Acting for Peanuts

Part of the background of A Charlie Brown Christmas is the writing process when Lee Mendelson, Bill Melendez, and Sparky got together at Coffee Grounds in Sebastopol and discussed their ideas about kids and Christmas.


Sparky said he brought up the fact that there is always a Christmas Pageant that teachers and parents want to create, and which, in Sparky’s memory, the kids disliked Intensely. (at least the boys, I presume.)


Well, we had the opposite experience at the museum recently, as the kids in the afterschool class “Acting for Peanuts” enjoyed performing for us!


In one of the scenes from “Lucy, Lucy, How Does Your Garden Grow?”—Lucy (who is also sometimes labeled “Madam Fullcharge”) takes a chapter from Tom Sawyer and talks the other children into tilling her garden. She even convinces Charlie Brown and Snoopy to be the scarecrows!


They were rewarded with a lemonade break, at least.


Charlie Brown and Snoopy posing as scarecrows. I was impressed with their focus and balance!


The biggest laughs came during a scene from “That’s Schmuckleball, Charlie Brown.”


It all ended with a rousing chorus of ‘Happiness is…’ (which, if you don’t know, you SHOULD look up!)


These mini-plays were based on original Peanuts comic strips. They were written by Jason Cooper, a writer with the Schulz Studio, and directed by Annie Cooper, an acting instructor at the Happy Middle Theater Company and for the Charles M. Schulz Museum. It was great to see kids acting as the Peanuts Gang and enjoying the art of performance. Anyone wanting to join them on stage can sign up for our Acting for Peanuts summer camps or look for more afterschool acting classes in the fall.


Our auditorium, which seats over 100 people, was 3/4 full, so I must say, “Happiness is lines well learned and songs well sung.” I hope it happens again before too long.

—Jean Schulz

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