By Aleksandra Bliszczyk
Three young graduates from Assumption College and The Kilmore International School have been reunited to star in a University of Melbourne music theatre production in Melbourne’s north this week.
John Sharp, of Kilmore, Adeline Hunter, of Broadford, and Peter Lejins, of Seymour, will star in the university’s Music Theatre Association’s production of Clark Gesner’s 1967 musical You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown, bringing to life Charles Schulz’s Peanuts comic strip.
Mr Sharp, Assumption alumni and now a first-year Bachelor of Music in Composition and Technology student at Monash University, will star as Charlie Brown.
While fellow Assumption graduate Ms Hunter plays Lucy Van Pelt, and Mr Lejins of Kilmore International School will portray Lucy’s younger brother and Charlie Brown’s best friend Linus Van Pelt.
The three had performed together at workshops during high school, and Mr Sharp said it was exciting to be together again, this time in Melbourne, and surprising, given the daunting audition process.
“I just turned 18 so I was able to audition, and Charlie Brown is a show I have a lot of love for, so I thought I’d just go for it,” he said.
“The call-backs were intense [but] everyone is so nice, the whole crew and cast is amazing, you feel very supported. Everyone’s not only professional but very fun and laid back.”
Though the three are not studying theatre performance at university – Ms Hunter a Bachelor of Design at the University of Melbourne and Mr Lejins a Doctor of Medicine at the University of Melbourne – they are keenly pursuing it outside class.
Mr Sharp completed VCE drama, capped by an eight-minute solo performance as well as a written exam.
“It was hard because it’s good to be one-on-one with the teacher and have her be like, let’s do this, and then just do it, but we couldn’t really do that because we were on videos calls. It’s hard getting visual examples,” he said.
Despite the challenges leading up to the final assessments, Mr Sharp said his teachers were supportive and pushed him to do his best.
“At Assumption they give you a lot of opportunities to perform and the teachers there are very available, very friendly, you can just walk up to them and have a chat with them. They’re very nice,” he said.
“And also they’ll tell you what you’re doing wrong in VCE, they don’t hold back [which] in the long run is very good.”
Now in a bigger pond of dedicated performers, Mr Sharp said since commencing his tertiary studies and extra curricula activities in March, he was both inspired and intimidated by the calibre of talent in music theatre association and upcoming show.
“The main difference is that everyone is good at what they do,” he said.
“With high school musicals you have to go in with a grain of salt I suppose, but everyone, this entire crew especially, is so talented and it is a bit of pressure living up to what everyone else is putting in.”
Mr Sharp said You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown was one of his favourites, having directed another production of the joyful show for Seymour Performers Workshop in 2019, where Ms Hunter and Mr Lejins also performed throughout high school.
He encouraged Mitchell Shire residents to get out of town and make the drive to Brunswick for the performances from May 13 to 16.
“Everything about it is amazing,” he said.
“It’s so feel good, it’ll just warm up your heart and people should see it because if you do see it your day will be made, I guarantee it.”
Performances will be held at St Ambrose Hall, 3 Dawson St, Brunswick and dates are as follows: Thursday May 13 at 7.30pm opening night; Friday May 14 at 7.30pm; Saturday May 15 at 2.00pm; Saturday May 15 at 7.30pm; Sunday May 16 at 12.30pm, and 6pm, closing night.
All shows will be captioned and the venue is wheelchair accessible. Tickets now available at ummtacharliebrown.iwannaticket.com.au.