In The News 2018-04-05T23:49:56+00:00

In The News, Around The Town

Eastside Theater Company presents classic musical ‘Annie’

Lisa K. Anderson, ” Sunny musical set in 1933 opens on Friday at Eastside Theater Company in Troutdale ” Gresham Outlook, Pamplin Media Group, Web

Playing the title character of “Annie” has been a longtime dream for both fifth-grader Ania Vilius and fourth-grader Ellen Horton at Corbett Grade School.

The two share the lead role of Annie in Eastside Theater Company’s production of the beloved musical opening Friday, March 2, at The Chapel in Troutdale. Both say they hope audiences take away Annie’s positivity and hopefulness.

“Annie is always trying to make the best out of things,” notes Vilius. Horton adds “This is really a meaningful show.”

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Eastside Theater Company's production of 'Honk!'

COURTESY PHOTO: KAREN HAWLEY – Ania Vilius, left, and Ellen Horton portray the title character in Eastside Theater Companys upcoming production of Annie.

Eastside Theatre Company to perform ‘Peter Pan’ at The Chapel in Troutdale in early December

Queen and Prince
Queen and Prince

Corey Buchanan, ” Off To Neverland ” Gresham Outlook, Pamplin Media Group, Web 28 November, 2017

The Eastside Theatre Company’s production of “Peter Pan” is a unique blend of versions of the iconic story told over the past century.

Script writer and assistant director Josh Johnson used the book “Peter and Wendy” as his narrative guide, incorporated elements from the movies “Peter Pan” and “Captain Hook” and mixed in modern language so the show is palatable for 21st century listeners.

But capturing the book’s essence was his primary objective.

“There was a lot of different changes that were in the movie, and not a lot of people know the true essence of the story of Peter Pan,” Johnson said. “That’s a big reason why I wrote it, trying to stay as true to the original story as possible.”

The Eastside Theatre Company will perform “Peter Pan” eight times from Dec. 1-Dec. 10 at The Chapel, 27132 S.E. Stark St., Troudale.

Though versions differ, “Peter Pan” is a coming of age story about a boy who flies to Neverland to embark on various adventures including a climactic battle with Captain Hook. During the script writing process, Johnson found that people probably wouldn’t understand a lot of the early 20th century dialogue in “Peter and Wendy.”

“A lot of the language from 100 years ago is completely different than how we talk now, ” Johnson said. “We changed the dialogue so people today could understand it.”

Johnson also drew inspiration from the movie “Hook,” which dives into the origins of Captain Hook’s rift with Peter Pan as well as elements from the “Peter Pan” movie.

“Mixing those films together and putting it on a stage, I don’t think someone has done that before,” Johnson said.

Katrina Nix, who plays Wendy, drew more inspiration from reading the book than seeing the movie.

“In a film you’re just watching them and only getting emotions by what you see. When you read the book the author often takes you into their mind and thoughts,” Nix said.

Sequoia Boom enjoyed watching the movie “Peter Pan” growing up and connected with the adventurous spirit of the film. So Boom tried out for the role of Peter Pan and earned the part.

“When the auditions first came out I thought to myself, ‘This is a cool opportunity. I’m going to shoot for Peter.’ He’s always been my favorite character in Peter Pan,” Boom said.

Boom says the swordfighting battle between Captain Hook and Peter Pan is one of her favorite scenes.

And Johnson, who once underwent combat training, enjoyed teaching the actors how to grip the sword properly and use proper footwork.

‘It’s a bit of a challenge teaching students how to properly handle a sword in a safe way but also that looks exciting to the audience,” Johnson said.

The crew utilizes visual projection and special effects to simulate the journey from the real world to Neverland and made puppets for the crocodile and the dog Nana. The crew includes 30 actors while about 45 volunteers helped out with the production process.

“We’re going miles beyond what we normally do on the technical side,” Johnson said.

Boom encourages local theater enthusiasts and Peter Pan fans to come out to see the production.

“There’s good humor, a lot of fun friendships you can see on stage, a lot of cool fighting, cool effects, and it’s just a fun play to see,” she said. “It can get emotional and it has a little bit of everything. It should be fun for all ages.”

Articles below were written prior to July 2017

when Corbett Children’s Theater was renamed Eastside Theater Company.

