By Wayne Harada
Saint Louis School drama instructor Kyle Kakuno is retiring from the campus drama program after a 12-year run.
But he will put on a new hat and direct the Hawaii premiere of the ballyhooed award-winning “In the Heights” Broadway musical with an all-star high school cast, under the auspices of Saint Louis Center for the Arts.
Kakuno has been at the apex of high school drama in town in recent years, placing Saint Louis on the drama map. “In the Heights” will be the fourth show he is directing in its Island premiere, opening in March 2013. Previously, under his directorship and the Saint Louis banner, he helmed the Hawaii premieres of “Footloose” (2002), “Aida” (2005) and “Rent” (2008).
While he is departing from the Saint Louis drama program, he will continue to manage the Mamiya Theatre and also direct the drama program at Sacred Hearts Academy a stone’s throw from Saint Louis. So his presence at Mamiya will continue, with a different perspective. Sacred Hearts utilizes the Mamiya stage for its shows.
Auditions for “In the Heights” musical, which requires singers, dancers and actors in grades 9 through 12, will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Dec. 12, 13 and 14 at Mamiya Theatre on the Saint Louis campus. The production, by Lin-Manuel Miranda (music and lyrics) and Quiara Alegria Hudes (book), is restricted to youths, so adults traditionally performing in community musicals may not participate.
Those trying out need to prepare two contrasting tunes — one, upbeat; the other, a ballad — and auditions may be a cappella, with a minus-one CD, or with sheet music.
The director also is requesting that everyone prepare one joke to share.
The musical, about a bodega owner and his fellow residents in the Dominican-American community in New York’s Washington Heights, was nominated for 14 Tony Awards and won four: Best Musical, Best Original Score, Best Choreography and Best Orchestrations in 2008. The cast album also won a Grammy for Best Musical Album.
Callbacks will be Dec.18, with rehearsals beginning after the holidays in January.
Information: Kakuno at 739-4886.