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Charlie Brown searches for meaning of Christmas in Folsom play

By: Eileen Wilson, Telegraph Correspondent
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KNOW AND GO

What: “A Charlie Brown Christmas”

Where: Free Fall Stage, 800 Reading St., Folsom

When: 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14; Special Kids Day noon, Saturday, Dec. 15 (sold out); final show 4 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 16

Admission: $7

Info: freefallstage.com

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

If Christmas isn’t about receiving the most gifts and decorating the biggest tree, then what’s it all about?

Join Charlie Brown and his friends and learn the real meaning of the season this weekend.

A steady stream of giggles filled the audience at a recent performance – a performance that was a combination of the beloved Charles M. Schulz’s hilarious repartee and a gaggle of most-adorable child actors.

The show is a quick shot of holiday spirit. At under an hour, the performance is perfect for those who need to get to bed early, in order to stay on Santa’s “nice” list, and for those who are naughty, and still need time for holiday shopping.

A mix of young and young at heart, belly laughs were had all around, when it came to Snoopy’s antics (Snoopy is played by the not-yet-seven-year-old Jaymes Escobedo). The grown-up set especially enjoyed Lucy’s barbed-tongued commentary, which was delivered perfectly by the seasoned young Isabella Donato – a combination of bossy know-it-all and saccharine sweet.

The play, which Freefall Stage has produced for two seasons, and director, Emma Eldridge, is already planning for next year, is quickly becoming a Folsom favorite for families.

It’s a good thing that the audience was having a great time during the performance, because Charlie Brown certainly wasn’t.

“Christmas is coming, but I’m not happy,” said the forever-glum Charlie Brown, portrayed handily by Chad Eldridge. “Instead of feeling happy about Christmas, I feel sort of let down.”

But the audience won’t leave feeling let down. With outstanding narration by Ruby Tibet, and a cast of adorable characters from 6 years old to 13, the group will sing and dance their way in to your heart in true Peanuts’ style.

While the young kids might love Snoopy and the fact that they can lounge in front-row bean-bag seating, the older set most loves the show because of its nostalgia factor.

“A Charlie Brown Christmas” was the first Peanuts animated special, which aired in 1965. The show won both a Peabody Award and an Emmy for outstanding children’s programming.

The show is a classic – a perennial favorite that baby boomers can’t get enough of.

There are still tickets left for the Friday and Sunday show, though the Saturday special Kids Day Event is sold out.

After much complaining: “I won’t let all this commercialization ruin my Christmas,” and “I won’t let my commercial dog ruin my Christmas either,” Charlie Brown is relieved when Linus reminds him of the true meaning of Christmas – a message the audience takes to heart, and will love to relive, time and again.