Paliku Academy Taking Talent To New York, Orlando Venues

Kaneohe-based Paliku Academy of Performing Arts

The Kaneohe-based Paliku Academy of Performing Arts is preparing for an East Coast tour in July that includes (front, from left) Madison Moriwake, Tani Buckley, Kiera LaFrance, Chauna-Marie Makainai, Brianna Ramos, Kyra Jackson, (middle) Elizabeth Mueller, Travis Gerber, Mason Yoshida, Rachel Morgan, Kaena Kekoa, Jeremy Ah Chong, Kara Yoshinaga, Tyler Yoshinaga, Preston Teves, Kuā€˜ulei Kekoa, (back) Erin Carson, Aaron Cameros, Kacey Yokotake, Reece Goo, Jenna Gerber, Logan Gerber, Ashley Hill and Brandon Gerber. Not pictured: Trystin Ramos and Rebekah Johnson. Photo from John-Paul Tai.

The 52 members of Paliku Academy of Performing Arts (PAPA) will bring their very best to the table as they begin an East Coast performance tour with shows in New York and Disney World July 8-21.

Each show has a unique focus, and the public can get a taste of it in a preview show at 7 p.m. July 3 at Aloha Tower.

Auditions for the Kane-ohe-based touring company were held in January of 2011, and since then the group has been meeting, fundraising and rehearsing.

“I’m impressed,” said PAPA director John-Paul Tai, who grew up in the Castle and Paliku Theatre drama programs. “There have been many challenges that we as a group have faced getting to this trip. The students and families involved now have definitely persevered to make it a memorable experience.

“If our experience now is memorable, then our trip is going to be even more so!”

Across from where the World Trade Center towers once stood is Firehouse 10, and the troupe has prepared omiyage (a token of remembrance) to give to the current firefighters; the youths also will share their gift of music in their first performance by singing I’ll Remember You and God Bless America.

“In New York, it’s a tribute to those who lost their lives in 9/11,” Tai said. “Especially the fire-fighters from Firehouse 10.” The students also will visit the 9/11 memorial to place lei on the engraved names.

During their weeklong NYC stay, they will see three Broadway shows (including a backstage tour of Wicked) and participate in two Broadway workshops. The Wicked touring company also will be on Oahu in December.

At Orlando’s Disney World, PAPA has two shows, one with hapahaole hula numbers, the second showcasing contemporary styles. Students also will be in front-row seats for other park shows and enjoy private thrill rides and dining experiences.

PAPA’s mission is to ensure a safe and productive environment where youth (grades 8-12) can find and cultivate their love of performing arts and learn respect for themselves and others. For more information, visit papa-hawaii.org.