Charlie Brown and Gang Grow Up!

Photo by Jonathan David Lewis

Stephen John Williams as CB (left) and Dana DeRuyck as Van’s sister (right on his lap).

In the title of his best selling book, Robert Fulghum explains, “all you need to know about life, you learned in kindergarten.” This is pretty much the case, in “Dog Sees God,” imparting pearls of wisdom and gems of insight from our beloved cartoon comic strip by the iconic Charles Schulz. The Peanuts gang comes to life, “all grown up,” and now in high school. Charlie Brown (played by Stephen John Williams) finds his world even further turned upside down as he laments on the loss of his beagle, his loyal best friend. As his tight knit group of buddies do their best to philosophize, console and comfort, rather than bully, tease or torment, a new perspective is given on CB’s inner strength, spirit and coming to terms with himself and the meaning of life and death.
A seemingly lighthearted, fun, highly-animated ensemble unite on stage to ponder life’s ultimate issues with humor and humility. Perhaps the most classic, poignant line in the show is “dog sees god in his master; cat just looks in the mirror.” With a heavy heart, CB appreciates this analogy and with a renewed sense of wonder and optimism, life goes on.
The audience will feel enabled, through the help of these fictional favorites, to grapple with topics once considered taboo, such as homosexuality, alcoholism, teen violence and drug addictions. Each character, from the Goth (Lisa Valerie Morgan) to the institutionalized (Dana DeRuyck) and gay (Jesse James Roth) comes alive with great energy and pithy, priceless commentaries on life as they know it.
The show’s ending monologue, waxing poetic, is particularly moving, in the form of a letter to Charlie Brown: “Dear CB, you’re a good man—immerse yourself in life, a place where kindness and respect… even in perfect happiness, there’s always regret…laugh and the world laughs with you; cry and they laugh even harder…”

“Dog Sees God” plays at The Lounge Theatre 2 (6201 Santa Monica Blvd.) now through February 6. For more information, visit www.urbantheatremovement.com

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