Annual show delights sold-out crowd, showcasing young talents and community spirit

By Mike Pirozzi

Guest Contributor

PASO ROBLES — Applause Children’s Theater (ACT) knocks it out of the park once again with its annual performance of “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” With an uncanny knack for casting and the ability to turn young children into high-quality performers, “Charlie Brown” delighted the audience. 

The crowd was bustling as the preshow raffle and prizes were handed out. It certainly came as no surprise to this writer that opening night, Nov. 17, was once again sold out. The quality and effort expended by ACT into these shows is unparalleled in the North County. This year’s show was directed by Vikky Mullin and Junior Director Madison McCrain. 

“It was an incredible experience to be able to be the junior director, and I’ve honestly found it amazing to watch these growing actor’s abilities,” Madison said. 

Wanda Kennard and Nora Glunz (Lucy) both agreed, saying “We like playing a kind of sassy character and doing all the dances.” 

Both Sid Kennard and Oliver Edsall played the role of Charlie Brown and said, “It’s been a lot of fun having so many lines and learning all of the dances. Also, Miss Vikky teaches so well that it ends up being a really joyful experience.” 

One of the most impressive things about ACT performances is the amount of additional legwork that’s involved in turning out high-quality performances with limited resources for materials. The ability to put on a show of this quality without an unlimited bank account for props and stagehands in one of the things that certainly makes ACT stand out from the crowd. You can feel that their hearts are into the show more than just throwing dollars at it. 

The crowd was in stitches as Lucy doled out her unconventional brand of straightforward psychiatric advice to Charlie Brown from the psychiatrist booth. Lucy also made a stellar performance while delighting the crowd with her song to Santa about her Christmas wish list that was asking for none other than real estate, while Snoopy (Quinn Newman) and Woodstock (Navy Newman) danced to the jazzy song, “Suppertime.” 

With a variety of unique Christmas songs added to the traditional Charlie Brown story, it was a perfect way to usher in the holidays. Hot chocolate and Christmas cookies were even distributed as a thank you for attending at the conclusion of each show. 

There you have it folks: a short wrap-up of another outstanding performance by Applause Children’s Theater. The 23-child cast was rounded out with Sid Kennard, Oliver Edsall, Nora Glunz, Wanda Kennard, Rudd Larson, Evelyn Walla, Navy Newman, Quinn Newman, Aaron Faulstich, Callahan Irvin, Kayla Bournonville, Chloe Bournonville, Jackson Hamm, Hannah Thompson, Delaney Dineen, Aurora Andahl, Isabella Narelli, Helen Tracy, Sofia Nino, Analie Solis, Gwen Sturgeon, Emily Stimson, and Jackson Dineen. 

Be sure to stay up-to-date on future performances from ACT, and also support the local community theater by attending the shows. ACT appreciates the community support for these performances, and also the outpouring of time from all the community members who volunteer to help make these performances possible. 

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Feature Image: The 2023 Charlie Brown Christmas cast is shown. Photo courtesy of Applause Children’s Theater