[Title of Cover Story]
Four people, four chairs and a keyboard —that’s all it took for the musical [title of show] to become a Broadway sensation. Kauai Community Players opens the one-of-a-kind show-within-a-show, written and originally performed by Jeff Bowan and Hunter Bell, Jan. 8 at Puhi Theatrical Warehouse.
“The show is so original and unique, people have no idea what’s going to come at them,” says Robert Carrasco, who plays Bell. “It’s such a different type of show that hasn’t been seen here before.”
Chris Alderete, who is directing the local production, says he fell in love with the show after hearing the soundtrack several years ago.
“I listened to it from beginning to the end, just laughing the entire time,” he says. “And then it got to the final song of the show, and that song just hits you and makes you want to go and create something.
“That’s what I think is really amazing about the show — it inspires people to go out and create something and be brave instead of doing what everybody else is doing.”
Alderete, who grew up on Kauai and graduated from Kauai High School, was blown away by how the aspiring writers explored their creative side and didn’t worry about making something “big and loud” in order to succeed.
“These guys ask, ‘Is just being us enough?’ And the answer to them was a resounding, ‘Yes,'” he says.
After watching the show on Broadway in the late-2000s, Alderete, a seasoned actor who attended American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City and obtained a theatre degree from the same institution in Los Angeles, knew he had to bring it back to his hometown.
“I choose things that I would like to be in, and I have a huge passion for the show,” he says.
His first directing experience was Next to Normal, showcased last summer as Hawaii Children Theatre’s After Dark production.
“It’s always been something that’s there,” he says about directing.
He believes his experience as a performer helps him relate to the actors better.
“I treat them as I would like to be treated as an actor and I think it really pays off in the end,” he says.
“He’s a musical theatre pro,” says Carrasco about Alderete.
“He is a wonderful director,” touts Montoya.
Alderete equally praises his cast and is glad to be a part of such an “amazingly diverse” group of theater people who are “ridiculously talented.”
“I love it,” says Downs, one of the performers he refers to who has graced many Kauai stages, about acting. “It’s such a good outlet, and you get to be a million different people creating new characters.”
She’s especially excited to perform in a musical with such an unusual concept, even if it presents a unique challenge.
“I love that it’s just four people, but it also freaks me out because it’s just four people,” she jokes.
One of the many reasons Martineau also is excited to be a part of the production is because he personally relates to the characters in the show trying to “make it in the biz.”
“This show holds a very special spot in my heart,” says Martineau, who also saw [title of show] on Broadway.
Still, he says it’s a story that everyone can relate to in some way.
“Anyone who’s ever had a dream or tried to dream big,” he says. “You see them create their dream from ‘What are we going to write?’ to off-Broadway to Broadway.”
Alderete agrees that it will “light a spark” in audience members.
“The main thing that I think really grabs people about the show is that, yes, it’s absolutely hilarious — it’s one of the funniest shows I’ve ever seen — but it taps a nerve in people that inspires them to be creative,” he says. “If even one person goes to the show and decides to create something for the community, that would be amazing.”
[title of show] opens Jan. 8 with performances through Jan. 24. Visit kauaicommunityplayers.org to purchase tickets and for more information.