Composer Larry Grossman has fond memories of the 1975 opening of his musical “SNOOPY!!!” at San Francisco’s Little Fox Theatre.
“It was well-received and a wonderful experience theatrically,” says Grossman, also recalling the unique setting, packed with furnishings from the big Fox Theatre, the former Market Street movie palace. The lobby, decked with crystal sconces and red-flock wallpaper, “looked like Ernie’s,” Grossman says. “It was like being transported to another time.”
“SNOOPY!!!” celebrates another important moment in time this weekend with 42nd Street Moon’s presentation at Eureka Theatre. It’s the first fully realized professional production of the show — a sequel to 1967’s “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown” — since that opening nearly 40 years ago.
Written by Grossman (music); Hal Hackady (lyrics); Warren Lockhart, Arthur Whitelaw and Michael Grace (book), “SNOOPY!!!” follows further adventures of Charles Schulz’s famed cartoon characters, with an emphasis on the dog that was “emerging as the star of the whole ‘Peanuts’ world,” says Grossman, who had finished “Minnie’s Boys” and “Goodtime Charley” when he was approached to do the project.
With Schulz’s great material, it wasn’t difficult, although the first two songs he wrote on spec weren’t used because they were for characters Frieda and Schroeder, who didn’t end up in the show.
Grossman’s favorite song from the score is “Poor Sweet Baby,” sung by Peppermint Patty, which was written after he found out Schulz’s wife used to pat him on the back and say “poor sweet baby” when he was depressed.
“Just One Person,” another “SNOOPY!!!” tune, took on added life as an anthem for “The Muppet Show,” which Grossman worked on. It also was Jim Henson’s favorite song, and poignant versions of it were sung at huge memorial services for him in New York and London.
Grossman, a Southern California resident preparing for his show “A Christmas Memory” to open at the Laguna Playhouse, plans to be in The City for a Sunday performance of “SNOOPY!!!” to answer questions.
He’s not entirely surprised that two of his most rewarding professional experiences — TheatreWorks’ 2010 premiere of “A Christmas Memory” (based on a Truman Capote story) in Palo Alto, and now “SNOOPY!!!” — have local connections.
“The talent pool in the Bay Area is amazing — just great!” he says.
If you go
Presented by 42nd Street Moon
Where: Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson St., S.F.
When: 7 p.m. most Wednesdays-Thursdays (no show Thanksgiving Day), 8 p.m. Fridays, 6 p.m. Saturdays, 3 p.m. Sundays; closes Dec. 15
Tickets: $25 to $75
Contract: (415) 255-8207, 42ndStMoon.org