The musical, You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, was a big hit and even had a reasonably successful revival (which introduced a young Kristin Chenoweth as Charlie Brown's sister, Sally, winning her a Tony Award). Less known is the sequel, Snoopy!!!, which didn't have a successful run at all, though it's had a respectable life post-off-Broadway, in community theater and schools. And they even made a TV movie of it. So, ultimately, it did succeed in other ways.
Its post-life is well-deserved because the score is very good. However, it's not written by the same composer, Clark Gesner, who did You're a Good Man..., but rather a new team, Hal Hackady and Larry Grossman. They've written quite a few shows, none, alas, successful, but many had good scores, too. In fact, they did Minnie's Boys, which I've written about here and here (and which even had a semi-hit song, "Mama, A Rainbow"), and the songs are wonderful.
In many ways, the biggest challenge for Snoopy!!! may have not writing the whole thing, but rather coming up with a closing song. That's because You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown had a song that ended the show which not only was so wonderful and took on a life of its own, but put the entire production in a full perspective, the song, "Happiness." So, how in the world do you top that -- or even come close?
What's impressive is that Hackady and Grossman met the challenge. In fact, the song they wrote might even have a better-known life than "Happiness" (which is remarkable). Oddly enough, though, as terrific as the song is -- it's not known for Snoopy!!! at all. Most people probably think it's a Muppet song, since they've done it so often that it's become identified with them. The song is "Just One Person." But it's not a Muppet song, it's from Snoopy!! and ends the show.
I thought it would be proper to give the song its full due. Here's the recording from the original cast recording. I was going to embed the video of the Peanuts cartoon version, but not only do I like the cast album version, but I just figured that the original people deserved the full credit. And when I say "original," I mean it -- this is the original "original cast." Seven full years before making it to off-Broadway, the show was first staged in San Francisco, and this is the recording of that.
So, here singing on the original cast album are Don Potter as 'Snoopy,' James Gleason as 'Charlie Brown,' Carla Manning as 'Lucy,' Pamela Myers as 'Peppermint Patty' and all the rest.
(UPDATE: Five years after writing this, I have discovered that 43 years after the production and recording...Carla Manning is my realtor! And a lovely person -- not an ounce of 'Lucy' in her, and has never even once tried to pull a football away from me.)
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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