William B. Travis High School
1111 Harlem Road, Richmond Texas 77469



You’re A Good Man

Charlie Brown


February 2nd through February 5th, 2007


Interviews with the Cast and Director of “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown”

Presented by the Theatre Arts Department of Travis High School

By Theresa Pisula
February 2, 2007


William B. Travis High School in Richmond, Texas is a brand new school with nice, clean facilities and a beautiful theatre auditorium.  Today they will be staging the Charles Schulz Peanuts Classic “You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown”.  I interviewed the Cast with Richard Gomez as Charlie Brown, Aaron Hlavaty as Linus and Jessica Reis as Lucy.  I also interviewed Cheryl Kimbrough, the director of this high school play.




Interview with Richard Gomez starring as Charlie Brown


Theresa:  We’re all the way out here in Richmond, Texas.  Trying to get here from Houston is tough because we’re like in the middle of nowhere. 

Richard:  There are also 2 prisons around here.  There’s a prison over there and a prison over here…

Theresa:  Really?  What are their names?

Richard:  I don’t know the names of them (laughs).

Theresa:  How scary is that (laughs)?  There are also a lot of schools on the way over here.  Also, there are some nice, quiet subdivisions.

Richard:  There’s Bush High School and Austin High School and a bunch of different schools.

Theresa:  I love the fact that Travis High School is a brand new school.  It looks beautiful from the outside and the inside is so clean and nice.  And the auditorium is gorgeous.

Richard:  Very big auditorium, very new and technical.  It seats maybe 600 people.  They put a lot of work into this filling it up with a bunch of technical sound and lighting systems.

Theresa:  Okay, tell us about the part that you’re playing.

Richard:  I’m playing Charlie Brown.  There’s not a lot to talk about him because a lot of people know already who Charlie Brown is.  You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown is based on the comic strips.  There’s no plot really, just a bunch of comic strips put together.  It’s just Charlie Brown and the thousands of emotions that he has.  Onstage, he gets happy, he gets sad, he gets depressed and he gets angry.  It’s like the seven dwarfs all piped up into one.  You know it is fun because he’s a very complex character but he’s also really quiet and calm.  So, it’s exciting.

Theresa:  How long did it take for you to prepare for the role?

Richard:  We’ve been working on this for 2 months or so.  To get into the character, I studied a lot of the movies and everything.  It took about all the rehearsal time we have.  Even before we started rehearsal when I found out what part I was playing, I try to start thinking of everything so it took pretty much everyday that we put into this.  We go home and try to think of things to do and how to do this.  Most of the time it was about 2 hours a day but this last week since the show starts it’s 3 hours a day.  We also come every Saturday from 10:00am to 2:00pm so it’s a good chunk of hours we put into this.

Theresa:  When did you find out you were cast for the part?

Richard: Around the 15th of December, a week before exams. 


CLASSIC PEANUTS by Charles Schulz from the Houston Chronicle's Sunday Comics dated January 21, 2007.  Tm. Reg. U.S. Pat. Office - All rights reserved.  Copyright 1960 by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.


Theresa:  What did you find out about Charlie Brown?  Well, we all know who Charlie Brown is.

Richard:  I found out that he’s not really that energetic.  I’m a very, very energetic person, especially when I act.  The last play I did, I was bouncing literally off the walls.  The play was called the Seussification of Romeo and Juliet. 

Theresa:  Seussification?

Richard:  It’s basically Romeo and Juliet in the words of Dr. Seuss.  I played the Prologue and we kind of based it on The Cat in the Hat.  I was going this way and that way.  So it was exciting.  And going from that to Charlie Brown, which is different.  It’s more just the words.  He only has maybe 2 expressions throughout the whole thing.  But the words and the energy in his voice and how he sounds is how the emotion comes out.  It’s not through the face, it’s through the words.


Theresa:  How were you chosen to become a part of this play?

Richard:  Well we went through 3 days of auditions.  We had a day of acting, a day of singing and then a day of dancing.  This was before December 15th, before the cast list went up.  And we just prepared our own songs and I had voice lessons before with the vocal coach.  The 3 directors: Mrs. Kimbrough is the theatre director (the head honcho), the vocal director and the dance director all went into the room after the dance audition day for about an hour and talked about who would be good for acting, dancing and singing.  So that’s how they chose or cast the play.

Theresa:  What year are you in high school?

