LCT opens with ‘Charlie Brown’
Assistant Managing Editor
The 64th season of Lawton Community Theatre (LCT) opened with “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” at 8 p.m. on Sept. 11.
The managing director of the play, Martha McCartney, said the play selection committee chose “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” because they wanted something happy.
“Charlie Brown. When you think of it, people just smile,” McCartney said. “Because of the calendar and the way it fell, for our show to not be on top of anybody else’s…our choices were limited. Sept. 11 was [available], and we thought, ‘What could be more Americana than Charlie Brown?’”
McCartney said “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown” was not a customary kind of show.
“It’s done in vignettes that show a typical day in the life of Charlie Brown,” she said. “You know, Charlie Brown is a sort of a beaten-down character. He’s not very self-confident, so just the funny things you read in the comic strips – it’s like the comic strip has come to life.”
Matthew Ortner, a sophomore social studies education major at Cameron, played the role of Charlie Brown.
Ortner, who shaved his head to fit the role, said his favorite part of acting was mimicking Charlie Brown’s personality.
“I’m not a depressed person,” he said. “I’m a very happy, upbeat kind of person, so probably the most enjoyable thing was trying to act as depressed as I can be and as Charlie Brown as I can be.”
Ortner’s role in “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” marks his seventh show with the Lawton Community Theatre.
“This was one of the most enjoyable productions that I’ve ever been a part of,” Ortner said. “Just having to work with six people, you really get to know the people you’re working with, and they basically become your family … and you never really lose that friendship afterwards.”
Among the people Ortner worked with are Cameron graduates Alyssa Yates, who played Lucy, and Byron Phillips, who played Schroeder. Dr. Greg Hoepfner, who is the chair of the Cameron music department, was the music choreographer of the play.
For Cameron students who have not been to a play presented by the Lawton Community Theatre, Ortner said they are welcome to come.
“Give it a chance,” he said. “You might wind up liking it if you’ve never been.”
According to McCartney, Cameron students are also welcome to audition for plays.
“You can come and just walk in the door to audition,” McCartney said. “If it’s just a play, we read from the script…If it’s a musical, you’re asked to sing at least 16 bars of a song.”
As for students who get those nervous jitters, McCartney said the directors do not put down people who audition.
“Smile,” she said. “Show the personality that you have…They [directors] are looking for people to be in their show, so they want you. They want you to be good.”
McCartney said the next production LCT will present is “The Rocky Horror Show” on Oct. 29-31.
“It’s a second season show,” she said, “and that’s because the material is objectionable to some people…The show after that is ‘Crimes of the Heart,’ and that’s a classic.
McCartney said people who would like to attend a play must first call to make a reservation. Cameron students will receive an admission discount.
“With a student ID, you can get in for $12,” McCartney said.
She said people who cannot afford the $12 may come to the preview show, which is always the Thursday night before the play opens on Friday. Because “Rocky Horror Show” is a second season show, however, it will not have a preview show.
“[The preview show] is really a dress rehearsal,” McCartney said, “but we feel like we’re ready to have an audience tell us where the laughs are and tell us where the applause needs to go because they haven’t heard that, so we allow people to come for free.”
For more information about the Lawton Community Theatre audition and production times and dates, visit lct-ok.org or call 580-355-1600.