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All-kids cast on stage


School's out and it's time for summer fun with friends - maybe friends from the good old Peanuts gang. This happens to be just what a ticket to the Chesapeake Arts Center will buy on June 17, when You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown arrives in its Studio Theater for a two-weekend stay.

That's not all the Brooklyn Park-based theaters have on tap for this summer - a time when live theater is usually scarce. At Chesapeake Arts Center, entertainment prospects are brightening with a successful home-based company and several other theater production companies on board.

Samberhalo Productions will bring back its original musical, Amelia's Journey, which premiered last year to sold-out houses and critical praise, on weekends July 15-31. A new company, Top Hat Productions, will bring Jesus Christ Superstar to the 900-seat main theater Aug. 5-14. These companies join others that have mounted successful productions at Chesapeake Arts - Winters Lane, which offered its first show at this venue last month, and the ensconced Merely Players and Music Artists Theatre.

You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown will be the second offering by an in-house production group that was instituted last July so that Chesapeake Arts could have more creative control over plays produced there. Its first production was Nunsense, which reportedly sold out all shows in the Studio Theater.

Next week, the family-friendly 1967 happy musical opens with an all-kids cast. Based on Charles Schulz's Peanuts comic strip, Charlie Brown gains extra bounce from Clark Gesner's songs that fit these familiar characters so well.

Loser Charlie Brown is the unlikely hero who can't seem to get anything right. We'll encounter Charlie as he comes up short with no valentines, loses every baseball game, has no luck flying his kite and never gets a response from the red-haired girl down the street.

All the beloved Peanuts characters, from pet beagle Snoopy to blanket-hugging philosopher Linus, bossy Lucy, music-loving pianist Schroeder, Peppermint Patty, Sally and all the others, will be on hand at Chesapeake's Studio Theater.

Lively young cast members include Andrew Adams, Summerly Lunz, Jake Fisher, Jennifer Stephens, Alex Neville, Paul Massaro, Maia Mattson, Jamie Fisher, Karissa Strawley, Kate Sheridan, Christina King, Annie Sesney, Daniel Swann, Jonathan Swann and Matt Wetzel.

You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown opens June 17 and runs for two weekends on Fridays at 7 p.m. and Saturdays at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. through June 25, with all shows at CAC's Studio Theater. Chesapeake Arts Center is at 194 Hammonds Lane in Brooklyn Park. Tickets are $8 for members and $10 for nonmembers. Reservations: 410-636-6597.

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