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Meet the Staff

· Summer Stars 2022 Staff ·

Administrative Staff

Melissa McFerrin Warrack

Program Co-Chair

Dolly Kanekuni

Program Co -Chair

Trudi Shim

Program Co-Chair

Vicki Cano-Braman

Program Co-Chair

Erin Gaines

HCT Administrative Manager

AM Program – Rising Stars

Carol Culver, Dance Director
Carol Culver has been a professional dancer, singer, actress since she was 17. She has appeared on Broadway, TV and in film. Carol’s choreography has been seen on Kauai in over 20 musical theatre productions. She was the KPAC resident choreographer from 2001 to 2012, and choreographs often for Hawaii Children’s Theatre. Carol directed and choreographed “Mary Poppins” and “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” for HCT and most recently directed “Matilda the Musical” in 2019.

Jake Lester, Assistant Dance Instructor
Jake Lester is 17 years old and has been involved with HCT for 8 years. Jake has been dancing for 9 years and has recently begun choreography. Recently, he was the choreographer for “School House Rock: Live, Jr.” for Kauai Performing Arts Center. He plans to major in Musical Theatre and Dance once he goes off to college.

Laine Griffith, Music Director
Laine has taught music at Kalaheo Elementary School since 1996 having obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music from Whitman college, and a Music Education Certification from the University of Washington. In addition to teaching music, he directs the Kalaheo School Sunshine Express, a select drama/show choir, teaches band, produces school-wide musical winter festivals, directs the annual talent shows, and helps produce Kalaheo School May Day celebrations. He is a private piano and woodwind teacher, and he has taught at the Kauai Academy of Creative Arts as the music teacher as well. In addition, Laine plays woodwinds, performing in various jazz bands and combos on Kauai.

Asher Griffith, Accompanist
Asher Griffith graduated from Kauai High this year. He has been taking piano lessons since he was 4 years old, taking lessons from the esteemed pianist, Hank Curtis for the last six years. He has also performed in several musicals in elementary school. As a jazz pianist, he performed with the KCC Jazz band, the Too Cool for School Jazz Combos (Laine Griffith Director) and various jazz gigs at local venues including Ha’s Coffee and Pietro’s Pizza. Asher has played classical piano recitals at All Saints Church, Kapaa under the direction of Mr. Curtis. Asher has applied for the Senior Music Scholarship sponsored by the Mokihana Club. Asher also plays trumpet performing with the KCC concert and Jazz Bands as well as a trumpet soloist for Kauai Voices. In addition, Asher is enrolled in the Premier Martial Arts program having just earned a Red/Black belt.

Tiffany Irene Gore, Keiki Director
Tiffany loves musical theater. She started performing as a child and was a member of Ballet Northwest’s Jr company. Tiffany studied both dance and social sciences at the University of Hawaii, and after graduation, she moved to Florida. Tiffany spent over 5 years working and performing at the Lake Worth Playhouse, a popular community theatre in South Florida. Tiffany worked as a choreographer, a summer camp theater teacher, an outreach theater teacher, and she worked in the box office. After Florida, Tiffany lived in Portugal for 4 years before making her way back to Hawaii.
In the summer of 2019, back from Europe, Tiffany worked at a children’s performance arts camp at the Highland Center for Performing arts in Vermont. Tiffany currently works at Kapa’a elementary school and teaches yoga. She knows theatre can be a powerful healing outlet for both children and adults. She is very excited to bring her love of theatre to the Summer Stars program.

Rachel Secretario, Comedy Workshop
Rachel was born and raised on Kaua’i.  Her love for theater began when she went to her first play put on by Kaua’i Performing Arts Center  “Once on this Island”, and saw her older sisters perform.  Through Middle School and High School she has been apart of KPAC her last show being “Anything Goes”.  After graduating from Kapaa High School she got her Political Science Degree at University of Hawaii, Manoa, and performed in “The Most Massive Woman Wins, and “He, She, 3”. 

Rachel and started doing comedy in 2011 in Honolulu, Hawaii.  She was involved in two improv groups affiliated with Laughtrack Theater.  Rachel started doing stand-up comedy around that time and performing frequently on stages in Honolulu.  In 2012 she moved to Eau Claire WI where she was the MC for the Whiskies Comedy Show and also had the opportunity to MC the shows for Doug Stanhope and Pauly Shore. 

In 2018 she moved to Des Moines, Iowa and has remained active as a stand-up comedian and professional Improvisor with Teehee’s Comedy Club.  Last summer she had two successful shows Paint and Laugh with Rachel Secretario in Des Moines, Iowa.  She is excited to have moved back home to Kapa’a, and be apart of the theater.  This summer she is teaching a Stand-up Comedy Workshop for Hawaii Children’s Theater.  Standup builds confidence, public speaking skills, and always finding the funny in life! 

