Dallas Children's Theater Blog

Astonishing Kids And Families With The Fun of Broadway-Like Plays and A Lot More!

DCT Did You Know? All About the Peanuts Gang and the timeless Nutcracker

How many people can say that they know as much about the Peanuts Gang as Charles Schulz? Have you ever been stifled about a question where the answer should seem obvious like the origins of The Nutcracker?  Who deserves to be the person in the know about these things?  You! That’s who! Well…matching up to the iconic creators, Charles Schulz or Peter Tchaikovsky, might be a stretch, but with these deets, you’ll be sitting pretty at a Peanuts- or nutcracker-themed trivia night for sure! Read on to learn eight random things about the Peanuts Gang and six need-to-know facts about the Nutcracker.



  • In all the comic strips (17,897 total), Charlie Brown only successfully kicks the football once. Charlie Brown loves to kick a football, but Lucy is always playing jokes on him. She generously offers to hold the football for him and then pulls it away at the last second every time! Once—just once—Charlie Brown manages to kick a ball that Schroeder held for him.1, 2
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas is the second longest-running Christmas special on US network television? The special first aired on December 9, 1965, one year after Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.3


  • Linus’s blanket is a great toy and source of exercise for Snoopy. He likes to grab on to one of the corners of the blanket—and start running while poor Linus is holding on to the other end for dear life.2
  • Linus didn’t speak in the early years of the cartoon. He first appeared as Lucy’s blanket-wielding brother in 1952. Even though he didn’t speak until 1954, he still emerged as one of the more complex characters in the Peanuts Gang.4, 5
  • Charles Schulz’s lifelong ambition was to be a cartoonist. When he was 15, he published his first drawing: a picture of his dog. His black and white dog, Spike, was later the inspiration for Snoopy.6


  • While it’s widely known that Beethoven is his idol, you may not believe that Schroeder thinks Beethoven was the first U.S. President. And that Beethoven’s birthday should be a national holiday.2
  • CBS executives didn’t love “A Charlie Brown Christmas” at first. They didn’t like that real children voiced the characters, or that religion was a major theme. The special went on to win an Emmy for Outstanding Children’s Program in 1966.1, 7
  • One day before his final Sunday comic strip aired, Charles Schulz passed away. It was his wish that no one else could take over the comic strip he’d drawn for nearly half a century. In all, there were 17,897 comic strips: 15,391 dailies and 2,506 Sunday strips.6


  • The earliest known nutcrackers have been identified by archaeologists as pitted stones used to crack nuts between 4,000 and 8,000 years ago.8
  • According to Guinness World Records, the largest nutcracker measures 33 feet 1 inch high, and was made in Germany in 2008.8


  • German legend states that nutcrackers bring good luck to your family and protect your home.8
  • Many GI’s who were stationed in Germany during World War II visited open air markets called “Kristkrinä!e Marktets.” They brought home nutcrackers as figures of power and protection to their families and loved ones.9, 10


  • The first American production of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s 1892 ballet The Nutcracker premiered in 1940. Its popularity was due in part to those same GI’s returning from the war with souvenirs in hand.10
  • In Leavenworth, Washington there is a Nutcracker Museum, which has more than 4,000 nutcracker figurines on display!11

So if you know any trivia aficionados, share this blog! And hey—maybe the two of you can make two dates: one for a trivia party and one to see these shows at DCT.


This holiday season, we are thankful that so many patrons have already purchased their tickets to see A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS and THE NUTCRACKER. In fact, so many have bought tickets that we are SOLD OUT! Stay tuned to our social media channels and subscribe to our e-newsletter so that you can be among the first to hear about next year’s holiday shows!


Charlie Brown Sources
1 – 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Charlie Brown on Huffington Post
2 – Meet the Peanuts Gang! With fun facts, trivia, comics, and more! by Charles M. Schulz
3 – A Charlie Brown Christmas Trivia on IMDb
4 – Good Grief! 18 Beloved Facts About ‘Peanuts’ on Mental Floss
5 – The Complete Peanuts 1953-1954 on Fantagraphics
6 – 9 Things You Might Not Know About “Peanuts” on History
7 – Emmys website

Nutcracker Sources
8 – Top 10 facts about The Nutcracker on The Daily Express
9 – The History of Nutcrackers on Magic of Nutcrackers
10 – Why Fancy Nutcrackers Don’t Actually Crack Nuts on National Geographic
11 – In a Nutshell A brief history of nutcrackers. On Slate



Steph Garrett is a Doggone Cute and Good Actress!

DFW actress Steph Garrett was most recently seen in the lovable role of JoJo in SEUSSICAL . While she played a Who Boy and ultimately the hero of that production, Steph is building quite a list of dog roles at DCT, and she is now appearing as Snoopy in DCT’s production of A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS. We visited with Steph about all her dog roles at DCT, including Snoopy.


