Nelson Bettancourt (right) with Peter Fernandes in A Charlie Brown Double Bil (MTYP, 2017)


Kris Cahatol’s onstage professional debut has been three years coming.

The young Filipino actor was to have made his professional debut in A Winter’s Tale for Shakespeare in the Ruins. But the show moved to digital because of the pandemic, and never made it to the stage. Cahatol was also working with Meraki Theatre on the Canadian premiere of Good Kids when the pandemic hit and the show stopped.

Fast forward to this theatre season. Cahatol initially decided not to audition for MTYP’s production of A Charlie Brown Double Bill, because he had a heavy course load at university this semester.

But an email from MTYP’s Associate Artistic Director Sarah Flynn convinced the 21-year old performer to try for the role.

“As a trans performer, it’s sometimes tricky to figure out what role to go for, especially in musicals when one might feel restricted by the vocal range. I thought I’d go for Sally or Snoopy. But it was nice that they wanted me to go for Linus,” says the soft-spoken actor. In the end, Cahatol won the coveted role of Charlie Brown’s thumb-sucking, blanket toting best friend, Linus.

“The thing that I like about Linus is that people underestimate him,” says Cahatol. “They think he is a baby. But Linus is very intelligent. He’s got hidden talents. He’s really smart and empathetic and mature for his age.”

Kris can’t wait to put on a red striped shirt, black shorts, red socks, and dark brown tennis shoes and transform into Linus. “In a way, I see Linus as Charlie Brown’s conscience,” he says. “When Charlie Brown starts to spiral, Linus reels him in.”

Lee Mendelson, producer of the majority of the “Peanuts” television specials, once said that Linus was his favorite character: “He made sucking your thumb and holding a security blanket OK. I think he’s one of the most original fictional characters of all time-blending childish behavior with great wisdom.”

Flower photo

When not in class or onstage, Cahatol teaches voice lessons to young people, and believes that people often underestimate children. “I work with kids a lot,” says the young performer, “They are smarter than we give them credit for. They are listening and getting more than we think.”

The Winnipeg-based actor grew up in the North End near the Maples, in Tyndall Park, and went to Sisler High School, taking the French immersion program.

“In my grade 12 year, I wrote a musical in French. I directed it and composed the music for it,” says Kris. “I’m interested in doing a lot of things, but my main love is performing.”

The actor is currently in their fourth year at the University of Manitoba, majoring in classical vocal performance. He knows it will be tough to keep up with his studies while performing so much during the month of December.

“I’ll be multi tasking. I talked to my professors and we were able to work out school at the same time.” But, in the end, “It will be worth it.”

A Charlie Brown Double Bill runs on MTYP’s Mainstage from December 2 to 23. Tickets start at $22 and are available here.