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STEP VA Cast Spotlight: Carson Baiz, Grant Hobbs, Reeve Watson


April 13, 2023 by Brigid O'Leary

FREDERICKSBURG, VA—The show is “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” and considering he is being played by a combination of Carson Baiz, Grant Hobbs, and Reeve Watson, you can be assured the titular character truly lives up to the claim. The musical brings us into the Peanuts universe as created by Charles Schulz more than 50 years ago with a cast of characters that are as relatable as they are recognizable. The original script assigns two people to Charlie Brown but the organizers at STEP VA, the local 501(c)3 nonprofit that “empowers people with disabilities, and their families, through creative expression and sensory exploration,” shared the honor—and responsibility—among three actors. The show has Charlie Brown himself along with two narrators, who serve as Charlie Brown’s thoughts or conscience, which allows the audience to know what Charlie Brown is thinking at any given time in the show.


Carson Baiz

Having taken on the role of Zazu last year in Disney’s “The Lion King, Kids!” Carson Baiz is no stranger to advisory roles. Quiet and thoughtful, he was a natural choice to be one of the narrators. Baiz, though, didn’t have any hopes or expectations about what role he would get.


“I just wanted to be in the play,” Baiz explained, noting that this year’s role is bigger than being the royal advisor.

“I have more lines this play,” he said.


Having more lines has been the biggest challenge for Baiz this time around, but it hasn’t dampened his enjoyment of the show. His favorite song is the opening number, “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” particularly when Charlie Brown is late for school.


Though the opening number is the first time Baiz and Watson take the stage with Hobbs, it’s far from the last. The three have scenes together throughout the show, sometimes just the three of them, sometimes with more of the cast. Baiz is looking forward to the show but not for the reasons most people would think. Rather, he’s excited for “everyone being happy,” he said.


Grant Hobbs

Baiz and Watson will be the inner voice for Charlie Brown, played by Grant Hobbs in his first musical with STEP VA. Being the “new guy” was the biggest hurdle for Hobbs.


“I’m new to STEP VA, and this is my first non-school production. There were lots of new things to learn and people to meet. I learned to be flexible and roll with the changes,” he said.

While he’s new to the organization, Hobbs joins the cast with plenty of stage experience behind him.


“I was involved in theater in high school, but my final performance was canceled by COVID in 2020. Being involved in plays was one of my favorite parts of high school. I loved the friends I made and being part of productions. I’ve missed being on stage. When I learned about ‘You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,’ I couldn’t wait to try out and perform again! I’m excited to be involved with this great community and production,” he explained.


Described by cast mates as “an amazing actor” and the “perfect person” for the role of Charlie Brown, Hobbs is equally enthusiastic about his part in the show, and the experience as a whole.

“The most exciting part of the musical is learning the choreography for the first time, watching the show come together, and meeting new people in the cast. I have made many new friends in the cast,” he said, noting that his favorite dance is Beethoven Day. “We have come so far in such a few months and I can’t wait for everyone to see our hard work and enjoy the show.”

No stranger to the work that it takes to put on a show like this and having found his niche within the group, it’s no surprise that the song that closes out the show, particularly, resonates with Hobbs.


“My favorite song in the show is ‘Happiness.’ I love the beautiful message that happiness can be whatever you want it to be. For me, happiness changes every day, but I’m always happy when I get to rehearse with STEP VA. Happiness is a wonderful song to sing and I can’t wait to kill it onstage and share that message with the audience,” he said.


Reeve Watson

While the song “Happiness” is not what Reeve Watson picked as his favorite part of the show, he concurs with Hobbs about the joy of being part of STEP VA in general and in a STEP VA production specifically.


“I love learning my lines and my dances and seeing my STEP VA friends,” he said. “I love when people come watch me on the stage.”

Watson is no stranger to the stage or even performing before a packed house. He was, after all, Young Simba in last year’s performance of Disney’s “The Lion King, Kids!”


Though the roles aren’t too drastically different, the shows themselves are so disparate that Watson has found them to be vastly different experiences.


“I liked the Lion King dances better but I like the Charlie Brown story about all the friends better,” he explained.

So if “Happiness” isn’t his favorite scene in the show, what is?

“I really like the kite part the best of all,” he said, referring to a scene wherein Charlie Brown attempts to fly a kite and the audience hears from both Watson and Baiz as they share the thoughts going through Charlie Brown’s head.


The scene Watson describes is one of the times it’s just the three of them on stage together and while it seems like it’d be easy, he found sharing lines with two other actors a bit challenging.

“Doing the lines all mixed up with the other Charlie browns has been a little bit hard but I’m doing it. I didn’t give up!” he said, proudly.


With only days left until show, what’s Watson looking forward to the most about wrapping up this production?


“Having everyone come to the show and clap and be happy with us!” he said.

Come be learn to be happy with what you’ve got—and with the STEP VA cast and crew—at “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” April 15 at 6 p.m. and April 16 at 3 p.m., at Courtland High School. The show is sponsored by Dominion Energy and the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation. Tickets are on sale now. To purchase tickets or for more information, visit www.stepva.org.


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