Recently CYT-East County presented the musical “Snoopy” at Lakeside Middle School. The play follows the “Peanuts” gang and the beloved beagle as they take on life’s difficult questions. Several of the lead actors were from Santee, along with a number of supporting cast members. This was the second production at the Lakeside school after several years performing at the East County Performing Arts Center (ECPAC) in El Cajon. The program was forced to relocate after the El Cajon City Council closed the theater for renovations in December, 2009.
I have covered a few of the performances before, and am always amazed at the talent of these young actors. It is always difficult to single out anyone in these casts, but two young ladies who stood out in this performance were Jenna Wille, who played Peppermint Patty, and Jesi Perry, who played Sally Brown.
Ms. Wille, who played one of Ariel’s sisters in the CYT-East production of “The Little Mermaid,” is perhaps as opposite to the tomboy character as possible, but she was totally convincing. As the tough girl who has a not-so secret crush on Charlie Brown, she had the combination of attitude and curiosity that mark Patty. The crowning scene was her conversation with Charlie Brown (played by Bobby Albright) which includes the song “Poor Sweet Baby.” Rather than being all gushy and romantic in the song, which can easily happen, Ms. Wille battered her unwilling companion in a hilarious and true-to-character scene.
After playing minor and second-rank characters for many performances, Ms. Perry came into her own as the ditzy Sally Brown. As director Kim Messina noted, people were coming up and asking “Where has she been?” after performances. Ms. Perry not only captured the personality of Charlie Brown’s little sister, but she managed to carry a little girl voice through the show that added immensely to her portrayal.
This season is over for CYT, but the new season of shows and classes will start back up in September. If you have children ages 6-18 who would be interested in getting involved in theater, you can sign them up for classes at Lakeside Middle School or any of seven other locations around San Diego County. Children from 8-18 can audition for any of the area shows if they are signed up for a class. CYT is also available in several other locations around the country. For more information, visit the CYT website.