“Snoopy!!!” marks the second musical — after “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” — inspired by the comic strip Peanuts.
The strip, with its young characters and gentle humor, seems naturally suited to a musical for children.
But not so fast.
Much of the humor, at least in the early decades of the strip, was aimed at adults.
And, by simply drifting from one gag to the next, in no particular order, the musical gives up suspense and a strong plot — the attributes that appeal to young theatergoers.
Not that the cast of the Columbus Children’s Theatre production — from elementary- through early high-school ages — isn’t up to the task.
Under the assured guidance of director Chris Rusen and music director Wendy Foster, the characters are well-differentiated with strong voices.
Toby Hattemer makes a wryly self-deprecating Charlie Brown; and Ryleigh Buckingham, a comically assertive Lucy.
Amirah Joy Lomax is sublimely cool as the title character, although why the musical is named for Snoopy isn’t clear, while Rayli Boyd is energetically amusing as wordless sidekick Woodstock. Cam Holland is charming as a determined Linus, Maria Dalanno is sweetly dreamy as Sally, and Anna Campise is dynamic as Peppermint Patty.
The costumes by Patty Bennett fit the material without being overly cartoonish, and the lighting by Brendan Michna adds welcome drama.
Still, for its supposed core audience of youngsters, the production misses the mark.
During the performance at 3 p.m. Saturday, the laughs seemed few — beyond the big one from the surprise of an inflated shark emerging from the doghouse.
A show whose major theme involves unrequited love — and whose jokes address “Citizen Kane,” the perils of psychiatry and the life of Edgar Allan Poe — doesn’t exactly reach the preschool crowd.