Jumping from pages to the stage, the characters from “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” came to life at the Grand Island Public Library Monday.
Kearney’s Crane River Theater showcased one of its summer productions for the library’s A Universe of Stories Children’s Summer Reading Program. Children of all ages indulged in the singing, dancing and acting of their favorite Charlie Brown characters. Meanwhile, the adults reminisced on their past Charlie Brown days.
Kearney’s Crane River Theater library outreach youth program, Page to Stage, premiered a free showing of its Charlie Brown summer production at the Grand Island Public Library.
The show started with an introduction to the characters such as Lucy, Linus, Snoopy and Charlie Brown. Kids were taught how to warm-up their voices and bodies and even taught a few of the dance numbers to join the Charlie Brown gang.
Steve Barth, the artistic director at Crane River Theater, said this year is the theater’s 10th anniversary and they are showing “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” because it was the theater’s first show at Yanney Heritage Park in Kearney.
“We thought for our 10-year anniversary, let’s do that show again,” Barth said. “This is our first time doing Charlie Brown at the libraries.”
Barth said the Crane River Theater started doing shows at local libraries seven years ago and has continued since. He said the Crane River Theater finds a summer production that will match the libraries’ summer reading program and prepares shows for the children.
“This is our seventh year with the Grand Island library, coming and performing,” Barth said. “Now we go to 10 different libraries throughout Central Nebraska. We travel to all of these different communities and have huge crowds of kids at each one.”
Celine Swan, the youth and family services librarian at the Grand Island Public Library, said having the Crane River Theater perform every summer has been great because it introduces children to more interests. Swan said the public library works on giving every child the opportunity to enjoy the summer program.
“It’s been one of our best programs every summer,” Swan said.
With the library’s cooperative with the STEAM program: science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics, Swan said having this show every summer introduces more arts in the area and inspires students to become singers, dancers or actors.
“I always take my grandkids to the summer show. My grandkids love this program,” Swan said. “It’s a fun yearly tradition that we do.”
Approximately 100 children were in attendance for the showing of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” and many of the children were from preschools and private daycares.
“It gets people in the library who are into that kind of thing. We try to have something for everyone,” Swan said. “I see these kids who come to this program checking out books and I see them at the program in Kearney. They are always very thankful for what the library provides.”
Brenda Hack is a local resident and said her granddaughter, Sophia Hack, was really interested in watching the play and they decided to attend. Sophia is 5 years old and participates in the Grand Island Public Library summer reading program.
“She liked it. She thought it was really funny and enjoyed the comical parts,” Brenda said.
Sophia said Snoopy was her favorite character because he dressed up for his flying scene. Snoopy’s character was wearing his traditional flying hat, glasses and a bright red scarf.
Barth said the Crane River Theater chose this show specifically because it is a family-oriented show that parents, grandparents and children can enjoy together.
“There’s so many moments in Charlie Brown where adults obviously love it for the nostalgia effect and it has been around for almost 50 years and has so many humorous moments that they will understand,” Barth said. “Then there are moments with Snoopy and all the dancing and the singing that the kids really relate to.”
The Crane River Theater will be showing “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” for the Kearney community June 21 to July 3 at 7 p.m. at Cope Amphitheater in Yanney Heritage Park. It is located at 2020 11th St. in Kearney.
Tickets are $5 per person and children age 1 and under have free admission.