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 and most recently directed Matilda the Musical in 2019. 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!
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 The Aristocats, KIDS! 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 The Aristocats, KIDS. to the stage for Kauai audiences!!
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 Kauai Community Players’ production of Edges: A Song Cycle and Hawaii Children’s Theatre’s Leave a Light On. She has served as the musical director for HCT’s Frozen, Jr., Beauty and the Jr. Beast, Jr., The Lion King, Newsies, Shrek, Next to Normal, 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and Rent. Nina currently teaches piano and chorus at Kauai High School. While juggling the insanity of trying to teach in the time of a global pandemic she finds time to play the violin and viola, cook, bake, get lost in 4100 pages of the Harry Potter series for the umpteenth time and keep up with her fountain pen hobby. Nina received a degree in music composition from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. “It’s such a great feeling to be able to perform live and I hope that one day we can perform to a full house again.”