Richard:  I’m a sophomore.  Last year I was a freshman at Bush High School and I did 9 plays.  It was crazy.  I played Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors.  It was pretty fun I had 2 great parts in 2 good musicals in the past 2 years so I’m hoping that in my junior and senior year that will continue.

Theresa:  You’re what they call a triple-threat, which is someone who does Acting, Singing and Dancing.  When did you start singing and dancing?

Richard:  I started when I was about 2 years old because I went to this baby-sitter and she put on little Christmas shows and she would have us sing numbers and dance.  Until I was about maybe 5 or 7, I would cry every time we did that, I hated being in front of people.  I hated, hated and hated it.  I mean we have a videotape of me in a Barney outfit crying to my mom and crawling on the floor over to my mom.  Then, about 5 or 7, I just really got into it and I’ve been doing it ever since. 

In elementary school, I did a bunch of choir performances and shows.  In middle school is when I did a little bit more.  We started doing plays for UIL (University Interscholastic League) and I actually got to be coached by a real director Yolanda Buksnys at Hodges Middle School. 

When I was in seventh or eighth grade December 2004 I started doing TUTS (Theatre under the Stars) downtown, my dad would sign me up and I started acting classes.  My teacher Rosie Curtis was my acting coach at TUTS.  That’s when I got a little bit more training then I came to Bush High School. 

 I finally got into Theatre I at Bush and Mr. John Michael Manley (fabulous, fabulous director) moved me to Theatre II after he realized I was good.  And then I stayed there the rest of the semester.  I did a show called Show Stoppers, then after that Hunchback of Notre Dame then we started working on Limbo which was a Theatre II production.  And then Little Shop of Horrors where I played the lead character Seymour.  And then the second semester I got to Theatre production class which was for juniors and seniors.  So, I was the only freshman in there.  After that, I did Macbeth and other productions. 

And then I came here and did the Seussification of Romeo and Juliet.  We did scenes from A Midsummer Night’s Dream for a Fine Arts Festival.  After that we just started a musical, and now we are cast for UIL, which is a competition play where we compete against all the other schools.  They also have UIL for football players, high school bands, etc. UIL OAP stands for University Interscholastic League One-Act Plays.  The one-act play for Theatre is about a 40 minute play called Lovers and Executioners.  I am playing Don Lupe which is a Spanish captain, a crazy fool with a rich accent.  We compete at UIL around March, 2007 and the judges pick 2 schools and then we advance.  Hopefully, we’d like to get to maybe district or something.

Theresa:  Who has influenced you the most as an actor?

Richard:  Probably both my parents because they’ve helped me out and they just kept supporting me and taking me to lots of places spending thousands of dollars on me to further my interests and theatre activities.

Theresa:  Who are your most favorite actors?

Richard:  My favorite male actor is Matthew Broderick because he is a star of stage and screen.  I also like Will Smith a lot.  For female actresses, I’d have to say Meryl Streep because she has done so much.  She can be fun, she can be rude and she can do anything.  I was so excited when I watched her win the Golden Globe for Best Actress.  She’s really, really good.

Theresa:  What qualities do you look for in an Actor?

Richard:  The ability to concentrate.  You have to be able to maintain a good focus backstage and think ahead.  You have to be able to also multi-task because you can be singing dancing and acting at the same time.  Those are the main things.  Also, good character, an actor shouldn’t be rude or anything.

Theresa:  What would you like to say to our Houston Theatre audience?

Richard:  That I’m really excited to be here and that I have a great director Ms. Kimbrough, I couldn’t ask for any more and our vocal director Ms. Reba Crump-Cook And also my mom Dolores Gomez who has dealt a lot with me.



AARON HLAVATY stars as Linus Van Pelt in  Travis High School's Production of YOU'RE A GOOD MAN CHARLIE BROWN, February 2007.



Interview with Aaron Hlavaty starring as Linus

In “You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown”

 Theresa:  Tell us about the part that you’re playing….

Aaron:  I’m playing Linus Van Pelt.

Theresa:  I didn’t know Linus had a last name.  Well, Charlie Brown has a last name.

Aaron:  Yes he does and I’m Lucy’s brother.  And I’m friends with Charlie Brown.

Theresa:  He’s Charlie Brown’s best friend. 

Aaron:  Right.  And Snoopy always steals my blanket and runs off…


CLASSIC PEANUTS by Charles Schulz from the Houston Chronicle's Sunday Comics dated January 21, 2007.  Tm. Reg. U.S. Pat. Office - All rights reserved.  Copyright 1960 by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.


