'You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown'
Production part of troupe re-establishing itself
Katharine Head was made to play Snoopy.
The Gresham resident not only owns two dogs, shes also a professional pet groomer. As a member of Gresham Little Theaters cast for Youre a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Head says shes based her portrayal on her two Boston Terriers, Ozzy and Kay, as well as her friends Tammi Jensens Beagle Jack.
I kind of melded the three of them together to create this Snoopy character, she says, noting Snoopy is really adventurous and just sort of fun loving and sweet.
Charlie Brown opened last week at the theaters new location, the KNOVA Learning Center, 740 S.E. 182nd Ave., and concludes its run with shows at 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday May 19-21. Based on the famed Peanuts comic strip, the musical comedy was written in 1967 by Clark Gesner. Although Peanuts is famous for its gentle humor, Charlie Brown is no easy undertaking, Head says.
The whole musical is deceptively hard, she says. The vocals and the ways that they are layered are actually quite hard. The songs vocally are almost like a marathon youre running.
Not to mention, its an ensemble performance, with no one star, so to speak. Characters repeatedly come on and off the stage, including the man himself, Charlie Brown, played by Heads husband, Justin Tramposh. Millions of people have a history with Peanuts, he says, noting the comic strips, cartoons and movies it spawned.
Becoming Charlie Brown was a really surreal experience, Tramposh says. I think a lot of people can identify with him because hes part of everyone. Everyone has had a bad day. Thats why hes so relatable.
Charlie Brown is just the latest sign of the Gresham Little Theaters revival. Founded as a program of the City of Greshams Parks and Recreation Department in 1999, the theater has staged productions in various locations in East Multnomah County over the years, but stopped regularly producing plays for various reasons, including financial challenges, about six years ago.
Michele Brouse Peoples, the theaters founder and artistic director, notes GLT returned to the local scene with a production of MacBeth the Western last year, and has found a permanent home at KNOVA where she teaches English as a Second Language. GLT operates under the nonprofit East Metro Arts & Culture Council, which serves as the theaters fiscal agent, she says.
Among the volunteers the revived program boasts is Jeremiah Mitchell Braeback, GLTs technical director, who has worked with the theater since 2004. Braeback says the theater is entering an exciting phase, and hosts a musical open mic night called Rhapsody, which takes place the second Sunday of each month.
We plan to expand our educational programming to include performance and tech classes for all ages, and we will need help getting the word out as we build up our program, especially connecting with our new neighbors in the Rockwood area, he says, noting the theater is looking for folks to help with marketing.
Peoples adds that GLT is open to all.
When you support the GLT, you are supporting your community in a fun and positive way, she says.
If you go
WHAT: Youre a Good Man, Charlie Brown
WHEN: 7 p.m. Thursday to Saturday, May 19-21
WHERE: KNOVA Learning Center, 740 S.E. 182nd Ave.
COST: $8 adults, $6 students