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School of Rock, Jr., 2016
Mary Poppins, 2015
Les Miserables, 2015
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, 2017
Matilda the Musical, 2019
Newsies, 2017
The Lion King, Jr., 2017
Inspiring youth through the study, performance and appreciation of theater arts.

Meet the 2020 Summer Stars & HCT West Staff

Leadership Team

Melissa McFerrin-Warrack
Dolly Kanekuni has been coaching singers for 26 years and is passionate about providing the tools they need to reach their vocal goals. As a certified member of the international singing professionals network, Vocology in Practice, she’s able to bring world class, cutting edge resources to singers of all ages. Here on Kauai, Dolly provides musical direction and vocal coaching for many productions as well as performing in musicals and at special events. She’s proud to head up a team of dedicated board of directors as President of Hawaii Children's Theatre.
Erin Gaines has been HCT's administrator for 3 years. She has two children who participate in the programs and has been a part of many shows since she was 15 years old. You may know her as Mary Poppins from HCT's Mary Poppins or more recently, Miss Honey from HCT's Matilda the Musical.
Rebecca Hanson: This will be Rebecca’s seventh year directing the Summer Stars afternoon program and eighth year with Summer Stars.  She is excited to be back to direct Moana, Jr!  The performing arts has always been a passion of hers since she was a little girl learning ballet, tap, and jazz dance at a studio in Minnesota.  Her first experience outside of dance brought her into the technical side of theatre learning audio systems and set building.  She graduated in 2005 with a BA in Theatre Arts from Concordia University St. Paul and immediately started working in the field as assistant company manager to My Little Pony, Live!  The following year started her three year tour life with Sesame Street, Live!  Getting to work with the lovable characters Zoe, Prairie Dawn, and Abby Cadabby.  After Sesame Street Rebecca started teaching theatre and dance in the Twins Cities area and fell in love with it.  She went back to school and earned her BS in Elementary Education.  She is currently working with both of her passions: theatre and education.  After moving to Kauai she started her directing career directing for Summer Stars, “Spamalot” and “Newsies” for HCT.  She has also directed with Kauai Community Players directing “Little Shop of Horrors” and “Sweeney Todd”.  You may also see her on stage from time to time in such roles as Lizzie Curry (The Rainmaker) and Maggie (The Shadowbox). This is going to be an exciting summer bringing Moana, Jr. to the stage for Kauai audiences!!
Marly Madayag was born on Kauai and is a graduate forKauai High School. She went on to the University of Hawaii 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 for the 3rd through 5th graders. Marly has spent many years in our local community theater.  She has done everything from being a backstage dresser on HONK!, being on the cast in Beauty & The Beast, working special effects on Cinderella, Scrooge the Musical and stage managing for Big River, Willy Wonka and Les Miserable, and finally directing. For HCT, she has directed Peter Pan, 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 program director, acting, music and diction teacher.

