If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
By MARK EVANS
STE. GENEVIEVE HERALD
One of America’s favorite groups of friends will be brought to life this weekend when the Ste. Genevieve Theatre Guild presents “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown.”
Based on Charles Schultz’s beloved “Peanuts” cartoon strip and animated television specials, the musical’s music and lyrics were created by Clark Gesner in 1967.
The local production features the Chibitty family, which has been the bonding glue of the local theatre group since its formation.
“This play has always been a favorite of mine, since I was a little girl,” director Kristen Chibitty explained. “My big sister, when she was in high school, her high school put this on. I was probably 4 or 5 at the time and I was just fascinated by it. I was so fascinated, she went and bought me the sound track. I wore that record out. It was always a dream of mine to direct it.”
With her children reaching their late teens and early 20’s Kristen wanted one final chance to do a worthwhile group project together.
“I realized that my children fit the parts really well, and they’re all growing up and leaving,” she said. “I wanted to grab them while I can and put this play on and have a blast before they all go their separate ways.
“It would be perfect for my family sort of as a final farewell to their childhood with me, so to speak.”
The only non-family member is Brad Johnson, veteran of recent local plays, including “Hope is a Shy Bird,” a play about famed naturalist John James Audubon, the guild put on in 2022. He plays the piano-playing Schroeder.
Ignatius Chibitty plays the title role of Charlie Brown, while Bunny Chibitty is Lucy, Loupe Chibitty is Peppermint Patty and Nama Chibitty is Linus.
Of course, no Peanuts production would be complete without Snoopy. Lucian Chibitty is playing the daydreaming beagle.
“This is a once in a lifetime chance to see us all together,” Kristen said. “It’ll never happen again.”
“We’ve got it to a really good point,” Ignatius said. “I think everyone has all their stuff down, so it’s going to be just pure refining this final week.”
He predicts they will “knock it out of the park.”
Ignatius considers himself just right for the part of the lovable loser Charlie Brown.
“It’s kind of easy for me to relate to Charlie Brown. In a weird way, that’s the reason I’m even playing Charlie Brown,” he said.
He said his siblings have always said he was “very Charlie Brown-like,” as they grew up.
“I get a lot of lousy turns and my luck’s kind of bad and I get some disappointing news sometimes and it kind of hits me hard,” he said. “I’m always coming up a little short. That’s what I feel like Charlie Brown has – especially in the animated shorts. He always feels like he’s maybe not good enough. So, that’s what I’m trying to exemplify on the stage – just a hair under the bar for the self-confidence that you should have.”
He believes his co-stars also bring a lot to their roles.
“I think they’re all doing well with their parts because I think everyone’s pretty excited to be doing Charlie Brown, so everyone’s really bringing their ‘A’ game,” he said. “I think Brad Johnson, who plays Schroeder, should be given some extra kudos for the effort he’s been putting into this.”
Many of the other casting decisions were easy fits, he feels.
“I particularly like how Bernice (Bunny) is performing as Lucy, because kind of like how I have a very personal connection to Charlie Brown and how he acts, I think my little sister can in turn connect with Lucy very well, just with how fiery she can be,” he said. “Then, Nami has a lot of experience acting in productions at Jefferson College.”
“Lucien is a spaz and very hyperactive, always has been, so he’s perfect for Snoopy,” Kristen Chibitty added.
“Everybody loves Lucien, too, is the thing,” Ignatius agreed.
“And, Loupe’s so perfect and sweet for the sweet character of Patty,” Kristen added. “It’s just perfect.”
The play will be held on the Valle Catholic High School stage at 7 p.m., this Saturday night, and 3 p.m. on Sunday. Adult tickets are $15 and children’s tickets are $8.
Kristen added that the guild plans to put on another play later this year, with auditions open to the public.