The Howitt Middle School Players proudly presented their rendition of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown last week. The young actors performed unhindered by masks throughout all their practices and live performances. Due to social distancing guidelines, the district offered those unable to attend in person the chance to purchase a video recording of the play. The opportunity to perform once again brought a welcomed sense of normalcy back to the community.
“This year was filled with an extraordinary amount of challenges, but through it all, we made the seemingly impossible, well, possible,” said director Jen Klock. “We successfully and safely put on a musical in a pandemic.”
Bobby Silverstein starred as Charlie Brown, the loyal, determined, and just a bit wishy-washy leader of the Peanuts gang. Alex Marcis played Snoopy, the beagle with an unstoppable imagination. Woodstock, the happy little yellow bird always up for an adventure, was performed by Kathiannah Jean-Louis. Strong, confident, bossy Lucy was played by Gabriella Pace. Thoughtful and respectful, Linus, the voice of reason among his peers, was portrayed by Michael Woythaler. Inquisitive, pragmatist Sally was played by Sofia Lambright, and moody musical genius Schroeder was performed by William Herbert. Rounding out the cast was Olivia Twomley (Peppermint Patty), Mikaela Bany (Marcie), Nicholas Suwalski (Pig Pen), Manav Deshmukh (Franklin), Christopher Cruciata (Rerun), Madeline Rotbart (Peggy Jean), Ash Pinna (Eudora), Sofia Grago (Violet), Shea Hiotidis (Shermy), Ella Smith (Frieda), Valery Stabenau (The Little-Red-Haired-Girl), Addison Moller (Janice), Thomas DiPaolo (Joe Agate), Megan Caputo (Emily), and Sarah Aliendro (Loretta).
“Congratulations to the entire cast and crew of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” said director Dominick Raffaele. “Thank you for sharing your talents. I am beyond proud of each and every one of you. Keep singing, dancing, and dreaming.”
Orchestrating a middle school musical during a pandemic is no easy task. A large number of people behind the scenes are responsible for a show’s production. Howitt’s You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown was a success due to its direction by Jen Klock and Dominick Raffaele. Eric Hulse and Joseph Franzino led vocal direction. Michele Palmese oversaw the musical’s choreography, and Raniyah Elguerouat acted as production stage manager.
This entire school year has been a roller coaster, but if it has taught us one thing, it is to slow down and find joy in the little things in life. Coincidentally, that is also the message of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown’s final song “Happiness.”