Learn the meaning of Christmas with Charlie Brown on Folsom stage

By: Eileen Wilson, Telegraph Correspondent
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What: “A Charlie Brown Christmas”
When: Friday-Sunday, Nov. 30-Dec. 16. Check website for show times
Where: Free Fall Stage, 800 Reading St., Folsom
Tickets: All shows $7
Kids’ Day: noon, Saturday, Dec. 15, $10, includes activities, snacks
Chad Eldridge, Isabella Donata, Waylon Tibet, Ruby Tibet, Jaymes Escobedo, Zoe Comstock, Nicholas Messer, Savannah Lauraya, Mia Quinn and Sean Stewart.

“Let’s face it – we all know that Christmas is a big commercial racket. It’s run by a big eastern syndicate, you know,” assures the ever-wise Lucy Van Pelt.

But Charlie Brown might learn something new this holiday season. He might learn the real meaning of Christmas, in spite of his friends urging him to buy the biggest aluminum tree he can find, preferably pink, and in spite of drafting his sister’s extremely long Christmas list to Santa – “make it easy on yourself; how about sending 10s and 20s.”

Charlie Brown might learn the true meaning of Christmas, and so might you when you attend Freefall Stage’s classic production, “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

Directed by the young Emma Eldridge, the perennial favorite sold out last year, in spite of the company adding additional shows to meet demand.

It’s easy to see why the play, which is based on Charles Schulz’s famous comic and the 1965 TV special, is still hugely popular.

“These are lovable, well-known characters,” Eldridge said. “Charles Schulz just had a real gift for making kids love these characters, but there’s so much in there for adults, too. There’s so much great humor that kids will laugh at, and the adults will really appreciate.”

Schulz’s dialog is witty, his themes thought provoking – the perfect combination for a show that everyone will love.

And the show’s theme is perfect for reminding us that Christmas is more than a mere shopping opportunity. Just ask any of the kids who have been rehearsing for months.

Isobella Donato, also known as feisty Lucy, is only 11, but she has performed in more than a dozen plays in the region.

“Getting to bring this cartoon to life is my favorite thing,” Donato said. “It’s so exciting to play my favorite character. She’s funny – especially when she’s torturing her little brother, but she can be really sweet sometimes.”

Eldridge said that Donato is an ideal Lucy – in fact, the entire cast has a wonderful show in store for their audience.

“Isobella is the perfect Lucy. It’s like watching the cartoon. She has all the facial expressions; she has the perfect voice for it,” Eldridge said.

With some of the most beloved holiday music ever, and a peace-on-Earth message, the audience will leave with a feeling of happiness; a feeling of warmth inside, Donato shared.

In addition to regular performances, the company will present a special Kids’ Day at noon on Saturday, Dec. 15. The day will include snacks, crafting and cookie decorating with the cast, and photos with cast members, as well. Seating is limited, and the event includes the 2 p.m. performance. Advance purchase is suggested.

“It’s the perfect way to get ready for Christmas,” Eldridge said.