More than a dozen years ago, Cody Eoff was a roller-skating “Snoopy” in Early High School’s production of “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.”
“People remember that for some reason,” Eoff said.
That’s a sort of benefit of coming home, or a hazard — that folks back home will remember the days back when he was a kid on stage. But it’s a chance Eoff is willing to take.
Eoff, for the third year in a row, is directing the Lyric Performing Arts Company Children’s Theatre, which, this year, is “The Stinky Cheese Man,” and will open with several daytime performances Friday and continue through the weekend at the Howard Payne University Theatre.
“It’s a good opportunity to come back,” Eoff said. “Everything I’ve learned, it’s really an opportunity to give back. I appreciate having that opportunity.”
Now, Eoff teaches drama and theater at John Jay High School in the Northside Independent School District in San Antonio. He is a 1994 graduate of Early High School and a ’98 graduate of Howard Payne.
Besides his high school stage credit as being the roller skating Snoopy, Eoff had roles in “Once Upon a Mattress” and “The Rainmaker” at HPU.
“But it seems like more people remember the Snoopy on roller skates,” Eoff said.
Eoff is the son of Alvis Eoff of Early and Cheryl Buse of Brownwood.
“So, in addition to coming back to work, I get to come home and see my family, and that’s really nice to be able to do, too,” Eoff said.
“The Stinky Cheese Man” play is based on the popular children’s book, “The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales” by Jon Scieszka. Eoff said the plot, like a number of currently popular children’s stories, uses well-known fairy tale characters like the Frog Prince, Cinderella and Rumplestiltskin in different or alternate plots than the ones they’re best known for. In fact, the Stinky Cheese Man is a character modeled after the Gingerbread Man.
Those character adaptations make the play one adults and children can understand on different levels and enjoy, whatever their age.
“I like directing children’s theater and I truly enjoy this,” Eoff said. “It’s an opportunity to work with local professionals like Larry Mathis, who is the technical director for the play, and, with Dr. (Nancy Jo) Humfeld.
“Of course I was Dr. Humfeld’s student at Howard Payne, but now she and I have worked together. We both had parts in the Granbury Opera House production of ‘Oklahoma!’”
“Cody has distinguished himself in the world of high school theater by taking his students to all levels of competition in the University Interscholastic League,” Humfeld said. “I am so very proud of Cody.”
Eoff said besides teaching and directing the children’s play each summer for the Lyric Theatre Performing Arts Company, he is involved in a number of theater venues.
For one, his weekends are dedicated to performing in the San Antonio Dave & Buster’s Murder Mystery Inc.
“The part I’m playing now I don’t get killed or kill anybody,” he said.
He also doesn’t perform the part on roller skates.