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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 ONLINE 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.
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 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!
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. 
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!

PM Summer Stars 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.
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!