2023 ‘Ilima Awards

If you follow the entertainment news you’ve no doubt heard or read about the limited opportunities for female creatives in film, television and even Broadway productions. Well that’s definitely not the case at Diamond Head Theatre. For our upcoming production of Kiss Me, Kate, 12 of the 14 artisans are talented, accomplished, creative women. Some of them will be familiar to you, and some you will never meet or see, but all are at the top of their fields and deserve to be recognized.

Malindi Fickle, Director- A writer, director of both film and stage, consummate professional. Wife, mother, former DHT board member, and a strong supporter of all the arts. Malindi’s last directorial credit at DHT was Beehive, the 60’s Musical, a musical revue to which she added depth, character, and even a political statement. I also like to call her the Queen of the text message.

Lindsay Rabe , Musical Director – Amazing singer, performer, teacher, vocal coach, comedian and occasional dancer. Overflowing with energy, Lindsay was the first Musical Director/Conductor in the pit of the new Diamond Head Theatre, when no one knew how anything worked or how to connect to one another. Yet, she still managed to create beautiful music, both in the pit and onstage.

Christine Yasunaga, Choreographer– Broadway performer, Pilates instructor, fierce choreographer, television producer, teacher, wife and mother. She also played my son in The Nutcracker many years ago. Chris’s choreography for her last DHT show, The Bodyguard, was praised by critics and audiences alike for its creativity energy and passion.

Lisa Konove, Stage Manager – Onstage, an audience favorite in every role she plays. When not on the DHT stage she’s been a stage manager, deck crew, dresser, spotlight operator, as well as being a wedding singer, teaching lei making and mother of three incredibly talented, confident daughters. In her spare time she travels the world, seeking new adventures.

Kimmerie Jones, Costume Designer – Theatre and opera design are in her DNA. Creative, adaptable, colorful, and a treasure trove of theatre knowledge. Also a full time wife and mother, even though her son is away at college.. If you saw our recent production of My Fair Lady you know what’s she capable of creating. If you attend a dress rehearsal she’s the one with amazing bright blue hair (at least this week it’s blue) taking copious notes.

Dawn Oshima, Set Designer – Dawn has been working at DHT even longer than I have. Starting as the Master Electrician and Lighting Designer for countless productions, she moved up to Technical Director just before we were hit by the Covid Pandemic. During that difficult period when we started to resume productions she created sets out of literally nothing, with a budget that was sometimes less than $100. She literally almost lives at DHT, running the light board for every performance, overseeing the construction of every set design, and finding the very best deals on stage furniture at Amazon, Wayfair and countless other websites.

Kerri Yoneda, Sound Designer – In addition to a full time job, Kerri has designed sound for45 shows, and Kiss Me, Kate makes # 46. Luckily Kerri is not adverse to climbing ladders, and jogging between the sound booth and backstage several times a night, frequently in mid-performance. And lately Kerri has taken a step in a new direction, auditioning to be onstage at DHT.

Aiko Schick, Hair & Make -Up Designer – Aiko is basically loved by everyone in the Honolulu theatre community. She does it all, wigs, make up, sings, dances, charms audiences and keeps everyone in the cast laughing. And when she’s not in the show she’s the best audience member, laughing, applauding and cheering everyone on their opening night. In addition to being a former Shooting Star, her performance as Charity in Sweet Charity, while still a student at Castle High School, is still remembered by everyone who witnessed it.

Stacey Pulmano, Assistant to the Director – A former Shooting Star, former gymnast, former competitive swimmer, leading lady in DHT’s Hairspray, audience favorite in All Shook UpNice Work If You Can Get It42nd Street and Stepsister Portia in 3 productions of Cinderella. Loves to write letters in long hand (great penmanship) and spends her free time driving state to state visiting National Parks, attending concerts of her favorite entertainers, and sending out incredibly witty postcards from all her stops along the way.

Victoria Chang, Dance Captain – Another former Shooting Star, Victoria has been the dance captain for several choreographers, because of her great attention to detail, and her ability to tap (Anything Goes), twirl (White Christmas) and jump rope for extended periods of time (Holiday Inn). Basically, an iron fist in a velvet glove. She also does double duty in Kiss Me, Kate as the rehearsal fight captain.

Kathryn Lee, Fight Choreographer – Kat Lee literally grew up on the DHT stage. Shooting Star, dancer, singer, leading lady (Crazy For You), danced with Chinese fans in Flower Drum Song, and danced with feather fans twice, as Judy Haynes in both DHT productions of White Christmas. And, I’m campaigning for her to audition for next season’s production.

Frances Hisashima, Props Mistress – Frances is a backstage legend, having been in charge of every prop in every show for more productions than I can count. If there’s food or liquid served onstage, Frances prepares the food, washes and dries the dishes, glasses, and utensils before and after every performance. Since her retirement she loves to travel the world, especially with her daughter Elizabeth, but always plans her itinerary so she’ll be available for the next DHT productions. In addition to her backstage work Frances is also a regular Corporate Sponsor, though she doesn’t usually get to be recognized on opening night like the other sponsors because she’s backstage washing dishes for that night’s performance.

We are also fortunate to have 2 very talented gentlemen on our design team, who also deserve recognition for their creativity and dedication to DHT.

Stephen Clear, Lighting Design – After years of theatrical design in Honolulu Stephen retired to Denver, Colorado but continues to return to DHT once a year to design a production. Is it a coincidence that he always chooses to design lighting for a show in the winter slot? A voracious reader he always has a book with him for the down time during rehearsals. In addition to regular trips to New York, he sees almost every touring show that plays Denver, and we have a great time comparing notes on what we liked, didn’t like, and which ones would be good for DHT. It is always an honor to work with Stephen Clear.

Travis O. Asaeli, Props Designer – Travis’s work for DHT started onstage as Tony Scibelli in The Bodyguard, and was then recommended by DHT regular La Tanya as a props designer for The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940. This is his second time designing props for us, and as I’ve since learned his efficiency is due to his mentor, La Tanya, giving him grief if everything is not up to her standards.

Enjoy the show!


John Rampage