‘Charlie Brown Christmas’ comes alive at Gallo Center

A live touring production of "A Charlie Brown Christmas" comes to the Gallo Center.
A live touring production of "A Charlie Brown Christmas" comes to the Gallo Center. Submitted by Gallo Center for the Arts

Lights, please.

Linus and his beloved true-meaning-of-Christmas soliloquy will come to life on the Gallo Center for the Arts stage this holiday season.

The rest of the “Peanuts” gang will be there, too – Lucy, Snoopy, Sally and the others, all led by the lovable, if much-maligned, Charlie Brown.

And, let’s face it, it’s not really Christmas without them.

Fifty-plus years after the group of Charles M. Schulz characters debuted its seasonal tale to the joy of children across the country – and their parents, too – a live ensemble brings “A Charlie Brown Christmas Live on Stage” to Modesto’s downtown performing art venue for two shows on Nov. 24.

The animated television show based on the “Peanuts” comic strip will air multiple times throughout the Christmas season, but the Gallo show offers a chance to see the tale retold by a live cast.

The national touring production remains faithful to the Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning story that first aired on television in 1965. It also features the classic Vince Guaraldi score, music that’s become as much a part of the holiday season as the Schulz story itself.

The enduring story follows our hero Charlie Brown, who complains about the overwhelming materialism that he sees all around him during the Christmas season.

Lucy suggests that he become director of the school Christmas pageant – much to the chagrin of some of the others in the play. Charlie Brown accepts, but it all proves to be a frustrating struggle with the carefree gang.

As happens with Charlie Brown, things go awry. When he sets off with pal Linus to select a Christmas tree for the pageant, his sights fall on a forlorn little fir tree that feels like the right choice. But the tree and Charlie Brown’s attempt to restore the real meaning of the holiday’s spirit fail miserably back with the rest of the pageant’s players.

It’s Linus who saves the day and reminds everyone of the true message of the holiday with his eloquent retelling of the biblical Christmas story.

“A Charlie Brown Christmas Live on Stage”

WHEN: 2 and 6:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 24

WHERE: Gallo Center for the Arts, 1000 I St., Modesto

TICKETS: $19-$39

ONLINE: www.galloarts.org