What are all the dog characters you have played at DCT?

I played Blue Dog in GO, DOG. GO!, Lucy (among many other characters) in THE MIRACULOUS JOURNEY OF EDWARD TULANE, and now Snoopy in A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS.


Steph Garrett, right, as Blue Dog.


Garrett, left, as Lucy the dog in THE MIRACULOUS JOURNEY OF EDWARD TULANE.


Garrett as Snoopy, the loveable beagle in A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS.

How do you prepare, both physically and in terms of character development for these roles?

Whenever I play an animal, I observe that animal either in its natural habitat or even just on YouTube. I pay attention to the way that animal moves and the sounds it makes. There are so many breeds of dogs, so I first need to decide what type of dog I’m playing, and then determine the defining characteristics of that dog. 

Snoopy is, of course a well-known character, so how is your doggone-good-blog-photopreparation different for this role?

I’m certainly referencing real-life beagles; however, the Peanuts specials are all I really need. I’ve watched virtually every one over and over again and have paid close attention to the different stances and sounds Snoopy makes. Obviously, I’m a real person and not a cartoon so I am doing my best to preserve the essence of Snoopy’s sounds and movements. Truly, it’s an honor to bring such an iconic character to life!

What excites you the most about the DCT production of A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS?

 At the start of the show, I’m excited for the live band to play, the lights to come up, and for our audiences to be swept away into an interactive winter wonderland. The set, props, costumes, lights, sounds, and projections for this show are positively some of the best in DFW. Our incredible director has created (and recreated) some hilarious moments with each of the Peanuts characters, and we’re so excited to share it with our audiences. 

A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS is a heartwarming show. I think most adults will appreciate the nostalgia of this theatrical experience, and the children will delight in the magic of seeing Snoopy, Charlie Brown, and all his friends come to life.

ka_067-blogAnything else you want to share?

Cwia&#$@#qtso&#!!!!!!! (That’s Snoopy talk for “Enjoy the show!!!!!!!”)

I must admit, I’m a little jealous that for research Steph has been watching cute YouTube dogs and Peanuts specials, but every time I’ve seen her perform it’s obvious she takes her work very seriously. When my dog gets excited, she runs around in circles until finally she stops, looks at me and just wags her tail. Though I am not a dog, I have to say, that’s what I felt like doing after seeing Steph’s performance. Without question, seeing her recreate Snoopy will make you howl!


RUDOLPH 11.18X17.8 SITTING.eps

unnamedTickets still available for THE NUTCRACKER on December 17, 18, 20, and 21. Select availability for A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS on December 20 and 21. Both shows run now through December 21.

For tickets, call the Box Office at 214-740-0051 or go to dct.org.


Written by Sherry Ward.

You’re A Good Man, Doug Miller!

Doug Miller is a quadruple threat: a director, actor, choreographer, and teacher. During DCT’s 2016-2017 season, not only is he teaching all classes in the DCT Musical Theater Conservatory, he’s directing the DFW professional premiere of A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS, based on the beloved television special. We recently sat down with Doug to discuss the “peanuts” and bolts of why he does what he does.

lj105471-doug-charlielj105472Q: Describe the TV version of A Charlie Brown Christmas from your perspective.

A: The Emmy Award-winning A Charlie Brown Christmas television special has been a tradition in my family for as long as I can remember. Last December was actually the 50th Anniversary of the special. I believe this story has withstood the test of time because of its many messages. Not only does the story deal with the real meaning of Christmas versus the commercialism of this holiday, but it also explores the true friendship between these fun characters. I think the story will also transfer well to the [DCT] stage because it’s about a group of kids putting on a show.

Q: Give me 3 words to describe A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS.

A: Nostalgic, relevant, entertaining.

Q: What do you like most about the show?

A: It’s a classic, and it gets you into the holiday spirit.

Q: What experience are you trying to create for audiences coming to see A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS on stage?

A: It’s my job to stay true to the story that folks have enjoyed for 50 years. I want to bring the cartoon to life.

Q: What is it like being a director?

A: Being a director is like being a juggler. You have many balls in the air and it’s your job to keep things precise and always moving to reach the finish line. The balls are your actors, the script, the technical elements, the morale, and the leadership. My philosophy is that a good director always pays attention to detail, is prepared, has to earn the respect of his actors and production team, is the leader, and is a teacher at the same time.

director-series-doug-miller-class Q: How have you seen theater change someone’s life?

