For Savannah Children’s Theatre, A Charlie Brown Christmas has become a holiday tradition. It's become a regular production around the holiday season over the last five years, and something that families throughout Savannah look forward to.
This year will be no exception, and choreographer Kendra Norwood couldn’t contain her excitement when we caught up with her ahead of opening night on Dec. 6.
“I’ve been around the Savannah Children’s Theatre now for about 11 years, and in the past three years that I’ve been doing A Charlie Brown Christmas, it’s evolved,” Norwood tells Connect.
“It’s grown so much. It’s become something that I truly look forward to every year. Granted, I’m a Christmas geek. Choreographing it and being the stage manager, and really being there from the time the kids audition until showtime, it’s the best.”
Norwood says that for many of the kids involved in the production, it’s often the first show they’ve ever done and their first production with the Children’s Theatre.
“It’s nice because it’s a show about so much hope,” she says. “Kind of what the holiday season is about. So what a great way to introduce a child to theater.”
Charles M. Schulz’s classic Peanuts characters, and the Charlie Brown stories, have continued to thrive and have a life of their own, even years after the beloved cartoonist’s passing. Norwood attributes the Peanuts’ longevity to how relatable the stories and characters are.
“We’ve all been the Charlie Brown, right? We want to do good. I think it’s just relatable. In the show, when they do the Charlie Brown dance, the best part about that is to see the smiles on the kids’ faces and to be reminded, ‘Wow. This is super fun,’” she says.
“Everybody just wants to be with their friends and dance. How relatable is that?”
Norwood’s favorite moment in the show, though there are many, is a heartwarming scene with Linus and Charlie Brown.
“Charlie Brown gets really sad about picking out this little tree. He’s teased about it. They tell him, ‘What an awful tree.’ But Linus shows him shows much compassion and says, ‘Let me tell you what Christmas is all about.’ He tells him that it’s really not about [a tree], it’s about so much more than that. It’s about what makes you happy,” she says.
Norwood encourages families and people of all ages to come and see the production, and says that this show is an extension of the passion she has for the work she gets to do.
“I just get so wrapped up in what I get to do, because it’s such a wonderful job,” she says. “You know how people say, ‘I’ve been bitten by the bug?’ With A Charlie Brown Christmas, I promise that you’ll be bitten by the bug!”