That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.
A musical version of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is showing at The Secret Theatre in Long Island City until Dec. 30. Adapted from the classic holiday television special, the main figures from Charles M. Schulz’s comic strip Peanuts – including Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy, and Sally – sing, dance, and wax philosophically about the existence of Santa in a production that’s appropriate for children aged three and older.
The young, high-energy cast includes actors from as far away as Vermont and as nearby as Staten Island. They grew up watching the special that they are now presenting.
“A Charlie Brown Christmas” first hit CBS airwaves on Dec. 9, 1965. It was an instant hit that is credited with inspiring a genre of holiday television specials, such as “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (1966) and “Frosty the Snowman” (1969).
The plot explores the commercialization and secularization of the season, concluding that happiness lies in appreciating the original meaning of Christmas: love.
At the beginning, Charlie Brown is depressed despite the holiday cheer all around him. Linus dismisses him, noting that he’s always melancholy. His sister, Sally, is more interested in informing that she will accept money instead of presents. And at her psychiatry booth, Lucy diagnoses phobias before changing the subject to her love of gifts — but she suggests that the main character direct a school pageant.
Things get worse for Charlie Brown at school, where his classmates seem blinded by their materialism and make fun of his spindly Christmas tree. He ends up leaving the school auditorium and finding his way to Snoopy’s well-decorated doghouse. The rest of the crew joins him there, and love fills the air. At the end, they sing “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.”
Tickets are $18 for adults in advance ($20 at the door) and $12 per child. Presentations are every night at 7 p.m. until Dec. 30 with no show on Dec. 25 and an extra matinee on Dec. 24 at 2 p.m.
Photos courtesy of The Secret Theatre