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A Charlie Brown Christmas: The Music of Vince Guaraldi

Road Less Traveled Productions may not be the first local
theatre company to cross your mind when you think of the phrase “wholesome family
entertainment”. And yet, in their ongoing mission to develop younger
generations of theatergoers, the seven-year-old company has recently mounted a
very well-received addition to its regular five-play season: A Charlie Brown
Christmas: The Music Of Vince Guaraldi,
 now in its final week
This unique blend of live music and gentle
humor presents the beloved jazz album in a festive family-oriented production.

“I
noticed last year that Vince Guaraldi’s Charlie Brown Christmas
was the number one
selling Christmas album on iTunes,” says RLTP Artistic Director Scott Behrend,
who is also directing this production. “The extent to which these great holiday
jams have remained embedded in the public consciousness for over forty years
really impressed me.” 

The
Peanuts
TV special, A Charlie Brown Christmas, first premiered in
1965, with the soundtrack album soon to follow; the special and the album have
been fixtures of the holiday season ever since. “It’s never gone out of print
or out of style,” said Behrend. “This is music that we look forward to hearing
every year during the holidays… in fact, it’s one of the few defining albums of
modern Christmas music.”

Behrend
says that’s a testament not just to the Peanuts
brand, but to the
sublime compositions and recordings of the Vince Guaraldi Trio: “I thought, ‘Wow,
this music’s just so great, I would love a forty-five or fifty minute
experience where I could just go and hear this music live at Christmastime.'”

cb christmas.png

And
so Behrend set out to invent that experience for his audience. “We recreate the
entire Vince Guaraldi album onstage with a live jazz trio – Julie Arlotta on
piano, Melissa Bender on bass, and Patrick Manella on drums.” The Trio is
accompanied by a children’s choir, comprised of WNY students, and actress
Bonnie Jean Taylor (Top image. Triangles, Humpty Dumpty, Grenadine)
is on hand to evoke
some symbolic memories from the cartoon. “There’s a little bit of dance and
movement, and some humor. Bonnie’s wonderful, and she really gets the kids
involved.”

The concert
will feature such instantly recognizable Guaraldi originals as “Christmas Time
is Here” and “Linus & Lucy,” as well as traditional standards that were
reimagined and re-immortalized on the album, like Guaraldi’s transcendent takes
“O Tannenbaum!” and  “Hark, The
Herald Angels Sing”.

“It’s
a pretty special show… it’s certainly never been done in Buffalo before,”
Behrend says. “Judging from the response already, people are really excited
about it – and it’s a great change of pace for RLTP to be attracting such a
multigenerational audience.” This is crucial for Behrend, whose company has
worked for years to attract high school and college age students and young
adults to its offerings of world premiere modern dramas. “In a strange and neat
way, A Charlie Brown Christmas: The Music Of Vince Guaraldi
is a really organic
evolution of our mission,” he says.

cb poster.png

“We’ve
got adults in the room enjoying the music and memories from their childhood,
but they’re also introducing their children to the timeless live jazz
compositions of Vince Guaraldi, and to the magic of A
Charlie Brown
Christmas.”

A Charlie
Brown Christmas: The Music Of Vince Guaraldi
runs ONLY through Sunday,
December 13th. Thursday through Saturday @ 7:30 PM and Sunday @
2:00 PM.

Tickets are $15
for Adults and $10 for Children under 12. Tickets are ONLY available at The
Road Less Traveled Theater Box Office or by calling 716.629.3069.

The Road Less
Traveled Theater is located at: 639 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14205 (inside the
Market Arcade Film & Arts Centre).

Written by Buffalo Rising

Buffalo Rising

Sometimes the authors at Buffalo Rising work on collaborative efforts in order to cover various events and stories. These posts can not be attributed to one single author, as it is a combined effort. Often times a formation of a post gets started by one writer and passed along to one or more writers before completion. At times there are author attributions at the end of one of these posts. Other times, “Buffalo Rising” is simply offered up as the creator of the article. In either case, the writing is original to Buffalo Rising.

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