“You're A Good Man Charlie Brown” production to benefit Alexey Fund

| 28 Sep 2011 | 03:01

    WEST MILFORD — The West Milford Players will be staging the Broadway smash musical, You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown, to benefit the family of Alexey Smirnoff on November 11, 12, 13, 18, 19 and 20. All performances will be held at the Hillcrest Community Center, 1810 Macopin Road in West Milford. Ticket prices are $12 for adults and $10 for students and seniors. Alexey Smirnoff is a 15 year old from Newfoundland who was involved in a car accident while riding his bike July 23. After eight weeks in a coma, Alexey suffers from Traumatic Brain Injury and is very slowly recovering at the Children’s Rehabilitation Institute in Mountainside, NJ. “The West Milford Players have worked to serve several different charities over the last couple of years, from the St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital to the Creative Playground in town,” says West Milford Player president, John Richards, “but when we heard of the horrible accident that the befell Alexey and the effect it had on his family, we instantly knew what our charitable target would be with this show.” To complete the theme of helping a 15-year-old in town, the West Milford Players brought in Kevin Jakimas, a senior at West Milford High School to direct his first show with the Players. Kevin then went out and found some of the most talented 14- through 16-year-olds from as far away as Monroe, NY to bring this production to life. “This show is a natural for teens. Somehow the Peanuts gang seems so much more real when performed by teenagers.” Player president, John Richards, had no qualms putting this production in Kevin’s hands. “Kevin has performed with the West Milford Players for over five years. He has always demonstrated a professionalism and maturity that go way beyond his years. I knew this show would be the perfect vehicle for him to showcase his directing talents.” The show is best described as a typical day in the life of Charlie Brown and chock full of the wonderful story lines that made the Peanuts characters such an endearing and enduring part of American culture. From Charlie Brown’s crush on the “cute little redheaded girl”, to Snoopy’s World War I flying ace battling his nemesis the infamous Red Baron, from Lucy’s unrequited love for the young Beethoven virtuoso, Schroeder, to Linus’ love affair with his blanket, this show is bound to theater goers of all ages. Toss in such classic musical numbers as the Very Little League’s Baseball Game, Happiness, and the title song, You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown, and the audience members will no doubt leave the theater humming. “I can’t say this has been an easy experience, but it has certainly has been a rewarding one,” says the 17 year old director. “There are so many details that go into any production, it can seem overwhelming at times. But my assistant director, Sharon Murphy, has been a great help. Also, my Mom, (Carolyn Jakimas) is a member of the board of the West Milford Players, and she has been working so hard to make sure all those behind the scene details are taken care of, which, in turn, has allowed me to devote my energies to the work on stage.” The West Milford Players are equally devoted to their charity work for the family of Alexey Smirnoff. “Some of the Board members knew Alexey personally, some just heard of the accident when it occurred,” says WMP president John Richards, “but we all agreed that we have the opportunity to help a family in town that is going through a very difficult time. We shouldn’t let the opportunity pass.” So the West Milford Players have been busy selling ad space to their program for You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown. All money collected will be donated directly to the Smirnoff family.