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Mentoring Program

JCC Winter Musical
And Youth Workshop

The JCC Metrowest in West Orange, NJ is poised to create history this February by presenting the popular musical You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, with a twist. For 2006, the team that brought the successful Seussical to life in 2005 has a new spin on the classic tale. This year’s show will be part of workshop for six lucky kids. What this means, is besides the six powerhouse adult performers who put on the show, six children will be cast as “duplicates” for the principles. These kids will rehearse with the principals getting to see the inside of the acting process in a one on one mentoring program.

“The workshop element of the production seemed like a natural way to involve our committed young performers. One of the reasons Charlie Brown has never been produced at the JCC is because of its small size. With an over 500 seat house and seven scheduled performances, attempts at a sell out are generally more successful with a larger musical,” Seussical and Charlie Brown director Camille DiLorenzo said. “In an effort to keep children involved in the program yet not deviate from the script by adding extra characters or mixing up the cast using adult and child actors, the workshop seemed like a terrific opportunity for six young performers to be a part of the production.”

As the adults prepare to mount the show, the kids will work with them from everything from character building to line memorization to how to handle the stresses of tech week.

During the run of the show, the kids will be part of the ensemble singing in the production and setting the scene for the action.

According to Music Director Ilene Greenbaum, the work of kids and adults are paying off. “The idea of a workshop which would enable our kids to benefit from working closely with and watching the work of the adult cast was seen as a great educational tool. In addition, the educational component does address one of the missions of the JCC as an agency,” the long time M.D. said. “The response from the kids and their parents has been positive.”

Beyond the educational opportunity, the big thrill for the younger actors is when they get to perform the show themselves. “The children will not simply imitate the adult actor, yet they will create their own character by implementing some of what they have learned by watching the more experienced actor go through the process,” DiLorenzo said. “The children will perform their roles at a special workshop performance on Monday morning Feb 20.”

Besides their performance at the JCC, other opportunities for the kids to shine are also in the works. “We hope to have a few smaller-scaled performances done by the kids at local settings like adult communities [and schools],” Greenbaum said. “Which, again, addresses one of the missions of the JCC.”

As part of the workshop, DiLorenzo and Greenbaum have been working with the adult cast members on the workshop content. “Young performers absorb so much during the rehearsal process. The adult actors are as enthusiastic about the workshop aspect as the children are. Russ Crespolini and Dave O’Neill have both created character workbooks for their younger peanut counter parts,” DiLorenzo said. “The workbooks include some basic acting technique and some great tools for developing character. This will enable them to share ideas about how they might approach the role.”

You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown was a smash hit on Broadway in 1999 and is a fresh approach to the all-time 1966 classic that includes Russ Crespolini as Charlie Brown with Joseph LaVarco as his counterpart, Dave O’Neill as Snoopy with Alona Bach as his counterpart, Jennifer Sammartino as Lucy with Jordyn Feingold as her counterpart, Jason Victor as Linus with Katie Calcado as his counterpart, Esther Cohen as Sally with Lindsay Maron as her counterpart and Phil Levesque as Schroeder with Michael Munginello as his counterpart.

A program note says that the time of the action is “an average day in the life of Charlie Brown.” It really is just that, a day made up of little moments picked from all the days of Charlie Brown, from Valentine’s Day to the baseball season, from wild optimism to utter despair, all mixed in with the lives of his friends (both human and non-human) and strung together on the string of a single day, from bright uncertain morning to hopeful starlit evening.

You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown is a fun, small, heart felt musical with some great familiar characters. We hope the title will be a box office draw to our already committed family audience,” said DiLorenzo, who has been involved with the company for six years. “Charles Schultz’s Peanuts have a tremendous appeal and seem to be attracting a new generation of fans.”

Greenbaum also has high hopes for this year’s show. “Hopefully people will find this appealing as family entertainment. Once we get them there, they will get the same high quality of theater they have always gotten from JCC productions and will want to return in future years.”

The JCC is hoping to do something with a community theater program that is rarely done: have a lasting impact on the community. Besides putting on a dynamite show for its audience, the JCC is sponsoring the development of young performers and helping them share what they have learned with the wider community.

“I believe this show is perfect for all audiences. It’s simple, yet, the characters possess great emotional depth. It’s funny and easy to enjoy and runs less than two hours with an intermission,” DiLorenzo said. “People should come experience the warmth and naivety of these lovable peanuts who remind us that children can have very grown up emotions.”

Don’t miss out on this marvelous moment in theatrical history when the team who brought you Seussical asks you to put down the book, and pick up the comic strip.

If you go:

Saturday, February 11
Sunday, February 12
2:00pm - Cancelled due to Snow
Thursday, February 16
Saturday, February 18
Sunday, February 19
Monday, February 20
10:00am **Workshop Performance**
Monday, February 20

Tickets $20 M/S/S; $24 GP
Children’s Workshop Performance $15 per ticket

How to Order:
Phone: 973-530-3444
Fax: 973-736-6871 attn: Box Office
Web: www.ticketweb.com (additional service charge)
Visa / Mastercard / American Express accepted


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760 Northfield Avenue, West Orange, NJ 07052
Phone: 973-530-3444      Fax: 973-736-6871 attn: Box Office

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