Kick Off Those Sunday Shoes

Here’s a bit of trivia: Footloose has Hawaii roots. It was our own Dean Pitchford, a Saint Louis School alum, who wrote the script and lyrics. In a poetic full circle, the upbeat, get-your-feet-bouncing musical will grace Saint Louis’ Mamiya Theatre July 25-27. Ohana Arts’s production is showcasing 64 youths ages 8 to 18, but they’re doing something a tad unusual by featuring a double cast. The same students are in both casts, but one features high school students in lead roles and the other features younger students.


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Leion Van Osdol and Christian Jay Quinto as the younger and older leads in ‘Footloose.’ Photo by Nathalie Walker

“People would expect the high school cast to be better,” notes associate artistic director and vocal coach Laurie Rubin, “but the young cast is just as good. The kids – a lot of them could be on the Disney Channel. We’re lucky they haven’t discovered this about themselves yet!”

Christian Jay Quinto, delightful in Ohana Arts’ production of Oliver last year as villain Bill Sikes, takes center stage as Ren, the dance-loving kid from out of town. He delivers those catchy notes: “I’ve been working so hard, I’m punching my card …” and all the legs on stage whip into a dancing frenzy. A few minutes later, a miniature version of the same scene plays out with youngster Leion Van Osdol (clever pickpocket The Artful Dodger in last year’s Oliver) in the lead.

Meanwhile, Rubin offers a running behind-the-scenes commentary on the production: The live orchestra is put on by students from Ohana Arts’ summer song and music writing program. … This is one of the first, if not the first production for Aidan Clinton as the young cast’s reverend who detests the evils of rock ‘n’ roll. “He’s really amazing, we couldn’t believe his voice.” … The older cast’s Ariel, Mika Nakamoto, as the older reverend’s daughter, “stumbled on her talent. She’s a triple threat (sings, dances and acts) and she never had any training. She’s an incredible dancer. Our teachers were shocked that she didn’t have training, because she does everything properly.” … “Our choreographer Liz Piccoli has danced at the Metropolitan Opera and she just choreographed a Broadway show.” … “Our acting teacher this year, Jill Bolstridge, has been in youth theater for 12 years. She has worked with kids on Sesame Street. She runs two theater programs in New York. She’s fantastic.” … “A lot of our faculty comes from New York.”

Some of the high school students are fellows, receiving free tuition while they intern with the program, learning about public relations, marketing and a general behind-the-scenes intro to theater. While the cast hails from across the island, the largest contingent of students, and of particularly noteworthy talent, come from Farrington High. Others are from Kaimuki, Kalani and McKinley high schools, as well as Pacific Buddhist Academy and Mid-Pac.

“After they do our Ohana Arts program, they get the confidence to do shows with other theaters like Diamond Head Theatre,” says Rubin. “Some of the students have been onstage a lot and some have never been onstage, but it’s incredible the amount of talent they discover while in this program.”

What they present onstage is polished and attractive,and the voices are impressive, with Mika Nakamoto as a standout. The tunes are catchy, so be forewarned that the show will leave you humming Holding Out for a Hero for days.

the TICKET stub

When: July 25-27, with the younger cast Thursday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m., and the older cast Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Mamiya Theatre (3142 Waialae Ave.)
Cost: $15 general, $10 students, $5 keiki 7 and under
More Info:,

Sacred Spark

Live painting, a fashion show, music, food, shopping. It’s all happening July 26 from 6 to 10 p.m. at New Hope Leeward’s (94-050 Farrington Hwy.) youth-driven Spark-A-Fire: Start a Revolution art event.

“Our fashion show will consist of a compilation of outfits created by locally owned Christian-based clothing lines, including The Honest to God Truth, Know God Know Love and Glorified Apparel,” says New Hope Leeward graphic designer Krystle Ganotisi. “We will have live painting by Shaun Castro and (Mid-Week‘s own award winning artist) Kamele Eskaran, and an art showcase by artist and graphic designer Joel Gaspar.”

When completed, the projects will become featured silent auction items. Activities are directed toward youths from middle school students to young adults, and entry is free (

“Though we host a multitude of events,” says Ganotisi, “we have not done this kind of event before, so it’s pretty exciting. In our events calendar we try to host many types of events for the community and our congregation to enjoy during the summer months.”