Originally composer/lyricist/librettist Clark Gesner had no intention of turning his “Peanuts” songs into a stage musical. However, producer Arthur Whitelaw convinced him to work up a theatrical version based on Charles Schultz’s popular comic strip, and it was soon presented at a tiny East Village theatre as You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown where it remained for four years.
That, however, was only the beginning of a host of popular runs of the musical throughout the world.
In addition to You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Gesner wrote the book, music, and lyrics for *Animal Fair,*which premiered at the Denver Center Theatre. He also wrote with Nagle Jackson Broadway’s The Utter Glory of Morrisey Hall, as well as revues of Leonard Sillman and Julius Monk.
For television he wrote for Captain Kangaroo, Sesame Street, and *That Was the Week That Was.*As an actor, he has appeared regularly in B. T. McNicholl’s Musicals in Concert series and performed regionally in 1776, Lend Me a Tenor, Carnival!, and other musicals.
The Jello Is Always Red, a revue of Gesner’s cabaret and theatre songs, was recently produced by the New Theatre Company.
Gesner passed away on July 23, 2004 at the age of 64.