Theatre Aspen’s “The World According to Snoopy” now on stage |

Theatre Aspen’s “The World According to Snoopy” now on stage

Erica Robbie
The Aspen Times

Despite the energetic, eight-plus-hour days spent inside the Hurst Theatre — performing in one musical while rehearsing for another — actress Gianna Yanelli feels like she is on holiday.

“It’s just so beautiful here, it’s like a freaking postcard. It’s crazy,” Yanelli said of Aspen. “It’s like work but I feel like it’s a vacation.”

The Philadelphia native, who plays Brenda in Theatre Aspen’s “Hairspray,” also will take the stage as Sally in “The World According to Snoopy,” beginning at 7:30 p.m. today. Opening night will start with a 6 p.m. reception followed by a 7 p.m. show time Friday.

Theatre Aspen is previewing the musical, based on the Charles Schulz’s “Peanuts,” tonight and again at 3 p.m. Friday.

While Yanelli is in awe of Aspen’s natural beauty, this isn’t the actress’ first time in town. Two summers ago, Yanelli starred as Junie B. Jones in Theatre Aspen’s “Junie B. Jones the Musical.”

Playing the role of a child again, this time around as Charlie Brown’s younger sister, was “extremely challenging” at times, Yanelli said.

“As an actor, it’s really easy to pick out the same tricks, tones,” the 25-year-old said. “I really made it my goal (for Sally) to not have similarities with Junie B.”

This distinction is only more important when performing in front of more or less the same folks, Yanelli said, noting the “small town” nature of Aspen.

The “World According to Snoopy” is a revised version of “Snoopy! The Musical,” comprised of scenes and stories adapted from the original cartoon strip, Aspen Theatre interim artistic director Markus Potter said.

Portrayed through Snoopy’s perspective, the musical offers a meaningful message, Yanelli said, as well as a score of colorful characters.

“Even though it’s based on cartoons, it is based on real things and it does have a real message,” she said. “I absolutely tear up at the end.”

For this reason, Yanelli encourages people of all ages, not only children, to check out the musical.

“It’s not just a kids show. It really is a family show. And I think that’s what sometime is misleading,” Yanelli said. “If you’re familiar with Charlie Brown, it’s a blast to the past.”

The two-act, hour-and-a-half musical is directed and choreographed by Broadway veterans Kaitlin Hopkins and Adam Cates, respectively.

“There are fun and cute philosophies sung by each of the Peanuts characters, and the amazing talent of the actors makes this show come alive as they dance and sing in this production,” Potter said. “This show is one that audience members young and old alike can come to for an hour and a half of fun full of song, dance and silliness.”

The “World According to Snoopy” will run at Theatre Aspen on select days through Aug. 15.

To view show times, purchase tickets or for more information, visit

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