The Brooklyn Papers / Greg

This year Our Lady of Guadalupe
Youth Theatre Company is presenting a work by one of the borough’s
own – "You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown," by the late
Clark Gesner, who lived in Brooklyn Heights for over 20 years
and died on July 23.

"We had a small group this year. We wanted to showcase [the
kids]," explains Joseph Appel, who heads the group. "The
last play we did was ’West Side Story,’ which is a mature play.
This time we wanted to do something more family-oriented. This
is a good show for teenagers."

For the first time, the show will also be directed by a teenager,
Danny Volpe.

"He’s a very talented and responsible young man," says
Appel. "He’s graduating this year, and I wanted to give
him a shot."

The show features Guy Colgan as Charlie Brown, Stephen Fontana
as Snoopy, Michael Maldonado as Linus, Jennifer Prezioso as Lucy,
Jude Alesci as Schroeder and Danielle Poggi as Sally.

But this is truly a community effort. "Whole families got
involved; mothers made costumes. The kids built the set,"
Appel says.

Appel is especially proud of the set, which he says "looks
like a Charlie Brown cartoon."

Our Lady of Guadalupe Youth Theatre is using the updated 1999
Tony Award-winning Broadway version of the musical.

"It’s more rock ’n’ roll. There are two new songs. This
generation will like it better," says Appel. He’s also hoping
the popularity of the Charlie Brown characters will help bring
in large audiences.

"Everyone knows and likes them," says Appel. Indeed
it seems "You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown" will become
a classic, in performances long after the author’s death.

"You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown" plays Sept. 20-29,
Fridays and Saturdays 8 pm and Sundays at 3 pm at The Our Lady
of Guadalupe school auditorium [1518 73rd St. at 15th Avenue
in Bensonhurst]. For reservations, call (718) 232-6920.