A: Not only am I a director, actor, and choreographer, but I am also the Director of Musical Theater at DCT. I teach all 10 of our classes in the DCT Musical Theater Conservatory. I have been a teacher for almost 20 years, and I have first hand seen how acting, singing, and dancing has changed the course of young lives. It’s amazing when my former or current students say that they feel their true passion for life began when they found the arts. I’ve had many students and actors that I have directed in a show go on to be cast in Broadway shows, in television series, dance with ballet companies, and be cast in movies. The greatest satisfaction a teacher or director can have is when their students and performers start to “get it.” Nothing compares to seeing those light bulb moments.

Q: Why are you interested in children’s theater?

A: I feel that working with children and young adults is my calling. I enjoy directing and teaching “our future.”

Q: Describe a memorable moment you’ve had at DCT.

A: There are so many…The moment I am most proud of is developing a Musical Theater curriculum for the DCT Academy. Last fall we didn’t know if there was a need for this program at DCT. When classes started, every musical theater class was full and many had waiting lists. I would say that this was a program that DCT, and the kids of DFW, really needed.

Q: What’s your favorite children’s story?
A: I have to say that the two children’s stories that were most intriguing to me when I was a child, and still today, were the tales of Alice in Wonderland and James and the Giant Peach. I have always liked adventure stories with wild, whimsical characters. Whether it was Dorothy’s adventures in Oz or Lucy visiting Narnia, these stories with interesting, bizarre characters on crazy adventures have always been my favorite. C.S. Lewis had such a vivid imagination. His books make it very easy for readers to escape into his stories.

Just like Charlie Brown discovers the true meaning of Christmas, Doug Miller has been able to help his students better discover aspects of themselves through theater and performance. During this holiday season, we hope you’ll come see his work and find your own happiness and joy at a performance of A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS.


A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS runs on the DCT mainstage from November 18-December 21, 2016. Tickets on sale now. Visit dct.org to plan your trip to the theater!


cbphoto_by_karen_almondA CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS
by Charles M. Schulz
Based on the television special by Bill Melendez
and Lee Mendelson
Stage Adaptation by Eric Schaeffer
By Special Arrangement with Arthur Whitelaw and Ruby Persson
November 18 – December 21, 2016. Recommended for ages 5 and up

It’s a SWEATER, Charlie Brown!

Good grief! There are so many stitches in the one and only hand-knitted sweater made for actor Christopher Curtis who plays Charlie Brown at DCT this winter. Elaine Liner, beloved DFW writer, actor, and knitting queen created the original sweater for our Charlie Brown and as DCT Costume Designer Lyle Huchton said, Elaine “made a designer’s dream come true!”

elaine-sweaterElaine’s knitting has gained her some international attention as she premiered her one-woman show SWEATER CURSE: A YARN ABOUT LOVE to the Edinburgh (Scotland) Fringe in 2013 and has taken the show back several times since, as it is always an audience favorite. SWEATER CURSE is Elaine’s one-act solo comedy about unraveled sweaters, knitting and knotty romances. She has also performed it locally and taken it on the road to San Antonio, New Orleans, and wherever her yarn feels called.  And her shows are fun offstage too because her audiences are encouraged to bring their own needlework so their hands can be kept busy throughout her performance.  Talk about interactive theater!

Flying without a pattern this time, Elaine borrowed one of Christopher’s sweaters as a fit reference.When you see the show, you will see that she nailed (ahem knitted), the PERFECT fit! After testing some color swatches to get just the right shades, she began her quest. It took Elaine 2-3 weeks and over 100 hours of knitting and sewing before she finally announced to her Facebook friends on November 11 that it was on its way to DCT!

charlie-brown-sweater-in-progress-photo-by-elaine-linerWhat’s funny to me is how many of Elaine’s friends, when they first saw the photo of the finished product quickly asked, “WHERE did you get THAT?” It struck me funny because they obviously didn’t read her post, and also because I had no idea that Charlie Brown was such an icon for fashion! Women all over DFW wanted one just like it!

Costume designer Lyle Huchton explains, “I knew from the beginning that I wanted the iconic Charlie Brown shirt made into a sweater and after asking around I could find no one who would commit to doing it. I knew that Elaine knitted, although she and I had never met, so I reached out to her to see if she was interested or if she knew someone who might be. I was thrilled when she agreed to do it.ka_381

“Not only am I over the top about how great it turned out, it was a pleasure to get to know her and work with her on this special project. I am looking forward to any future knitting projects that may come up so we can work together again.”

I know I was over the top when I saw A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS. Hopefully you will be too, and you may even find yourself wanting a handmade Charlie Brown sweater from Elaine Liner! If you do, get this, Elaine has agreed to knit one more to support the cause of great productions for children via a DCT auction. Just go to dct.org/bid and put your name in the hat…or in this case, the sweater!


A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS and Kathy Burks Theatre of Puppetry Arts’ THE NUTCRACKER run through December 21.

Written by Sherry Ward.