Maile Speetjens, Design Workshop
Originally from Kauaʻi (and a participant in the FIRST EVER Summer Stars!) Maile Speetjens serves as Professor of Costume Design and Technology at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Her work in costumes has spanned from Boston to Hawaii and in between with a BFA in Musical Theatre from Emerson College (Boston, MA) and an MFA in Costume Design from the University of Georgia (Athens, GA). Recent work includes Aloha Attire (Kumu Kahua Theatre, Honolulu), Twelfth Night (Hawaii Shakespeare Festival), Conversion of Ka’ahumanu (Kumu Kahua Theatre, Honolulu), Much Ado About Nothing (OpenStage Theatre, Colorado), and ‘Au’a ‘Ia: Holding On (UH Mānoa Hana Keaka). Current research topics include Hana Lima Noʻeau, new strategies in decolonial design pedagogy, and computerized 3D rendering/patternmaking techniques. Maile serves as the Design, Technology and Management Chair of the Western Region of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.

Bobbee Downs, Makeup Workshop
Bobbee Downs was the first Artistic Director and co-founder of HCT, which was preceded by Kauai Kids at Play, beginning in 1987. A graduate of Yale University Children’s Theatre program, she brings forty years of experience to the program. She’s old! Though retired she is always interested in the ongoing development of the aesthetic values and activities for kids in HCT. With an undergraduate degree in Hair & Makeup she loves coming back once a year for this workshop. Having directed over 300 productions she still finds it amazing to get paid to play!

Sj LeHoven, Improv Workshop
Sj lives life doing an eclectic mix of this and that, with entertainment at its core.

For over 25-years she co-owned a video production company on the island which involved wielding a boom microphone around celebrity stars as well as writing short and long-form scripts for clients.

In 2014, Kaua‘i’s Women in Theatre produced her radio play NOW Who Are You? and in 2018 she self-published her first book My Life as a Mule: a fictionalized memoir or memoir with a twist.

As part of the improvisational comedy troupe, The InsPirates, Sj took to the stage for several years with her fellow teammates, bringing laughter to Kaua‘i’s east side. She has also performed in several local productions through the years and directed through WIT’s Kaua‘i Shorts. From time-to-time, she may be spotted on island as a permanent substitute teacher, playing the part of 6th grade teacher, 3rd grade teacher, and even the geometry teacher. Whatever part she’s playing, Sj looks for the fun and enjoys engaging with others along the way.


PM Program – “Once on This Island, Jr.”

Marly Madayag, Director
Marly was born on Kauai and is a graduate of Kauai High School. She went on to UH at Manoa, where she earned both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in education. She presently teaches Special Education at Kalaheo Elementary School and remains Director Emeritus for the Kalaheo School Drama Program. Marly has done everything from being a backstage dresser, cast member, special effects operator, and stage manager. For HCT, Marly has directed “Peter Pan,” “The Sound of Music” and “Shrek, the Musical.” She has also worked with the Kauai Academy of Creative Arts as a drama teacher as well as HCT’s Summer Stars as the AM/PM program director, acting, music, and diction teacher. 

Nina Saraos, Musical Director
Nina Saraos, who grew up on Kauai, had no idea she’d be in this deep into theatre after graduating from college. Most recently she served as the musical director for HCT’s “Moana, Jr.” She is very happy to be returning this summer for the production of “Once on This Island, Jr.”

Isaac Dubey, Stage Manager
Born and raised on Kauai, Isaac started doing community theatre at eight years old in HCT’s Summer Stars production of “Bugsy Malone, Jr.” in 2012. Isaac has been involved in Theater on Kauai ever since. He has acted in numerous shows but has also stage-managed, been on the stage crew, and edited clips for HCT. Some of his favorites shows are “Newsies”, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”, and “Legally Blonde the Musical”. Isaac stage-managed for Summer Stars last year and is ecstatic to be back again.

Amanda Tanigawa, Choreographer
Amanda is currently the owner and dance teacher at Dance Fusion Studios in Kapaa, where she teaches Lyrical, Contemporary, Jazz, and Musical Theatre Classes. She grew up as a classically trained ballerina and received a full scholarship to dance at the Joffrey Ballet School in New York City for two summers. After graduating high school, Amanda immediately began her career as a professional dancer. Some of her major accomplishments as a dancer and performer include performing in shows at Walt Disney World and Universal Studios, dancing on Celebrity Cruise Lines, being an NBA Dancer for the Orlando Magic, dancing in a broadway produced show in Las Vegas, dancing in multiple commercials and advertisements, as well as performing at the Latin Grammy’s. Upon moving to Kauai in 2016 with her husband and daughter, Amanda began spreading her love and passion for dance to the community as a teacher. She is also a certified Pilates and barre instructor, as well as a certified personal trainer. When she’s not teaching, you can see her performing in the role of Ka Uhane in the Luau Kalamaku at the Kilohana Plantation.