Vibrant Kaimuki Play A Girl’s Journey In South

Kaimuki High School Performing Arts Center will premiere the acclaimed off-Broadway musical Violet this month in the school auditorium.

Enjoying the Lunalilo Home luau Jan. 26 are (from right side, front) Lynnell Ka‘opua Akamu, E. Kanani Mariano, Emmett Kelly, Colleen Kelly, Maylyn Magno-Gomes, Makanalalani Gomes and (left side) Leimomi Kelly. The benefit feast also celebrated the birthday of King Lunalilo at the Hawaii Kai care home, catered by Haili’s Hawaiian Foods. Holunape entertained the crowd. Tony Grillo photo.

With a cast of students from several Oahu schools, director Jenn Thomas guides the story of a disfigured young woman and her journey by bus across the Deep South to see a TV faith healer, whom she’s convinced will restore her beauty. Along the way, she meets a young black soldier who teaches her about beauty, love, courage and what it means to be an outsider.

In the 1990s, Violet was honored for its vibrant, toe-tapping Gospel music and blues by Jeanine Tesori, which is directed here by Nanilisa Pascua, with choreography by Deanna Luster and set design by M.J. Matsushita. It won the 1997 New York drama critics Circle Award for Best Musical, the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical and the Obie Award/Special Citation for Tesori’s score. It’s based on the Doris Betts book, The Ugliest Pilgrim.

The curtain goes up at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 22, 23, March 1, 2, 8 and 9, and at 3 p.m. Feb. 24 and March 3 and 10. Tickets are available at the door, at Harry’s Music Store and online at honouluboxoffice.com. Tickets cost $12 and $6.

For more information, call 733-4913.

The performing arts center offers classes in acting, music, dance and technical theater at no cost to public school students.

More than 160 students present three major productions each year at the school.