Interview: Spreading the holiday spirit with Charlie Brown from ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas: Live on Stage’

The cast of A Charlie Brown Christmas: Live on Stage (Curtis Brown, A Charlie Brown Christmas Live on Stage)

DETROIT – The timeless classic A Charlie Brown Christmas is hitting the road for a Broadway-style tour across the country and is making its way to Detroit just in time for the holidays on December 4th.

Featuring all the classic songs and the Peanuts gang including Snoopy, Lucy and Linus, A Charlie Brown Christmas brings the Charles M. Schulz animated story to life with a few festive additions.

We chatted with the actor who plays Charlie Brown, Connor Barr, before the Peanuts gang takes over the Fox Theatre to show us the real meaning of the holidays.

Do you remember the first time you experienced A Charlie Brown Christmas on television?

I do. I was, oh gosh, probably around four or five. Well, that’s the first time I remember watching it, at least. I specifically remember the “Skating” scene with Snoopy dragging all of the people skating around. I remember just being surprised at how the tree transforms at the end of the special.

So you get to play Charlie Brown every night, do you and Charlie have a lot in common?

I think coming back for a second year I’ve realized that we both are looking for the real meaning in Christmas. I definitely relate to that every year and come to the same conclusion he does: that it’s all about who you surround yourself with. And that’s what the holidays are about, you know?

This is your second season as Charlie Brown, what made you want to come back?

I was super excited just to do the show again. I really love the material itself. We have Robbie Simpson as the director and Charlotte Bydwell as the choreographer, both who are returning. Brent Mauldin, our music director, was actually Schroeder in the production last year in New York, so I was just excited to get to work with him again.

What is your favorite song in the show?

I’m going to have to go with “Skating.” The Vince Guaraldi Trio “Skating” music just feels so quintessential Christmas to me, it’s very magical. Every time I hear it, it just reminds me of the holidays.

Connor Barr as Charlie Brown in A Charlie Brown Christmas: Live on Stage (A Charlie Brown Christmas Live on Stage)

What’s your favorite part about bringing the show across the country?

I think it’s special to be able to do a show like this and get to do it for so many children and so many families. I think hearing them in the audience is so cool. And getting to see the country. It’s cool that I get to bring joy to people during the holiday season.

What’s your favorite thing to do in each city?

I’m a caffeine addict. I have to find a good coffee shop in town. I love finding a good thrift shop to just to see what the vibe of the area. And going for walks. I love just walking around the downtown areas.

Why do you think A Charlie Brown Christmas is still so relevant today?

I’m saying some of the lines on stage against the commercialization of Christmas and it’s just so relevant today. I think a lot of people get bogged down by this feeling that they have to celebrate a certain way, or that they have to have a certain tradition. I think the message to take away is that you can celebrate however you want as long as you’re around people that you love, or friends or family.

What can families expect when they see the show in a few weeks?

It’s the Christmas special word-for-word. But there’s a lot of things they’ve added to make it feel more, for a lack of a better word, Broadway. There’s big, huge, high-energy dance numbers. There’s a lot of nods to Broadway shows, like A Chorus Line. We do this big Christmas pageant at the end of the show, it’s super fun. It’s the Christmas special everyone knows and loves, but with a little surprise at the beginning and at the end.

A Charlie Brown Christmas is playing at the Fox Theatre on December 4th with showtimes at 12:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Tickets start at $30. For more information and tickets, visit 313Presents.com.


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