Leading man also skilled cartoonist
Dan Pegoda whips out a quick sketch of the character that inspired his career as a cartoonist and graphic designer. Photo by Bub Bishop.
Television icon Huckleberry Hound is the inspiration for everything Radio Redux actor Dan Pegoda—star of our upcoming “The Thin Man” production—does on stage and off.
Pegoda’s cartooning and graphic design career began at age four while watching the Hanna-Barbera character Huckleberry Hound on TV. To this day, Pegoda can sketch the affable canine in a matter of seconds.
“That’s how I started. I loved watching cartoons. I still do,” says Pegoda, who can be found working every morning at his office-away-from-home, Full City Coffee Roasters at 13th and High Street.
Although drawing and graphic design are Pegoda’s bread and butter, acting is an equal passion. He does both for Radio Redux: playing both lead and secondary characters on stage and designing each show’s posters and print advertisements.
“I love both acting and drawing,” he says, “but I think I have more fun with theater because you’re dealing with fun people. The best friends I have are in theater. That’s one of the reasons I like working with Radio Redux. It’s more of a party than a chore.”
Radio Redux posters designed by Dan Pegoda
Pegoda’s acting career took root in high school near his childhood home in the San Jose area. He studied design and theater at San Jose State University and Seattle Pacific University before taking his first job as an art director in San Diego in the late 1970s. The job occasionally brought him to Ashland, and in 1985 a friend introduced him to Eugene, where he says he “fell in love with the place.”
That included falling in love with Eugene’s theater scene. He has since performed with every local theater company except Actors Cabaret of Eugene—and he’s polishing his musical skills with karaoke to prepare for an eventual role in an ACE production.
Meantime, Pegoda is an in-demand designer/cartoonist who regularly contributes to Eugene Weekly and who co-authored the book “101Things to Do During a Dull Sermon.”
But to Pegoda, there is nothing like the pleasure and perils of the stage.
A pleasure: Taking the role of Sherlock Holmes, who he hopes he’ll get to play in Radio Redux’s May 2016 “Radio Daze.”
A peril: “It’s a daunting thing to approach a role if you’ve never done it. You spend weeks going over and over it until it just sticks,” he says.
Although Radio Redux actors read from scripts on stage, the work that goes into the production is substantial, Pegoda says.
“It takes a good deal of work to be relaxed with it. There are so many elements—the music, the sound effects. Now that I’ve done a few, I’m hooked. I love it,” Pegoda says. “The audience has no idea the hours Fred puts into writing scripts and getting everybody together,” including the hours Crafts spends choreographing microphone and actor placements.
And with each performance comes that precious audience connection, Pegoda adds.
“We’re having so much fun up there together, making each other laugh. Little stuff. One of the reasons the shows succeed is the audience can see we love each other and are having fun,” Pagoda says. “It translates for them.”
As a familiar face to local audiences, Pegoda is happy to share tidbits from behind the scenes, like the fact that the Hult Center staff provides the best snacks for actors.
Radio Redux is about to open its second season in the Soreng Theater at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts, with “The Thin Man.”
Pegoda will nibble on those tasty Hult Center snacks before he takes the Soreng stage as half of the fun-loving detective team of Nick and Nora Charles in the classic 1930s whodunit hit.
If there is one thing Pegoda doesn’t like about a role in Radio Redux, it is that he is compelled to get a haircut to help evoke the golden days of radio.
“I like long hair,” he says.
— Story by Bub Bishop. Bub retired as a former reporter for The Register-Guard.