to say this, the actor playing Charlie Brown himself, whose self-conscious, earnest attempt at being cute, coupled with a weak voice, plays out sharply against his co-actors' feather-light takes on their quirky kiddie characters. (I was in a rush, I failed to get their names; two sets of actors alternate in the parts, but no cast list or souvenir program was available. Later.)

The music is no great shakes, but Happiness, the closing number and the musical's most well-known song, is one warm, gentle aural blanket. I came out of the theater with a grin on my face. Am I glad this is the first show I caught after my grueling trip, from which I'm still decompressing. Go get those tickets.

UA&P-Kultura presents "You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown" the musical! Based on the comic strip "Peanuts" by Charles M. Schulz, with book, music and lyrics by Clark Gesner, it chronicles an "average day in the life of Charlie Brown"--a day made up of little moments picked from all the days of Charlie Brown, from Valentine's Day to the baseball season, from wild optimism to utter despair, all mixed up with the lives of his friends, (both human and non-human) and strung together on the string of a single day, from bright, uncertain morning to hopeful, starlit evening.

First produced off-Broadway in 1967, it was revived on Broadway in 1999, reaping two Tony awards for its performers, including Kristin Chenoweth who played the role of Sally. Popular songs from the musical include "Happiness" and "My New Philosophy."

Under the direction of theater veteran Sweet Plantado-Tiongson, this production features a cast of UA&P student and alumni actors, namely: Bok Gil and Joel Guzman alternating as Charlie Brown; Pam Imperial and Marielle Mills alternating as Lucy; Gmenier Mendoza and Ken Rafanan alternating as Linus; Kelly Lati and Athena Tibi alternating as Sally Brown; Rhenz Gabalonzo as Schroeder, and Ikey Canoy as Snoopy. Assistant direction by JC Gotinga, choreography by Red Concepcion.

Remaining show dates are: March 5 (Thursday), 7:45 p.m., and March 8 (Sunday), 3:00 p.m.

Venue: Dizon Auditorium, Ground Floor, Development Communications Bldg., University of Asia and the Pacific, Ortigas Center. For ticket and seat reservations, call or text Marie at 0917-8334564. Visit and join or

PLUS: Lea Salonga duets with brother Gerard on Happiness, from the year 2000 concert Lea Salonga... Live.

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