Rising Stars and Keiki AM Teaching Staff

Dolly Kanekuni has been coaching singers for 26 years and is passionate about providing the tools they need to reach their vocal goals. As a certified member of the international singing professionals network, Vocology in Practice, she’s able to bring world class, cutting edge resources to singers of all ages. Here on Kauai, Dolly provides musical direction and vocal coaching for many productions as well as performing in musicals and at special events. She’s proud to head up a team of dedicated board of directors as President of Hawaii Children's Theatre.
Taj Gutierrez is a Summer Stars alumni. Joining the program as a student in 2009, Taj grew up in HCT and learned most of what he knows from the many programs they provide such as Summer Stars. He is beyond delighted to return to the program as AM Assistant Director & PM Stage Manager. He thanks you for supporting Summer Stars and is looking forward to working with you and your children!
Carol Culver has been a professional dancer, singer, actress since she was 17. She has appeared on Broadway, TV and in film, and has choreographed for stage, TV, film, rock videos and commercials. She has coached and choreographed many celebrities including John Travolta, Mary Steenburgen, Ted Danson, and Treat Williams. Among the movies she can be seen in are Steven Spielberg’s 1941, Pennies From Heaven, Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, and the original movie Grease. The show Grease has played a very large role in Carol’s career. She played Patty Simcox in both the National Tour and Broadway companies and was assistant choreographer to Pat Birch for all the touring companies and the feature film in which she was also a featured dancer. She directed and choreographed productions of Grease for San Diego Starlight, the Carolina Broadway Theatre Company, and here on Kauai in 2005. Her 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. She choreographed Miss Saigon for Lucky Dog productions at KCC, directed and choreographed Mary Poppins for HCT andmost recently directed Matilda the Musical last fall. Carol taught dance in both Illinois and Los Angeles before moving to Kauai in 1998 to finish her book, Once In Time (currently in audiobook form). She has been teaching dance on Kauai since 2000.
Julia Benson moved to Kauai after graduating with a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction in Speech from Pensacola Christian College in Florida. While earning her degree she had the opportunity to assist with and direct several productions, and she performed in several shows as well. Her favorite role was Aunt Mary from The Happiest Millionaire. She looks forward to the adventure of teaching all of the stars again this summer!
Jeremy Brown grew up on the Island of ‘O’ahu and has been living on Kaua’i since 1995. His passions are music, surfing, and exploring creative arts and thinking.
Since 2016, Jeremy has been the music director for Kilauea Elementary School’s Drama Club. They have presented wonderful performances of The Lion King Jr., Shrek Jr the Musical, Madagascar Jr, and this year will be presenting Frozen Jr.!
Jeremy is a registered Teaching Artist with the State Foundation of Culture and the Arts, and works in schools to bring keiki the spark of creativity. These residencies have been focused on story telling, music and sound scapes, and also in interpreting visual art through songwriting.
He has been the music teacher at Kilauea and Hanalei Schools since 2011 where he visits grades K-6 weekly. He loves to teach music with movement, singing, ukulele and drumming.
With a background and study in Hawaiian music and hula, as well as a growing knowledge of folk music and dance from around the world, Jeremy is equipped with many gifts and tools to share with your keiki.
Jeremy is also the Kauai director for Soulgood Music Together, which is an early childhood music and movement program for children age 0-5 and the grownups who love them. Jeremy and his wife Aimee have been offering these classes on Kaua’i since 2014.
This year’s Summer Stars program will be an amazing opportunity for your child to shine brightly, and to be creative, and collaborate with Jeremy and the Summer Stars/HCT ‘ohana!
Laurel Petterson-McGraw: It’s Laurel's pleasure to continue sharing her love of improv with Hawai’i Children’s Theatre. Each year she's tried to tailor the games and exercises to further the students skill set while rehearsing for their Summer Stars performance.
Laurel has been involved with theatre most of her life both on stage and behind the scenes. Her experience designing sets, painting backdrops, set dressing for both film and stage and doing continuity for film (in Boston, London, Capetown, Johannesburg, and wonderful Kauai 1975- the present) give her a unique grasp of the  “perils” facing the young actor. On Kauai, she has directed for the YWCA (Vagina Monologues), Kauai Community Players (Art, God of Carnage, The Language Archives), and performed in Cabaret, All My Sons, August Osage County, Other Desert Cities, and The Cemetery Club.
Alice April: This is Alice’s 8th year with HCT, beginning as the AM Acting Instructor before moving to the  Stage Combat Workshop Instructor. She taught American Kenpo Karate for 4 years in addition to theatre arts for 20+ years in both public and private schools in Oregon. After moving to Kauai in 2012,  she spent 5 years as the middle school social science and theatre director and middle/high school theatre arts teacher at Island school. After a 6-month vacation that included traveling to the Zumba Convention in Florida and a Dude Ranch in Oregon for some rodeo activities , she began teaching Freshman English at Waimea High School  this last January and will add an acting class to her responsibilities there next year. In her free time she teaches Zumba as a certified Zumba Instructor  in Kalaheo, where she also resides with her husband, Rocco, and teen daughter, Jaden. Her adult son, Mitch, lives on Maui. She enjoys hiking, spending time with friends and family, being with animals, going to the beach, yoga, reading, playwriting, and the “aha” moment when a student “gets it” or their face “beams”with success for the first time. 

