'A Charlie Brown Christmas' brings holiday fun to FIM Whiting Auditorium

FLINT, Michigan — It’s a holiday classic that’s been on television screens for over 50 years. “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is a heartwarming tradition that’s been sharing a positive message every holiday season for decades. Now, the cartoon comes to life on stage for audiences at the FIM Whiting Auditorium on Thursday, Dec. 20.

A Charlie Brown Christmas: Live on Stage is an adaptation of the award-winning story by Charles M. Schulz, joining Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus, and the rest of the Peanuts pals to learn about what Christmas really means. Traditional songs and carols will entertain the entire family, both children and adults alike. 

Ethan Davenport who plays Charlie Brown, found an outlet for his big imagination and love for costumes in community theater at a young age. He says the universal themes of the popular Charlie Brown character still hit home with many audiences. 

“Charlie Brown is a young kid, growing up and just trying to figure out his place in the world, and how things work,” said Davenport. “His sort of hopefulness, innocence, and curiosity leads him down all sorts of tales. This one is about finding the meaning of Christmas and what the true Christmas spirit is.”

Leah Windahl, who plays Lucy, grew up watching a lot of “Schoolhouse Rock” with her mother who was an English professor. She fell in love with theater after her first acting class as an eight-year-old.

The cast of ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ leap for holiday joy on stage at the FIM Whiting Auditorium.
“Lucy is definitely a piece of work, and I’m sure a lot of the kids are scared of her, but I think she’s a leader,” said Windahl. 

Despite being created over 50 years ago, the Charlie Brown cartoon still seems pertinent in today’s day and age, the castmates say. 

“Charlie Brown’s curiosity and how he’s working through problems that aren’t necessarily so unique, like not fitting in, not feeling included with a group of people, understanding traditions, family dynamics, and social dynamics, is universal. Him talking about it in a very approachable way helps a lot of people understand their own relationships with whatever they’re going through in a really digestible and accessible way,” said Davenport.

For Windahl, the production’s themes especially resonate, given the hectic hustle and bustle of shopping, crammed calendars, and overall stress the holiday can bring. 

“Now, as we’re fighting against the commercialism of Christmas, and thinking about what it’s really about,” she said. “At the end of the day, it’s like what Linus says, ‘peace, goodwill towards men.’ I think that’s not a moral that’s set in 1965, it’s a moral that transcends and is still so relevant in 2023.”

The production runs one night only on Thursday, Dec. 20. Tickets are available online, at the FIM Ticket Center box offices at FIM Whiting Auditorium and FIM Capitol Theatre, or by calling 810-237-7333. Genesee County residents receive a 30% discount. 
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Read more articles by Sarah Spohn.