Theresa:  How did you become a part of this play?

Aaron:  I initially auditioned for Charlie Brown and it was a 3-day audition, one was acting, one was singing and one was dancing. 

Theresa:  And you did all 3?

Aaron:  Yes.

Theresa:  Why did you choose to become part of Theatre?

Aaron:  Well, when I was in 5th grade some of the theatre kids from 6th grade in Middle School came to our Elementary school and I thought it looked like a lot of fun.  They did some performances like Bye, Bye Birdie at Garcia Middle School.

Theresa:  That’s a musical.  And what did you think?

Aaron:  I thought it was good.  So I joined the Speech and Drama Class in 6th grade at Garcia Middle School.  I did that all 3 years and I had a lot of fun doing that.  I went to all the tournaments.  I was in a One-Act Play in 8th grade.  So, last year when I went to Austin High School, I joined the Theatre there and I was an understudy in The Odd Couple and in the chorus for Once upon a Mattress.  And so I came over here and I figured I’d try to start this Theatre up and so I auditioned for this musical.

Theresa:  And you like it so far?

Aaron:  Yes, a lot.

Theresa:  When did you start singing and dancing?

Aaron:  In 6th grade I was in the chorus in a musical at Garcia Middle School.  It was called “A Country Christmas Carol” – a spoof or parody of Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol.  So I guess that’s when I started, around 11 years old.  The only thing I’ve ever done before then was guitar lessons.

Theresa:  Who influenced you the most?

Aaron:  Well in 8th grade, I saw my neighbor Jared Norby in the musical The Music Man at Austin High School.  I knew who he was and so when I saw him I thought that was really cool.  I talked to him after the show.  He said it was a lot of work but that it was a lot of fun.  And then all my friends were doing it in Middle School and so we all went into it at Austin High School together.  Since all my friends were into it, it made it even more fun, then I got to do stuff with them.

Theresa:  Who are your most favorite actors or directors?

Aaron:  I’m not much on live performances.  But my favorite film director is Tim Burton.  I love his movies, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Theresa:  You like that one?  I like the older Willie Wonka one better. 

Aaron:  I love all of Tim Burton’s movies. 

Theresa:  Tim Burton did Planet of the Apes, Ed Wood, Beetle Juice and those clay-mation movies.

Aaron:  Corpse Bride.  Edward Scissorhands is one of my most favorite movies.

Theresa:  That’s a Classic!  I love Johnny Depp and he’s in most of his movies.  Tim Burton is awesome.  What about actors?

Aaron:  Johnny Depp, he’s really good.  I like Jim Carey, all of his movies.

Theresa:  What qualities do you look for in an actor?

Aaron:  I like comedies.  So if they’re funny, that’s a big thing for me.  If they have talent, like if you could tell that they’re not just themselves, that they’re actually playing a role.

Theresa:  Is theatre something you’ll want to pursue in the future?

Aaron:  Yes, I’m thinking about doing this in college or maybe getting into film studies or cinematography.


CLASSIC PEANUTS by Charles Schulz from the Houston Chronicle's Sunday Comics dated January 21, 2007.  Tm. Reg. U.S. Pat. Office - All rights reserved.  Copyright 1960 by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.






Interview with Jessica Reis starring as Lucy

In “You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown”


JESSICA REIS  stars as Lucy Van Pelt in  Travis High School's Production of YOU'RE A GOOD MAN CHARLIE BROWN, February 2007.




Theresa:  To be cast as Lucy in a Charlie Brown play must be really exciting for you.

Jessica:  Yeah, it really is.  It’s quite an experience.

Theresa:  You have the biggest, most beautiful eyes.  Are they grey or bluish grey?

Jessica:  They’re hazel.

Theresa:  They’re gorgeous and you’re very pretty.  Tell us about that you’re playing. 

Jessica:  I’m playing Lucy Van Pelt and it’s the most interesting character.

Theresa:  I love Lucy.  Everybody knows Lucy.  Do you get to be mean (laughs)?  Do you like being a mean girl?

Jessica:  Oh yes, I get to be mean to some of my best friends.  That’s even more fun.  I get to yell at the top of my lungs. 

Theresa:  Do you do a lot of yelling?

Jessica:  I do a lot of yelling.  I get to make no sense at all like, “Snow comes up from the ground” or “The clouds make the wind blow.”