Summer Stars PM Teaching Staff

Rebecca Hanson: This will be Rebecca’s seventh year directing the Summer Stars afternoon program and eighth year with Summer Stars.  She is excited to be back to direct Moana, Jr!  The performing arts has always been a passion of hers since she was a little girl learning ballet, tap, and jazz dance at a studio in Minnesota.  Her first experience outside of dance brought her into the technical side of theatre learning audio systems and set building.  She graduated in 2005 with a BA in Theatre Arts from Concordia University St. Paul and immediately started working in the field as assistant company manager to My Little Pony, Live!  The following year started her three year tour life with Sesame Street, Live!  Getting to work with the lovable characters Zoe, Prairie Dawn, and Abby Cadabby.  After Sesame Street Rebecca started teaching theatre and dance in the Twins Cities area and fell in love with it.  She went back to school and earned her BS in Elementary Education.  She is currently working with both of her passions: theatre and education.  After moving to Kauai she started her directing career directing for Summer Stars, “Spamalot” and “Newsies” for HCT.  She has also directed with Kauai Community Players directing “Little Shop of Horrors” and “Sweeney Todd”.  You may also see her on stage from time to time in such roles as Lizzie Curry (The Rainmaker) and Maggie (The Shadowbox). This is going to be an exciting summer bringing Moana, Jr. to the stage for Kauai audiences!!
Taj Gutierrez is a Summer Stars alumni. Joining the program as a student in 2009, Taj grew up in HCT and learned most of what he knows from the many programs they provide such as Summer Stars. He is beyond delighted to return to the program as AM Assistant Director & PM Stage Manager. He thanks you for supporting Summer Stars and is looking forward to working with you and your children!
Ben Nause is ecstatic to be the Musical Director for HCT’s Moana Jr for Summer 2020. This will
be his first production with HCT and he cannot wait to perform this beautiful story here on Kauai!
Originally from Pennsylvania, he has always had a passion for music and teaching, with a
special place for musical theatre. Before arriving on Kauai, Ben recently graduated from
Susquehanna University where he received a BM in Music Education. At university, Ben found
success as both a performer and educator. In 2019, Ben student taught middle school choir at
Wyoming Valley West Middle School in Kingston, Pennsylvania. He also spent time teaching
orchestra, band and choir to students K-12. Since arriving on Kauai, Ben sang with Chamber
Music Kauai’s A Classical Christmas and he currently accompanies the Island School Chorus
along with the church services at Wai’oli Hui’ia in Hanalei. Along with the playing for the Island
Chorus, he also works at with the 1st grade as a teachers assistant. Ben is excited to work on
this project with such a wonderful staff and he cannot wait to start rehearsals!
BethAnne Kapansky Wright, PsyD, has been exploring dance, movement and creativity since she was four years old and asked her mother to put her in dance class. As an adult, she continued with her passion for dance, performing, competing, choreographing, and teaching in her home state of Alaska. A transformational speaker, intuitive, psychologist, and author, she is deeply passionate about inspiring positive change in others through a variety of modalities. She is the author of the award-winning book, Lamentations of The Sea and its sequel Transformations of The Sun, as well as several books of poetry and a children’s book. She moved to Kauai in 2017 and is thrilled to be able to share her love of dance, wellness, and creative expression on the island.

HCT West Program Staff

Marly Madayag was born on Kauai and is a graduate forKauai High School. She went on to the University of Hawaii 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 for the 3rd through 5th graders. Marly has spent many years in our local community theater.  She has done everything from being a backstage dresser on HONK!, being on the cast in Beauty & The Beast, working special effects on Cinderella, Scrooge the Musical and stage managing for Big River, Willy Wonka and Les Miserable, and finally directing. For HCT, she has directed Peter Pan, 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 program director, acting, music and diction teacher.
Ariana Franks has a BFA in performing arts from Stephens College in Columbia,MO. Born and raised in Hawaii, she’s always loved music and performing. You might have seen her in HCT After Dark’s “Into the Woods” as well as HCT “Newsies” as Medda Larkin or as stage manager/vocal coach for Kalaheo Elementary’s drama program.  When she isn’t Writing/Directing performances for her home church King’s Chapel, she’s teaching at Bandwagon Music Center or working freelance as a vocal/performance coach all over Kauai. This will be her third summer working with HCT, and she is super excited for her first as the musical coach for HCT West!