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Published: Thursday, 4/10/2008

Beloved characters come to area stages to entertain families

BY NANCIANN CHERRY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A classic children's book, a favorite comic strip, and a fairy tale come to life in the coming week as three family-oriented musicals open on local and regional stages.

In Sylvania, Lourdes College's Theater Vision series presents Madeline and the Bad Hat, based on the book by Ludwig Bemelmans.

The Madeline books offer gentle lessons about life through a young Parisian schoolgirl, whose sense of curiosity leads her on a number of adventures. In Bad Hat, Madeline gets off on the wrong foot with a new neighbor but eventually learns that first impressions aren't necessarily correct.

The show is presented by Arts-Power National Touring Theatre, a professional troupe based in Montclair, N.J. Since 1985, it has translated more than two dozen children's books, including several Newbery Award-winners, to the stage.

Madeline and the Bad Hat is recommended for youngsters in grades 1-4. The Theater Vision program is aimed at school field trips, but if there is room, the public is welcome to attend.

"Madeline and the Bad Hat" is scheduled at 10 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday in the auditorium of the Franciscan Theatre & Conference Center of Lourdes College, 6832 Convent Blvd., Sylvania. Tickets are $7. Information: 419-824-3986.

Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus, and other residents of the Peanuts comic strip visit Montpelier, Ohio, as the Williams County Community Theatre presents You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

Based on characters and themes created by Charles Schulz, the musical by Clark Gesner and John Gordon was an off-Broadway hit in the late 1960s. It was rewritten and updated in 1995 by Michael Mayer and Andrew Lippa.

The show follows neighborhood pals as they daydream, fly kites, celebrate Beethoven's birthday, and do homework. Even Charlie Brown's dog, Snoopy, gets in the act, dreaming of being a World War I flying ace fighting the Red Baron.

The cast comprises Theron Steinke as Charlie Brown, Shelley Scantlen and Jeremy Scott as Lucy and Linus Van Pelt, Mathys Herbert as Snoopy, and Tim Sanders as Schroder. Crystal Bowers takes on dual roles as she portrays Sally, Charlie Brown's sister, and directs the production. Zach and Alona McAfee and Kim Seamer provide musical accompaniment.

"You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" opens tomorrow in the Williams County Playhouse, 501 South East Ave., Montpelier, Ohio. Performances are at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2:30 p.m. Sundays through April 20, with an additional show at 8 p.m. April 17. Tickets are $13 for adults, $12 for seniors and students, and $5 for children ages 10 and younger. Information: 888-569-9228.

In Lima, Ohio, the Encore Theatre presents Cinderella. The musical was originally written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein as a television event starring Julie Andrews in 1957, and they later adapted it to the stage.

Alexandra Wildenhaus and Kara Schoenhofer direct the production for the McDonald's Youth Theatre, the young people's arm of the Encore. It features Heidi Fried as Cinderella, Taylor Gandy as the prince, Karrie Lester as the queen, Nick Hribar as the king, and Karissa Cuffy as Cinderella's godmother. Also in the cast are Ryan Altenbach, Jocelyn Bowman, Kacey Bradshaw, Mackenzie Brock, Megan Byrne, Cole Conway, Samie Coon, Anita Kottapalli, Brittany Koza, Amanda Kuhlman, Vickie Lee, McCormick Lucke, Will Millward, Celeste Shanahan, Zach Tucker, Claire Warnecke, and Maggie Wildermuth.

"Cinderella" is scheduled at 8 p.m. today-Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday in the Encore Theatre, 991 North Shore Drive, Lima, Ohio. Tickets are $7. Information: 419-223-8866 or 800-944-1441.

Contact Nanciann Cherry at: ncherry@theblade.com or 419-724-6130.



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