Imagine taking a comfortable,well-worn tricycle, unnecessarily inflating it with a magical bicycle pump and trying to pass it off as a spiffy 10-speed mountain bike. That's what we get with You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown. It's the wrong thing to do.This production is the same one that, with some new songs and sketches, played Broadway a few years ago. The charm of the 60s version of the show has been totally lost, with production numbers and a shrillness --the latter enhanced by Kevin Bowers' direction -- unsuited to the Peanuts cartoon strip.
Bowers doesn't help cast members who, energetic though they are, rarely conjure up a sense of the well-known characters. Perennial outsider Charlie Brown should be wishy-washy, but Steven Gallagher instead makes him faceless, which is not the same thing, while Brian Sills's Snoopy rarely appears without trying too hard or mugging cutely. The only consistent performer is Charlotte Moore, whose dead-on Lucy vamps Schroeder (Gab Desmond) egotistically and bosses her brother Linus (Daniel Murphy) with a wicked glint in her eye.
Some of the numbers still entertain, but there's a silly boppy, rockin' update to the musical accompaniment that doesn't work. Other songs, like My Blanket And Me, go right over the top. This Charlie Brown isn't so very good.JON KAPLANYOU'RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN by Clark Gesner, Michael Mayer and Andrew Lippa, directed by Kevin Bowers, with Charlotte Moore, Steven Gallagher, Brian Sills, Cara Leslie, Gab Desmond and Daniel Murphy. Presented by IMP Productions at the New Yorker Theatre (651 Yonge). Indefinite run, Tuesday-Saturday at 8 pm, matinees Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday 2 pm. $35.50-$49.50. 872-1111.