Sean-Joseph Takeo Kahāokalani Choo (Lead Lōlō/Jester, Director) is a multi-ethnic multi-hyphenate artist, born and raised in Hawai‘i. He has ancestors from both O‘ahu and Hawai‘i island, and is happy to be returning to this festival as a director, the first time he is helming a full-length production! Each role he has played in the festival, whether as composer, actor, or assistant director, has been satisfying and educational, and hopes others can have the same experience with Shakespeare and classic dramatic works.
For HSF, Sean has played the stupid Roderigo in R Kevin Garcia Doyle’s electric production of Othello, the fool, Feste, in Jason Kanda’s queer-ed up Twelth Night, the pathetic Semyon Semyonovich Medvedenko in Tony Pisculli&rsqo;s period staging of Chekov’s The Seagull, and Caliban in Jordan Cho’s twist on The Tempest, a role he will always treasure in his heart.
Sean is the Lead Steward, Head Jester, and Primary Arts Advocate of Kamamo House, an artist and new works cultivation group, theatre advocacy organization, and podcast, named after his fierce, hapa grandmother, Eloise Tsuru Matsuno Choo. Sean is proud to be the descendant of Japanese, Uchinanchu, Korean, Portuguese, English, Irish, Visayan, and Kanaka Maoli ancestors whose lives have enriched and complicated his story, and the story of Hawai‘i as well.
Career highlights: acceptance into the inaugural Native American Artist Lab with The Playwrights Realm; his original song, Think Mink!, commissioned by TheaterWorks USA about Representative Patsy Mink; and a Regional Emmy in the category of Arts/Entertainment-Long Form Content for co-producing, co-writing, composing, and co-directing Da Holidays episode of Honolulu Theatre for Youth’s television show, The HI Way.
He is a member of The Dramatists Guild, TYA/USA, the Hawai‘i State Theatre Council, LAMDA, CAATA, ASCAP, and improvhi.
Jackie Pualani Johnson (Playwright) was born in Hilo. She was educated in Standard English at St. Joseph’s School, but went afta school to da store on Manono fo’ eat one popscicle an’ for hea’ da old folks talk Pidgin kine stuffs. After a UH stint, she earned Drama degrees at the University of Colorado at Boulder and began an early flirtation with Shakespeare. She founded, directed, and appeared in the Hilo Community Players’ outdoor Summer Shakespeare, now in its 46th continuous year. To celebrate 25 years in Kalākaua Park, she created One Uddah Mid’summah in honor of our local dialect.
Jackie retired after 38 years as actress, director, and Chair of the Performing Department at UH Hilo. Living history about Hawaii’s Monarchy and the plantation era is her priority today. The work illuminates her own history, a mixed heritage of Hawaiian, Portuguese, Norwegian, German, and Chinese. Jackie is married to Edward “Mac” McMurray. Her three daughters, Kaihāwanawana, Malu, and Hailionaonaokekupuna have enriched her life with six mo‘opuna, several grand-dog-ers, and endless giggles and blessings. The greatest pleasures in her life have been her ‘ohana and ka ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i... and she knows that there is still so much to learn about both.
S. Sanae Tokumura, ACFRE, APR, is a wife, mother, dog lover and credentialed professional fundraising expert with 35+ years of experience, each. Her theatrical education consists of an acting class with Julia Ogilvy earlier this summer, operating the sound and light boards at Kumu Kahua for the recent long-running Folks You Meet in Longs production and learning from its seasoned directors, cast, crew, theatre staff and varied audiences. Grateful to the Hawaii Shakespeare Festival and Director Sean Choo for this first-time acting opportunity, she recognizes and applauds the value and beauty of its mission. Sanae was born and raised on the unconquered island of Kauai in the swinging 60s where she absorbed its inimitable dialect of Hawaii Pidgin and culture. She has won her age group in a few local triathlons and is a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.
Ever the Artist at heart, Harmony Tesoro (Movement Guide) has made it her life’s work to create, collaborate, and educate. Founder of HarmsaStar, a dance, yoga, and education company dedicated to all people, all ages, she currently holds an MFA in Dance, MA in Teaching (Elementary Ed), BA in Theatre Arts, is a recognized Artistic Teaching Partner (SFCA), as well as a Certified E-RYT 200 and RCYT.
Harmony is truly humbled to be part of the arts collective here in Hawai‘i. Over the past decade, she has worked with diverse and influential organizations as a choreographer, performer, and workshop leader. Credits include: Hawai‘i Shakespeare Festival (The Tempest ); Open Home Performance (Indecent); The ARTS at Marks Garage (SymbioSEAS); Honolulu Theatre for Youth (Opala Remix, Pinocchio, Shocka, Red Balloon, A Bollywood Robin Hood) Kumu Kahua Theatre (Demigods Anonymous), T-Shirt Theatre (Kipuka), Manoa Valley Theatre (Closer Than Ever), the East West Center (Bollywood Exhibition), and Raw Artists Honolulu (Translations).
