Dear Theatre Friends,
While the stage at Diamond Head Theatre is percolating with performances and audiences are returning at night, our biggest show is by day…outdoors!
Our mauka lanai is looking quite different these days, bereft of our cactus garden (luckily volunteers and friends harvested plants and trees to take a “piece of DHT home” with them). The mauka side now showcases a new cast of characters, costumed in yellow—bulldozers, excavators and a rock crusher, all leveling the earth to make way for a dream come true.
Progress on removing rocks (and rocks and rocks) continues to make way for the foundation expected in the next month or so. We are eager to see our new building rise from the dirt! So begins our journey to build your brand new theatre.
Long before Rick Ching became capital campaign chair to bring Diamond Head Theatre’s bold vision for a new campus a reality, he was a young father of a little wide-eyed girl with a song in her heart.
His daughter Stephanie was 4 years-old when Rick and his wife Marybeth took her to her first show. There she sat, motionless at the edge of her seat, entranced, for the entire performance. From that moment, she had found her calling and launched a love affair with ballet that led to 13 years of performances in the Nutcracker. She also sang and danced her way through many productions including Cinderella and The King & I. She helped others to fall in love with the performing arts as a teaching assistant at Punahou alongside her mentor John Rampage. Rick watched her daughter blossom as an artist and as human being on stage and at home.
Rick’s decision to bring the community together to raise the final $3.5 million, which is what’s needed to complete the new theatre house, is truly a passion project. However, it’s driven by more than an emotional reaction to the joy it has brought to his family.
It’s based on a sound assessment of what he believes is a project whose time has come. Since 2013, he’s been a part of the design and development of the new center and his enthusiasm for what’s to come is contagious. “We’re going to have a great patron space, great behind-the-scenes space for performers and an amazing auditorium for the theatre goers. Everyone is going to win here.”
As a businessman who serves at the President & COO of Servco, he also believes that DHT is a sound investment: “This organization is so well run from every angle.” he says with pride. “It’s got an experienced and skilled board of directors. The staff is incredible and long-standing. It’s a financially responsible organization. This organization is so worthy of every dime that’s given to it.”
The capital campaign committee has launched a website to share news and information about the efforts and to accept donations. Click here to learn more.
Artistic Director John Rampage had just one request of the cast of Mele Kalikimaka, Honolulu!, which was held as the first and only stage performance of 2020 due to the pandemic. He asked the performers to share a favorite holiday memory during the show “to leave a little bit of themselves for the audience.”
Some of the cast reflected upon their childhood or life milestones. For Will Thomson, some of his most resounding moments of Christmas past and present were those spent on stage at DHT.
He made his debut on the jukebox musical Mama Mia, one of Broadway’s longest running shows. The DHT performance was directed by Kimee Balmilero where Will took the stage as “The Old Greek Guy.” That first experience was transformative for the career saxophonist who discovered a new creative expression with his voice and body as an instrument. He’s been hooked on theatre ever since.
Through a stroke of luck, he was thrust into the spotlight and asked to take the starring role in Holiday Inn when the show’s lead couldn’t accommodate the final performance. That was one of his greatest holiday moments of all time.
What he believes is theatre’s greatest gift of all is the sense of belonging that it offers. “The cast and crew being together and creating something that’s bigger than anything that any one person can do alone is magnificent,” he says. “Performing gives me an outlet to step outside of myself and appreciate the stage for all it has to give.”
We couldn’t agree with him more.
With its irresistible blend of hip-swiveling hits, eye-popping fashions and outrageous dance moves, SHOUT! The Mod Musical takes audiences back to the music, style and freedom of the 1960s. Created by Phillip George and David Lowenstein, SHOUT! features terrific new arrangements of such classic tunes as "To Sir with Love," "Downtown," "Son of a Preacher Man" and "Goldfinger."
The revue follows five groovy gals as they come of age during those glorious days that made England swing. Traveling in time from 1960 to 1970, SHOUT! chronicles the dawning liberation of women, from the rise of Dusty Springfield, Petula Clark and Cilla Black as independent women with major careers, to their American counterparts, redefining themselves in the face of changing attitudes about gender. With a shimmy and shake, the songs are tied together by hilarious sound bites from the period – from '60s advertisements to letters answered by an advice columnist who thinks that every problem can be solved with a "fetching new hairstyle and a new shade of lipstick."
CLICK HERE to buy tickets.