‘Snoopy, The Musical’ at the Hopewell

By Marah J. Morrison

In a sequel to the musical “You’re a Good Man,” the characters of Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy, Peppermint Patty, Sally, Woodstock and Snoopy came to life at the Hopewell Theatre on Dec. 7.

The musical featured a series of short scenes based on Charles Schulz’s comic strip “Peanuts” and had Charlie Brown focus more on the life of his dog Snoopy.

Pat Vidis, the director of the musical, said she’s done this show previously and Snoopy is one of her favorite shows because it has a lot of positive messages.

She said this year’s cast is very talented.

“I think we’ve pigeonholed people in the right parts,” she said. “The show before us was ‘The Twilight Zone,’ and until it was completely finished, we really couldn’t do a whole lot.”

Vidis said she hoped people enjoyed the musical, got a few chuckles and went home happy.

Bob Gerdes, who played the role of Snoopy, said he was shocked to be chosen for the lead role, and it’s been exciting for him because he grew up as a kid reading the “Peanuts” comic strips all of the time.

Gerdes said after he started rehearsing for the show, he found old comic strips from the 1960s he read up on.

“They’ve been part of my whole life, so it was really fun to be in this show,” he said.

Josh Ford, who played Woodstock in the musical, said all of his lines in the musical consist of many facial expressions and nonverbals, which he described as challenging.

“I have no lines, but I have whole bunch of lines,” he said. “I have to communicate with my face and my hands. I cannot talk.”

Ford said getting this musical down was the most complex role he has ever had, and it was a learning experience and a blast.

“I [enjoyed] every minute of this play [and] learning from it,” he said. “All forms of entertainment that people think that it’s a walk in the park — it’s all hard work. We all bust our butts.”

Josh Bodnar, who played Charlie Brown, said he loved the cast he got to work with for the musical. He added it’s been a good experience and everyone has gotten along.

“I did a little bit of drama in high school, but I was usually backstage,” he said. “We’re lucky to be in an area where there are lots of opportunities to get involved.”

Bodnar said community theatre has a lot to give both the actors who perform, the crew who helped with shows and the audiences.

Elainie Huncik, a Youngstown State University sophomore double majoring in physics and astronomy and integrated sciences education, played Peppermint Patty. This was her first time having a larger role in a musical where she had a solo.

She said she finally felt prepared to do something like this.

“I’ve been taking voice lessons for a while and I’ve had some smaller roles in musicals, so I feel like I’ve worked my way up to this,” she said. “I’m proud.”

Huncik said it was Peppermint Patty’s vocal parts that made her audition for her character, and her vocals are in the character’s range and she was able to show off her vocal abilities in the role.

Stephen Kountz, who played Linus, said he has sung in bands, but never in musicals, and he has enjoyed interacting with everyone and finding ways to transform into an iconic character.

“It’s so iconic — the blanket and everything,” he said. “It’s always a lot of fun down here at the Hopewell.”