(Posted March 10, 2020)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
Katie Manns knows her way around a stage, but the upcoming production of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” marks her first time directing a show for the West Jefferson High School theater department.
A Madison County native and Madison-Plains graduate, Manns recently moved back to the area from Indiana where she taught art for the past five years. During her career, she also has directed many stage shows and says she has never been so welcomed with open arms as has been the case with West Jefferson’s parents, administration, students and community.
Between recent rehearsals, Manns took time to answer questions about the show, sharing her excitement about its message and the great work her cast and crew are doing to pull everything together.
Madison Messenger (MM): What is the show about?
Manns: “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown” follows a day in the life of the Peanuts gang and all the ups, downs and craziness they go through to find what happiness means to each of them. This show is based on Charles Shultz’s original “Peanuts” comic strips.
MM: Why did you choose this show?
Manns: This show is very special to me. It is one of the first shows I was a part of in high school and ultimately led to me choosing to go to college for theater. I wanted to pick a show that both adults and kids could find something meaningful in. This show really teaches you not only to accept the flaws in others but learning to love yourself. Walking away from the show, you realize happiness means different things to everyone, and it is okay to be different and find your happiness whatever that might be.
MM: Who are your leads and how are they doing with their parts?
Manns: One of things I love most about this show is how every character really has an equal amount of importance when it comes to their character role. Everyone knows the Peanuts gang, and I think you couldn’t have one without all of them. Sally, Lucy, Charlie Brown, Woodstock, Linus, Schroeder, Little Red Headed Girl–they all make a team, and that is exactly what this cast is…one incredible team.
I do want to shine some light on our seniors, Celina Jeffers who plays Lucy and Nick McGlothlin who plays Schroeder. I am so happy to have gotten to work with these two and the amazing talent they have added to the cast.
MM: What are some of the show’s fun numbers or scenes?
Manns: I have to say the Snoopy scenes always make me smile. Sophomore Hannah Messer who plays Snoopy really captures the spirit of the lovable dog everyone knows. “TEAM” is one of my favorite numbers where the audience gets to be a part of the Peanuts baseball game as they sing and play in the audience.
MM: Any unusual sets or special effects?
Manns: The set design for this show is unique because I wanted the audience to feel like they are actually in the Charles Shultz original black and white comic strips. We are using a projector on stage for special effects. We had an amazing group of people that took an idea and just made a breathtaking set. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of guys that built it.
MM: Why should people come to the show?
Manns: I ask people to come for laughs, stay for the smiles, and leave with a heartwarming lesson. There have been so many incredible people who have worked very hard on this show, and we would love to see you and appreciate all the support.
Show times are 7 p.m. March 20-21 and 2 p.m. March 22. Doors open 30 minutes prior to each show. Tickets are available at the door and are $10 for adults, $5 for students, and free for ages 2 and younger. The March 19 dinner show is sold out.
The high school is located at 1 Roughrider Dr., West Jefferson. For more information, call the high school at (614) 879-7681.