Romyn Kim Sabatchi (Hele On) (she/her) was born and raised in San Diego, California (Encanto) and currently lives in Mō‘ili‘ili, Honolulu, O‘ahu, Hawai‘i. She identifies as Filipina specifically Igorot (indigenous tribe, the mountain people of the Philippines)/Chinese American. She was recently in the Hawaii Shakespeare Festival (2022) as Lady Capulet Romeo and Juliet and Nikki/Lady Capulet Both Your Houses. She can be seen in short films such as Impact (2021) and Cosmic Laundry (2022), in UH Manoa’s Late Night Theatre Production of House Rules (2022) and in online productions, Flowers of Hawaii (2020), Ti Mangyuna (2021) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2022). Romyn hopes that you will see her on the big screen one day in a romcom action movie! She enjoys acting, working with student leaders, playing basketball and planning events.
Brandon Caban (Sanders) was born and raised in Wahiawa, Oahu and studied acting & playwriting at the HB Studio in New York City while also serving as the studio’s assistant janitor. The lead janitor often complained about how actors left the dressing room a mess so Brandon makes sure to keep his dressing room nice and neat. Selected stage credits include Cambodian Rock Band (MVT), Pride and Prejudice (KOA), Be More Chill (MVT), Indecent (OHP), The Happiest Song Plays Last (TAG), & Twelf Nite O Wateva (HMH). Also a comedy writer, his short film Making Progress was chosen as the opening film for Slate & Marker’s Inaugural Film Challenge and he has written comedy sketches and musicals for The Hawai‘i Comedy Festival. His original musical Plate Lunch: The Musical was reprimanded by the Vegetarian Society of Hawai‘i but they followed him on instagram so I guess they’re cool now. He also works in the local film industry in a variety of jobs ranging from camera department to director’s assistant to actor’s assistant to visual effects and even a pig wrangler for 2014’s Godzilla, which is still his favorite job as it was his first. And cleanest, oddly enough. He graduated from UH Manoa with a degree in Anthropology and this is his Hawai‘i Shakefest debut, lidat.
Kalā Müller (Paka) is an actor from Waimea on the Big Island of Hawai‘i. He is excited to work on his first show in the Oahu Community Theater scene. You may have seen him several times over the last few years onstage at UH Mānoa’s Kennedy Theater. Kalā would like to thank the entire crew as well as his castmates for putting their best effort forward in creating this show. Looking ahead, you can see Kalā on stage performing for Honolulu Theater for Youth, where he will be entering as a company actor. Thank you for supporting local work by seeing this show, and for keeping pidgin alive with your support. Pidgin was long used as a tool to foster connection and communication amidst our diverse communities here in Hawai‘i, and your attendance helps keep that tradition healthy and flourishing to unite us all as citizens of these islands.
Matthew Nakamura (Musubi, Ihu) is an actor born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. This is his first theatrical production and his first foray into Shakespearean performance. He is a current student and member of Improv Hawaii (ImprovHI) and is a regular performer in their fourth Saturday of the month “Nerd Night” show. Other appearances include occasional spots with Dinner Detective at Buca Di Bepo in Kakaako, and, as an extra on CBS’s NCIS: Hawai‘i, Hawaii Five-0 and, on NBC’s Magnum P.I.
Kula Pang (Costumer Designer) is a costume designer with a degree in fashion design. He is very happ and grateful with this opportunity to costume this show and before proceeding wants to thank everyone involved in the show for their cooperation, openness, and most importantly patience. He has previously worked in New York in fashion, and more recently as an assistant designer with TAG theatre and Diamond Head Theatre, and as a seamstress for Iona. Special shout-out to all of those companies especially DHT and the costume shop, and the biggest thanks to Carlynn and Rose without whom this would never have been possible.
Er kann auch ein bisschen deutsch sprechen. Ein großes Dankeschön an die Kostümwerkstatt des Diamond Head Theatre und an Carlynn und Rose, die besten Leute, die man sich wünschen kann, wenn man eine Show zum ersten Mal kostümiert. Ich hoffe, dass ihr die Show genießt und habt Spaß, denn ich hatte keine beim Entwerfen. Das war ein Scherz für die Deutschsprachigen.
