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Capsule Reviews

Our critics weigh in on local theater

You're a Good Man Charlie Brown Clark Gesner's 1967 off-Broadway hit holds up remarkably well, given the decades of pop-culture-based musicals that have passed across New York stages since. Just look at the compelling production now being presented by Masquerade Theatre. In most ways the show seems as though it could have been written yesterday. Perhaps that's because the musical is so faithful to its progenitor, Charles M. Schulz's quirky comic strip Peanuts about dear old Charlie Brown, the round-headed boy who can't seem to get anything right. Like the strip, the show is episodic and whimsically philosophical as it muses on how one goes about finding happiness in a world where kites won't fly and Little League games seem impossible to win. And director Phillip Duggins has done a lovely job of finding strong singers who capture their iconic characters with recognizable gestures, including the funny dancing done on the TV versions of the strip. Especially strong are Rebekah Dahl's bossy Lucy, Braden Hunt's Snoopy and Beth Hempen's loudmouthed Sally, who wails whenever things don't go her way. And at the end, when the entire company comes together to sing "Happiness," which in this world includes "two kinds of ice cream" and "tying your shoes for the very first time," the lines couldn't sound more true. Through July 30 at Zilkha Hall in the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, 800 Bagby, 713-315-2525.

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