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Hilo: Da Musical premieres in April

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Date: Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 932-7669

For Immediate Release

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Performing Arts Department announces the premiere of Hilo: Da Musical, on April 16, 17, and 18 at 7:30 p.m., and April 19 at 2 p.m. at the UH Hilo Performing Arts Center.

The musical is written by UH Hilo Drama Professor Jackie Pualani Johnson as an homage to her hometown where “ice shave, hula, orchids, musubi, astronomical adventures, the loco moco, and rain….. reign!” Johnson explained.

The show brings over 30 performers from every facet of Hilo’s theater scene to the stage. Giving directions, ordering food, going to the Farmer’s Market all take on their own flair in an outa dis world musical tribute that helps define what it means to be “local.”

The story centers around Hoku, his sister Leinani, and their best friend “Choke,” college students who go on a search through Hilo’s famous landmarks and activities, exposing life in Hilo, bit by bit. Several characters speak Pidgin English, others speak Hawaiian, and everyone sings about local food and Hilo’s quirks. An ensemble of singers acts like a local-style Greek chorus, commenting on what they see in Hilo and singing about malasadas and local antics. The show travels to Downtown Hilo, across Hilo Bay, and ends with Keaukaha’s familiar beach cruise.

Johnson directs the show, with music direction from Erin McClure, who will complete requirements for her Senior Project through her work on the show. UH Hilo resident designer, Ariana Bassett, creates the scenery. Kimo Apaka, a graduate of the UH Hilo Performing Arts Department, joins Darrel Gabonia, a videographer, in adding iconic images that will appear on stage. Performing Arts major Eli Livingston is the sound designer, with Rob Abe as advisor. Stage manager Chanell Crawford and Corey Edwards, her assistant, round out the artistic staff, with manager Lee Dombroski as producer, assisted by Dori Yamada.

Tickets are open seating and priced at $15 General, $10 Discount and $5 UH Hilo/HawCC students (with a valid student ID) and children, up to age 17, pre-sale, and $20 General, $10 Discount and $10 UH Hilo/HawCC students (with a valid student ID) and children, up to age 17, day of show.

Tickets are available by calling the UH Hilo Box Office at 932-7490 or by ordering online at

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