Charlie Brown in July (Hopefully)

The Kickstarter project that I mentioned on Thursday has become a labor of love for me. It needs to succeed because I am really looking forward to seeing this show that we are planning to produce in July. To understand what I am talking about, I need to take you back to the beginning. Sherman, set the wayback machine to last August.

You may recall that Erin and I were lucky enough to be cast together as Violet Beauregarde and her father in Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka at Waukesha Civic Theatre last summer. During the show, Erin developed a good friendship with two of the other actors also playing Wonka ticket winners, Laney and Jude Cramer. They are the daughter and son of the theatre’s Managing Artistic Director, John Cramer. They were all having such a good time and doing such a fantastic job that I started to imagine what it would be like to put on a show with the three of them and A.J., who has been acting since he was 10. I thought that putting the Cramer kids and the Magoon kids in a show together would be fun.

I briefly mentioned the idea to John and he said that if we could find the right show, we could use his theatre production company, Alleycat Enterprises, Inc., and rent the theatre during a down time in July. I began searching for a 4 person show that consisted of all children or with parts that could be believable played by 4 kids. I’m sure that there probably is the perfect show out there like that, but I couldn’t find it. And then I was talking backstage at one of the Wonka performances with the brilliant Randall T. Anderson and he suggested adding a couple more fantastic kids and doing You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown. Thank you, Randall. You’re a genius.

When John and I discussed You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown, we quickly knew which of the four kids were right for each of the roles in which they were cast. The four kids were immediately excited about the project and could think of nothing else for a while. That left us with having to find a Charlie Brown and a Snoopy. It only took a couple of minutes for us to come up with the two perfect young men for the parts, Ryan Albrechtson and Isaiah Reynolds. No other names came to mind and luckily both of them loved the idea as well.

Our story closes with the discussion of financing this wonderful idea. The royalties for a musical are really expensive and you risk losing a lot of money if you don’t have a big enough audience to cover your expenses. Now, I love my kids. Of that there is no doubt. But I am not about to go thousands of dollars in debt on the chance that we might get enough people to show up. I remembered that Jonathan West had produced The Santaland Diaries a while back and he raised the capital by pre-selling tickets on Kickstarter. Now I know that I don’t have the influential circle of friends that Jonathan does but the ones that I do have love the theatre as much as I do. I figure that if he could do it, so can I.

As Paul Harvey used to say, “Now you know the rest of the story.” Please take a look at our Kickstarter project. If you like what you see and think that you would enjoy seeing these terrific kids all together in one show, please pledge now.

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