Snoopy and his Peanuts pals are heading to Long Island City to promote “love” as the real reason for the holiday season.

The Secret Theatre will present “A Charlie Brown Christmas” a total of 16 times between this Thursday, Dec. 19, and Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020.

Back by popular demand for a fourth year in a row, this musical is an adaptation of the CBS cartoon special that debuted to tremendous success on Dec. 9, 1965. It features several original dance routines and a soundtrack by Vince Guardaldi, a jazz pianist who composed the scores for 17 Peanuts TV specials and the 1969 feature film “A Boy Named Charlie Brown.”

The story begins with the title character complaining to his buddy, Linus, about the holiday’s crass materialism. Without missing the chance to suck his thumb, Linus responds that only he could be depressed during the most magical time of the year.

The pouting protagonist unloads his feelings on his sister, Sally, who ignores the pleas and notifies him that she’ll accept money (“tens and twenties”) instead of material gifts this year. He also finds his way to Lucy’s psychiatry booth, where she drops hints about her love of presents – although real estate would be best.

Charlie Brown hits Rock Bottom after he joins a school pageant. The other performers are only focused on the material aspects of Christmas, he thinks, plus they make fun of a sickly, spindly fir tree he buys.

The world is a horrible place as the main character solemnly leaves the school grounds. Then he comes upon Snoopy’s decked-out, award-winning doghouse, which is shining brightly with lights, balls, and a star. If his pet, who’s also known as “Joe Cool,” can get into the spirit, why can’t he?

Soon, the rest of the gang appears in the doghouse, and Charlie Brown starts to feel their love. The musical ends with the signature “Christmas Time is Here” ballad.

Appropriate for children ages three and older, this version of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” runs for about one hour with no intermission. There are 7 p.m. performances on Dec. 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 27, 28, 29 and Jan. 2, 3, 4. Plus, there are 3 p.m. shows on Dec. 21, 22, 28, 29 and Jan. 4.

General admission is $22 in advance, but $25 at the door. Children ages 16 and under can buy tickets for $12.50 in advance and $15 at the door.

Located at 44-02 23rd St., the Secret Theatre has a three-quarter round stage that can seat about 100 people at a time. It’s wheelchair accessible, and there’s space for strollers (but inform prior via box@secrettheatre.com).

All the characters are from the Peanuts comic strip that Charles M. Schulz wrote. Eric Schaeffer did the stage adaptation. Richard Mazda, who runs the Secret Theatre, is the executive producer, while Joy Donze is the director. The cast consists of Zach Norris (Charlie Brown), Teresa Lafferty (Snoopy), Nathaniel Rothrock (Linus), Dara Pardon (Sally), Erica Lee Bigelow (Lucy), Aaron Braden (Schroedor), Michael Miller (Pig Pen), Hannah Kraft (Peppermint Patty), Jhoel Centeno (Shermy), Anxin Hu (Violet), and Selena Tibert (Frieda).

Various actors will take on the role of Woodstock, Snoopy’s bird friend. Here they are in alphabetical order: Rowan Berryman (Dec. 22, 3 p.m.); Oliva Culver (Dec. 27, 7 p.m. and Dec. 29, 3 p.m.); Claudia Fabella, (Dec. 21, 7 p.m. and Dec. 23, 7 p.m.); Lexi Goldberg (Jan. 4, 7 p.m.); Roxy Goldberg (Dec. 20, 7 p.m. and Jan. 4, 3 p.m.); Paloma Gonzalez (Jan. 2, 7 p.m.); Elisa Mattei (Dec. 22, 7 p.m.); Penelope Pompouras (Dec. 29, 7 p.m.); Casey Stein (Dec. 28, 7 p.m.); Eva Stein (Dec. 28, 3 p.m.); Kelsi Tirado-Pinnaduwa (Jan. 3, 7 p.m.); and Maddie Ward (Dec. 21, 3 p.m.).

Photos: Reiko Yanagi


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