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Community theatre group brings new musical to stage

A community theater group is hoping its latest production helps bring positivity and joy to audiences.

Kaua‘i Community Players’ production of “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” is a musical in revue format, consisting of a variety of one-act stories set in different stages of life — from kindergarten through adulthood, and into old age.

The musical is based on the book of short essays by Robert Fulghum, first published in 1986, and was adapted for the stage by Ernest Zulia.

“It’s a show that will make you smile, make you laugh, and make you cry, both sad and happy tears,” said George James, the production’s director.

James, who has been acting in community theater for decades, said he and his wife, Terri James, had fond memories of working on a Boerne, Texas, production of the show about 22 years ago, and wanted to bring it to Kaua‘i.

When James pitched the idea to KCP, he was offered the directing role.

“This is my first time directing ever. It’s very different being on the other side,” he said. “It’s been very rewarding to see the cast grow and take up the mantle for what the show is all about.”

The ensemble cast consists of six actors: Natalie Rein, Gaylen Worthen, Andrew Rice, Larry Richardson, Tom Worthen and Liz Hahn.

Hahn, who narrates the production, said the play addresses common issues in a way that is “heartwarming, poignant, honest and optimistic.”

“I think that this play reminds us that at any point in our lives, we can do good, we can help others, and we can make a difference,” she said.

“It offers positive alternatives to the things that people complain about the most. And that is, as they grow older, they become less spontaneous, they become less optimistic, and they become less creative.”

Natalie Rein, who plays Jill, is the only non-local performer in the cast. She came from Wisconsin to work on the show, and now plans on moving to the island in October.

“I’m definitely making a decision to move here because of the experience I’ve had in the show and with the people,” said Rein, adding that she has been coming to Kaua‘i to visit for about five years.

Rein explained that the show inspired her to take hold of her dream of moving to Kaua‘i, and she hopes that the show will have a similar impact on audience members.

“It’s really gonna put people’s minds in the right spot of just embracing the joy around you and the love around you and you know, soaking it all in, and then reflecting it back to other people,” she said.

“All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” opened on Feb. 17 and has a 7 p.m. showtime on Thursdays through Saturdays, and a 4 p.m. showtime on Sundays.

It’s scheduled to run until March 5 at the Puhi Theatrical Warehouse, 4441 Kikowaena St., behind the Grove Farm headquarters and Kaua‘i Harley Davidson.

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Emma Grunwald, reporter, can be reached 808-245-0441 or egrunwald@thegardenisland.com.
Source: The Garden Island

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