By Sue Moore
The musical “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown” was chosen by Director Leigh Fryling for Schoolcraft’s annual spring production. Curtain is at 7 p.m. on March 16 and 17 and 2 p.m. on March 18.
Fryling is succeeding a longtime Schoolcraft community institution: Christine Sargeant coached the school’s teenagers through many years on the stage of the Performing Arts Center at the high school.
Since Fryling was appointed to the job in November, she wanted to keep her first big play offering to the community simple, but fun and collaborative. “We are building all new rapport together with the students while keeping the tradition of great productions in Schoolcraft that Sargeant was known for. The Charlie Brown script is like flipping through the Sunday funnies. It’s full of vignettes of the comic strip. The music is upbeat consisting of jazz, classical, swing and even tango,” she said.
Playing the leading role of Charlie Brown is Tim VanOrman, who will sing and reluctantly dance, according to Fryling. “He can be a goofy kid but underneath is shy. He has a background in the Kalamazoo Civic along with his family’s participation in the theater.
Lucy is Merinda Edwards, a senior with her first lead role. She has been on the tech crew and been a stage manager in the past. “She is blossoming in the role, becoming the perfect Lucy in the process,” Fryling said.
Hayden Long plays Snoopy and has been in previous Schoolcraft productions but not in a leading role. “This was a surprise casting as he tends to be reserved. But when he auditioned with a song from ‘Into the Woods,’ he nailed it. He is eager to please and learn his craft,” Fryling said.
Others in the cast include Chance Evans as Linus, Isabelle Parker as Sally, Colin Evans as Schroeder, Beth Pavlak as Peppermint Patti and Hope Spencer as Marcie. Amelia Brown, Chloe Scott and Bridget Crofoot perform as Woodstock and company.
Fryling is well known in the area as an accomplished director and performer. She has sung for concerts at the Vicksburg Cultural Arts Center and was the founder of the Revelry Theater that has staged two plays in the Vicksburg Community Center. “I’ve turned over the reins of Revelry to Cassidy Haines and Ethan Waldron as I prepare for the Schoolcraft play and also have a baby in mid-August,” Fryling said. She is a substitute teacher looking to complete her master’s degree in English to take a full-time position.