Theresa:  How long did it take for you to prepare?

Jessica:  I probably worked on this role at least 4 to 5 hours a day.

Theresa:  How did you become a part of the play?

Jessica:  I really love doing musicals and so when these auditions came out I decided that I had to come and I had to be part of it.  I didn’t know if I was technically going to get Lucy or not but everyone around me said, “You’d make the perfect Lucy” or “You’ll be great as Lucy, I can see you as Lucy” or “You’re already Lucy” all these different things. 

Theresa (Laughs) who was telling you this?

Jessica:  Friends, family, people from my church, even some of my teachers.

Theresa:  Tell us about when your singing and acting started…

Jessica:  I wouldn’t say I was acting and singing right away.  I was dancing by age 3 and I took ballet, tap lessons.  When I got to 3rd grade, I started Jazz dancing lessons.  I kept going and in the 4th grade, I joined my elementary school show choir which is combining all 3 elements and that was really fun.  I decided that, “Hey, this is really fun.  I think that I’ll continue this through Middle School.”  And I was in Theatre all through Middle School.

Theresa:  And what Middle School is that?

Jessica:  Garcia Middle School.

Theresa:  So you know Aaron?

Jessica:  I’ve known Aaron since 3rd Grade.  We’ve been friends a long time. 

Theresa:  Do you all live in the same neighborhood?

Jessica:  Yeah.

Theresa:  So, it’s really good that you are playing brother and sister onstage.

Jessica:  It really is.  After Garcia Middle School, my group of friends, me and Aaron, all the other people we decided that over at Austin High School last year, we were really going to be part of the Theatre program.  We all did technical stuff and we all made a musical called “Once upon a Mattress”.  So we did that one last year.  And it was a lot of fun. 

Theresa:  And you sang…

Jessica:  Yup.

Theresa:  And you acted.  Was there dancing?

Jessica:  Lots of dancing.

Theresa:  What have you done since you’ve been here at Travis High School?

Jessica:  The only other play we’ve done here is the Seussification of Romeo and Juliet.  I was the narrator, Narrator II. 


CLASSIC PEANUTS by Charles Schulz from the Houston Chronicle's Sunday Comics dated January 21, 2007.  Tm. Reg. U.S. Pat. Office - All rights reserved.  Copyright 1960 by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.


Theresa:  Who is your most favorite actor?

Jessica:  My most favorite actress is Kristin Chenoweth.  She’s on Broadway.  She was in You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown as Sally.  She also did Glenda in Wicked.

Theresa:  What qualities do you look for in an actor?

Jessica:  How deeply they know the character, how much they make you believe that they really are the character.  Especially if you see them in many roles, you can tell they’re a different person every time and you don’t believe that “Oh, that’s Johnny Depp”.

Theresa:  Do you see a lot of musicals?

Jessica:  I’ve seen many.  I go to New York every single summer.  I have family up there so every single summer, my mom and I take the train into New York for a couple of days.  We’ll go and see all kinds of Broadway shows.  I’ve seen most of them.  I’ve seen the Lion King twice.  I’ve seen Rent, Jersey Boys, Spamalot.

Theresa:  Who influenced you the most?

Jessica:  I’d have to say my older brother Scott Reis.  He was in Theatre when he was in High School and he was extremely into it.  I just wanted to be like him.  And so I joined Theatre and I turned out to be really good in it.  I have 2 older brothers.

Theresa:  Do you plan to do this in College as well?

Jessica:  Yes, I do.  College and possibly make a career out of it.



CHERYL KIMBROUGH is the Theatre Arts Director at Travis High School and the Director of YOU'RE A GOOD MAN CHARLIE BROWN, February 2007.



Interview with Cheryl Emiliani Kimbrough

Theatre Arts Director of Travis High School


Theresa:  Tonight is the opening night or the premiere of “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown”.  Describe to us what today is like for the Theatre Arts Director of Travis High School.

Cheryl Kimbrough:  It’s a long day because we came in early at 6:30 this morning to work up the lighting so I was here an hour before school started.  We were getting lights focused and tying up all the loose ends.  Then, I have classes all day.  I have mostly Theatre Arts I this year.  It’s kind of a survey course where the students learn a little bit of everything.  They learn some theatre history, they learn some technical stuff.  They do a lot of acting activities. 

