Deptford High goes outdoors with ‘You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown’

The first 350 show tickets were sent to the six elementary schools in Deptford township

During rehearsal on May 25, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown’s Bryce Williams (Franklin), Regina Clayton (Pig-Pen), Mia Thomas (Frieda), and Christina Tarrach (Snoopy) finish perfecting their lines while also taking suggestions from director Amy Gigliotti. JAMES JACKSON/The Sun

Deptford High School’s production of “You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown” this month marks the school’s first outdoor performance.

Based on a book by John Gordon and “Peanuts” creator Charles M. Shultz, the play will be performed from June 4 to 6.

“This is really cool, because ‘Peanuts’ land is just out here, which is cool for the kids because it’s a completely different theater experience,” said Director Amy Gigliotti. 

A cast that normally counts 35 performers has shrunk to just 18 because of COVID. The show is double cast and has stage, costume, and publicity crews. 

“My other thought was to do a kid’s show because we could invite the elementary schools,” explained Gigliotti. “Nobody has been on a field trip in years.” 

All six of Deptford’s elementary schools received 50 free tickets each for the June 4 showing.

As for the cast members, their limited number means they have to help with sets and props.

“My favorite part about performing is being able to enjoy myself out there and being a different person,” said Andrew Pylypczuk, a senior who plays one of the two Schroeders and has been in all four plays of his high-school career. 

In normal times, Gigliotti plans a play during the summer, with performances in March. 

Since everything is outside and not indoors this year, the stage has tripled in size. For the director, “You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown” was the perfect vehicle because the characters are fewer in number.

“My thought was, ‘I hope we can have a show,’ and then if we do, there has to be some type of way we can keep it small and socially distanced,” Gigliotti noted.

Amber Watson, a freshman in her first show, will play one of the two Snoopys. While admittedly a little nervous, she is still excited to perform.

“It’s nice getting into character and showing everybody who Snoopy is for the people who don’t know him,” the student said.

The smaller cast also means everyone has to help with the set and props. Each cast will remain on set for the whole two hours of performance.

From left to right Gabriel Pino (Schroeder), Bryce Williams (Franklin), and Regina Clayton (Pig-Pen) wait for the next scene to start during rehearsal at Spartan Stadium.  JAMES JACKSON/The Sun

“We were like, ‘Guys, you now have to be kids,’ and they don’t come off the stage, which is so unusual,” said Gigliotti. “It’s a fun show and they do a really good job with doing something that is out of the ordinary.”

“You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown” will be performed at 2 p.m. on Friday, June 4, and Sunday, June 6; the Saturday, June 5 performance is at noon. All three showings will take place inside Spartan Stadium. For tickets email Amy Gigliotti at gigliotti.a@deptfordschools.org