Learn more about our history here.

Musical ‘Honks’ its horn for diversity

Corey Buchanan, ” Eastside Theatre Company performs ‘Honk! A Musical Tale of ‘The Ugly Duckling’ ” Gresham Outlook, Pamplin Media Group, Web October 03, 2017

Through songs, jokes and storytelling, “Honk! A Musical Tale of ‘The Ugly Duckling'” describes the value of authenticity, uniqueness and diversity.And the Eastside Theatre Company’s rendition of the play will be performed Oct. 5-7 and Oct. 12-14 at The Chapel, 27132 S.E. Stark St., Troutdale.

The production not only expresses these themes verbally but also exemplifies them through its cast.  Two of the main characters, Ugly and the Cat, are typically played by men, but in Eastside Theatre Company’s production female actors Abby Cohen and Jessie Turner earned these parts.

“I’m hoping that people will leave with a newfound sense of appreciation for their identity and what each individual has to offer and…[Continue Reading]

Eastside Theater Company's production of 'Honk!'

COURTESY PHOTO: KAREN HAWLEY – Abby Cohen, left, plays Ugly and Brook Mackaness plays the Bullfrog in ” Honk! A Musical Tale Of ‘The Ugly Duckling’ “

Newly renamed, Eastside Theater Company continues to impress

Formerly the Corbett Children’s Theater, the newly re-named Eastside Theater Company is now based in downtown Gresham.

The former Corbett Children’s Theater has a new name, but the performance remains the same.  Announced Monday, July 17, the newly dubbed Eastside Theater Company made its first appearance under the new name at the City of Gresham’s series of Monday concerts at the Arts Plaza downtown.  There, the troupe of young actors covered a series of scenes from The Wizard of Oz and other plays.  The company outgrew its former Corbett digs and now is based in Gresham, where it plans to begin its 2017-18 season on October 5 with “HONK!,” based on the story of the Ugly Duckling.  That production runs through October 15.  In the meantime, check out the photo gallery here with scenes from Monday’s performance, or visit


Eastside Theater Company’s Jess Turner plays Dorthy here in this rendition of ‘The Wizard of Oz’, performed July 17 in Gresham’s Arts Plaza.

Outlook Photo: Josh Kulla – Eastside Theater Company’s Jess Turner plays Dorthy here in this rendition of ‘The Wizard of Oz’

Corbett Children’s Theater performs two versions of the classic, ‘Princess and the Pea’

Queen Aggravain (right), played by Jessie Turner, embraces her son Prince Dauntless, played by Ethan Golden, in Corbett Children's Theater's production of 'Once upon a Mattress.'

Rob Cullivan, ” Two adaptations, lots of mattresses ” Gresham Outlook, Pamplin Media Group, Web 18 April 2017

When the Corbett Children’s Theater studies something, it really studies it. The company has decided to take on not one, but two renditions of the classic tale “The Princess and the Pea” for its spring performance season..

Both shows are absurdist, comedic riffs on Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale. “Once Upon a Mattress,” to be performed by the older actors, is a musical, while “The Princess and the Pea” theater adaptation is a straight play and will be performed by the company’s “Rising Stars.”

The premise behind both productions remains largely the same: a prince, shepherded by his pushy, devious matriarch (a grandmother in the play, mother in the musical), goes on a journey to find his true love. But, in order to marry the woman he chooses…”

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Dickens’ classic ‘Carol’ wraps up run

Tiny Tim and Scrooge

Contributed Photo: Karen Hawley – Alex Hugo, left, plays Tiny Tim and Brook Mackaness plays Ebenezer Scrooge in Corbett Children’s Theater production of ‘A Christmas Carol.’


Rob Cullivan, “Ghosts of Christmas haunt Corbett Children’s Theater stage this weekend” Gresham Outlook, Pamplin Media Group, Web 06 December 2016

Sometimes it takes a nice guy to act mean.

Just ask Brook Mackaness a junior at Corbett High School. Mackaness plays Ebenezer Scrooge in the stage adaptation of Charles Dickens’ famed 1843 novella “A Christmas Carol,” which Corbett Children’s Theater presents this month.

In real life, Mackaness, 16, tries to be as nice as possible to people, but having played “mean” roles before with CCT, he’s come to realize he’s really good at acting really bad.

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