Alten Kiakona (Dummy, Treeus/Fight Captain) is one all hamajang mixed-plate, both ethnic, and as a theatre artist, born and raised in Hawai‘i. Having worked and trained on stage as an Actor, and off-stage as a Sound Engineer, Publicity Assistant, Stage Manager, and House Manager, he’s excited to finally be coming back to the stage after 2 years and making his HSF and community theatre debut. Alten is a 2019 graduate of UHM with a BA in Theatre. Besides being around theatre as the former House Manager at Manoa Valley Theatre, Alten was last seen on stage in HPU’s production of Where Words Once Were. He was also previously seen in several UHM productions, including Keiki Kalo, The Country Wife, A Midsummer Night’s Bollywood Dream, The Cat in the Hat, and Twelfth Night, as well as CUCTF’s Accidental Death of an Anarchist, The Virtue in Propaganda, Almost, Maine, and In The Heights. Biiiiiggg mahalo for supporting local theatre and listening to the story we have to tell!
Iris Wilhelm-Norseth (Queenie, Chili Peppah) has been part of the local community theater scene for the past 12 years. She has had the privilege of being part of productions at TAG Theater, Manoa Valley Theatre, and Kumu Kahua Theatre as well as appearing on Hawaii Five-0 and Doogie Kameāloha, M. D. Iris is also involved in the Improv/sketch comedy scene in Hawaii, being lucky enough to perform with players from On the Spot, Think Fast Improv, and HI Improv. She is a proud member of the Poly AF comedy sketch writing team as well as the Poly AF Improv players. This is Iris’s third appearance with the Hawaii Shakespeare Festival and her 2nd time on the stage at The Hawaiian Mission Houses—ironically both times being A Midsummer’s Night Dream.
Julia Gilman (Skin ’n Bones, Spidah Man) (she/her) is grateful to be living on O‘ahu again, where she grew up. In local theatre, Julia previously worked with now-defunct playwriting collective Cabaret Tiki and improvisational group Loose Screws. She was Assistant Director for the 2022 Hawai‘i Shakespeare Festival production of Both Your Houses. She holds a BA in Theatre from The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.
Victoria Kashiwai (Hernia) was born and raised in Mililani, Oahu. She is excited to make another HSF appearance as Hernia after playing Anne Page in Merry Wives of Windsor (2020) and Mortimer in Henry IV, Part One (2021). From 2018–2021, you may have seen her in a number of UH Manoa’s Kennedy Theatre and Late Nite Theatre productions including Flowers of Hawaii (2020) as Theresa & Ludie. She last acted in KOA’s Pride and Prejudice (2022) as the practical Charlotte Lucas & devious Mr. Wickham. Victoria’s first theatre production after graduating high school was understudying Queen Tarana (Titania) in Kennedy Theatre’s Midsummer Night’s Bollywood\ Dream so she feels having a role in another rendition of the show is like coming full circle if you feel like being sentimental. Victoria is incredibly grateful to everyone involved in the show and to Director Sean Choo for the opportunity to escape to the joyful theatre space after long work days.
Malia Lagaso (Design/Community Folx, Ho‘okumu na Poni Pua—I Wen Make da Purpo Flowah) is the Craft Coordinator at the flagship Ben Franklin Crafts store in Māpunapuna, where she runs the store’s craft programming, developing craft classes, events & inspirations for the wider community. She is also a local community theater performer who played multiple roles in the first digital-only play produced by Kumu Kahua Theatre during the COVID shutdown, Moses Goods’s Lovey Lee, directed by Reiko Ho. Malia proudly shared the Best Ensemble Po‘okela Award with her ‘Ohana Wa‘a/incredible team performance in Fa‘alavelave (The Interruption) written by Kiki Rivera and directed by Reiko Ho, also at Kumu Kahua. Other highlights have been her performances in both versions of R. Zamora Linmark’s beloved Rolling the R’s, first debuted by Kumu Kahua, then produced by KOA at The ARTS at Marks Garage. Malia’s pidgin is influenced heavily by sugar plantation-era Filipino & Japanese speakers; her father’s Pahoa/Hilo-style pidgin; hearing Ilocano throughout her life; and her small-kid time in Waipahu and Aiea.
Andrew Chow (O-Big-One and Tee-Seus) In the 80s and 90s Andrew appeared in various Kumu Kahua shows (including both the 1989 and the 2022 productions of Lucky Come Hawaii) and strayed into such things as an HPU production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and a UH mainstage production of Da Taming of Da Shrew. In the current century, Andrew has appeared in various HawaiiShakes productions: Taming of the Shrew (2007), Troilus and Cressida (2013, The Winter’s Tale (2016), and Romeo and Juliet(2017).
Stu Hirayama (Bottom Out) This is Stu’s second foray into the Midsummer/Mid’Summah dream world; he played Snug in the earlier incarnation. Besides Midsummer, he has appeared in five other Hawai‘i Shakespeare Festival productions. Previous roles include Saturninus in Titus Andronicus and Gremio in The Taming of the Shrew.