By Giselle Grassi
You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown was an obvious hit that premiered Friday, March 24th through Sunday, March 26th thanks to outstanding performances from the cast and everyone else who worked tirelessly to execute such an incredible play. After an interview with Mrs. Kozee, the 7th and 8th grade chorus teacher who has worked with most of the students in the play this year, we can clearly see that there is a lot that goes into preparing and executing a musical production.
Most people who watched this play noticed the talented singing and fascinating sets, but from a musical standpoint, Mrs. Kozee provided insight into some of the minor components and struggles of being a performer in a live play.
All of the songs, according to Mrs. Kozee, were “on point” and “all cues were strong and seamless.” She also mentioned that “vocally, all characters were strong, [and] they had great diction.” Diction is how clearly one pronounces his or her words, and this is critical in performing because the audience must be able to understand the lines of the actors and actresses. Overall, the play was very enjoyable, and what stood out the most to Mrs. Kozee, as a member of the audience, was how much fun the actors were having and how relaxed they seemed to be on stage, even though they were in front of so many people.
Mrs. Kozee is one of Oyster Bay’s fantastic music teachers. She works with a very large group of young kids and, though organizing the concerts may be frustrating at times, she is able to pull off shows that are unique and musically elevated every year. Along with winter and spring concerts, Mrs. Kozee also individually helps young singers with their choral solos for NYSSMA (New York State School Music Association), which, as told from personal experience, would have been a much more negative experience if not for Mrs. Kozee’s guidance.
From a vocalist’s point of view, Mrs. Kozee’s first thought regarding this particular show and the most challenging aspects of it was that the students not only had to sing in tune and project their voices well, but they also had to modify their voices to match those of the characters they were playing. For example, Lucy and Sally were both characters with difficult voices considering Sally is very young and has a much more nasally voice than that of the 15-year-old actor, but the expectations were met and the actress, Kayla McKenna, adjusted her voice to fit the part. Lucy is a more “obnoxious” character and has “obnoxious vocal quirks” that the actor playing Lucy, Julia Tauter, did a superb job of projecting, according to Mrs. Kozee.
Those who do not act or perform, like myself, would think that the hardest part of acting would just be standing on stage, but Mrs. Kozee says that the most difficult job of an actor is to remain in character. “Especially if you are acting in the background and even if you forget a line or something does not go as planned, remain in character.” Mrs. Kozee, along with everyone else who saw the play, knows that the cast of Charlie Brown did a great job of doing just that.
Speaking with Mrs. Kozee gave me insight into acting that I have never known, and I am really excited to see how all of the seventh and eighth graders who participated in the play this year will grow in their acting and performing careers both here at Oyster Bay High School and maybe even after they leave.
A goal that Mrs. Kozee mentioned for the future of the Performing Arts Department at our high school is to obtain as many participants for the play as possible, no matter the age. She also said that she hopes the future casts will have the level of dedication and work ethic that the cast of You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown had. Mrs. Kozee says that as a result of such hard work, this cast had practically non-existent mishaps and musical mistakes and that this contributed to the fun and well organized play that we were able to experience in our very own theater here at Oyster Bay High School.