The Hilo Community Players are returning to Kalakaua Park with a new event, “Disney in the Park.”
From 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, keiki and their families are encouraged to come to the park in costume or without to celebrate all things Disney.
The event will present live performances of classic Disney songs, with shows beginning at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Some of Hilo’s most well-known performers will be featured, including Jackie Pualani Johnson, Jeri Gertz, Meili Aspen, Norman Arancon, Joanne Pocsidio and many more.
There also will be appearances by favorite Disney characters such as Moana, Elsa, Anna and Ariel.
Families can bring picnic blankets, chairs and umbrellas to enjoy the outdoor event. There also will be tea parties with tea and cookies available for attendees.
“We want families to come enjoy the day together,” said organizer Rachel Klein. “It’s been a rough time since the pandemic began, especially for our keiki. We’re hoping this event will bring a little joy and happiness to our community.”
This will be the first time since the pandemic began that the Hilo Community Players will perform in the park, where they usually host “Shakespeare in the Park” every summer.
“This is the first time we’ve done this particular event, but we’re excited to see how it goes,” Klein said. “We wanted to do something fun, light and happy and bring the happiest place on Earth to Hilo.”
The group also is rehearsing “Romeo and Juliet” for the annual “Shakespeare in the Park,” which will be located in the parking lot of Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium for the second year.
Like 2020’s production of “Othello,” “Romeo and Juliet” will be presented in compliance with pandemic guidelines. Players will appear on a raised stage before an audience watching from their cars and listening over a short-range radio transmission.
“For our second year at the civic, we wanted to do everything we could to fill that huge space,” said the production’s director, veteran HCP Shakespeare actor Theon Weber. “I don’t think a Shakespeare play exists that’s more widely beloved, and we’re staging it at a scale that can reach every car in the parking lot.”
The actors will be joined onstage by a troupe of dancers choreographed by Paradise Performing Arts Center director Nadia Schlosser.
The play isn’t only a story — “it builds a whole miniature town, a miniature world,” Weber said. “Our dancers, melting in and out of character and manipulating the actors around them — they help populate that world, but they also play the forces that are tearing it apart.”
The classic version of the play will start at 7:30 p.m. each night on weekends beginning with Friday, July 9 to Sunday, July 11; Thursday, July 15, to Sunday, July 18; and Thursday, July 22, to Sunday, July 25.
On the same stage, children will perform a kids’ version of the play called “The Seussification of Romeo &Juliet” by Peter Bloedel.
Directed by James Henry Kuliaikapono O’Connor, the children’s show will begin at 4 p.m. every afternoon on Saturdays and Sundays from July 10 to July 25.
All shows will have free admission, with the parking lot opening an hour before each performance.
Hilo Community Players along with the University of Hawaii at Hilo Performing Arts Department also are presenting a virtual show called “Talking With …”.
The show began streaming on Friday, June 18, and is running until Friday, July 2.
Director Jennifer Brahms Gardham filmed the show on location, including scenes at Costco, a horse ranch, a church and McDonalds.
After purchasing a ticket and receiving confirmation, attendees have 24 hours to watch the show.
Tickets are available at https://hiloplayers.org/talking-with/.
Email Kelsey Walling at email@example.com