Immediately after school, around 2:30pm we started preparing for the Charlie Brown play.  We just now did cue to cue.  And so now everyone’s eating and having a little break.  Then after that we’ve got hair and make-up, then warm up and then we’ll be ready to go.

Theresa:  And the play starts at 7:00pm.

Cheryl:  It’ll take them a couple of hours to do hair and make-up.


CLASSIC PEANUTS by Charles Schulz from the Houston Chronicle's Sunday Comics dated January 21, 2007.  Tm. Reg. U.S. Pat. Office - All rights reserved.  Copyright 1960 by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.


Theresa:  Tell us about your role as the director.

Cheryl:  Currently, I’m a one-woman Theatre department so I over-see everything technical and artistic.  And also the business end, we sold tickets at lunch time today so I worked through all 3 of the lunch periods with ticket sales, so pretty much all of it.

Theresa:  How did you come into Theatre?

Cheryl:  I started doing Theatre when I was in High School.  I did a lot of Community Theatre and I did some plays at the local Junior College when I was in High School.  And I fell in love with it.  I’m from the Galveston area I was there on a Theatre scholarship at the Community College.  I knew I wanted to do theatre because I loved it so much. 

I was born in Galveston and grew up in Santa Fe, Texas which is not that far from Galveston.  I went to Alvin Community College and University of Houston at Clear Lake and had scholarships in both places.  Then I went to graduate school.

Theresa:  Why did you choose Theatre?

Theatre just felt like home to me.  I really enjoy High School Theatre when I was in College we hosted some high school theatre contests.  And I remember that I just loved that process.  So from that time on, I wanted to teach theatre.

Theresa:  So what happened after College?

Cheryl:  When I finished college, I taught overseas.  I taught English overseas in Japan, not theatre related at all.  I learned to speak Japanese when I was there and it’s now been 12 years since I’ve been back.  So I’m very rusty on it.

It was an exchange program and I think I was there to teach the Japanese children about my own country but I think I ended up learning so much more than I could’ve brought to them.  I think everybody should have that kind of experience where they really get to see what it’s like.  I got to travel a lot while I was there.  It was great.

Theresa:  How did you come to Houston?

Cheryl:  It’s close to Galveston so it’s close to home.  My first teaching job was Needville, Texas and that was a theatre job.  I directed there for 8 years.

Theresa:  Is anybody in your family in Theatre?

Cheryl:  No, just me (Laughs).  Actually my great grand mother was an opera singer in Italy.

Theresa:  Who are your most favorite directors?

Cheryl:  Honestly, I’ve learned the most from my college directors.  Since I’ve been teaching I’ve learned a lot when I play contests.  You work closely from directors from other schools, when you compete.  Seeing so many plays in one small space, in one small time frame, you really learn a lot.  For the first several years that I directed, I actually carried around a little book of notes of everything I saw whether it’s professional, amateur, college, high school, it didn’t matter.  I took notes on everything and drew from that.

Theresa:  Richard mentioned about the upcoming play contest UIL…

Cheryl:  The University Interscholastic League, it’s the state governing body for all public high school competitions. 

Theresa:  And you’re going to take your Travis High School troupe and compete with other high schools.  How exciting!

Cheryl:  It is exciting.  You put a show together you take it on the road and perform it at another school.

Theresa:  Where do you get your inspiration from?

Cheryl:  As a designer, it’s everywhere.  And then I use it in theatre.

Theresa:  You’re the one that chooses the plays for Travis High School.  What made you choose this particular Charlie Brown play?

Cheryl:  I felt that I had the students who could handle the roles.  It’s difficult from the beginning coming in and this being a brand new school, my not knowing any of the students to have to really choose the season.  But I selected this play once I had met some of the students and had a better idea of the ability level of my talent pool, basically.

Theresa:  What qualities do you look for in actors?

Cheryl:  I think in High School level, I’m kind of old fashioned, I guess.  I believe in the fundamentals of basic blocking mechanics and knowing how to project their voices properly and articulate well so that we do a lot of speech and movement training.  I think that’s the most important thing.  Being able to be seen and heard, then being able to move well before they get to the more advanced acting skills.  And so I believe in really hitting those things hard.  And then we are working on some more advanced acting.  But you’ve got to start with the basics.


CLASSIC PEANUTS by Charles Schulz from the Houston Chronicle's Sunday Comics dated January 21, 2007.  Tm. Reg. U.S. Pat. Office - All rights reserved.  Copyright 1960 by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.