May Day is Lei Day

HONOLULU(HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu Theatre for Youth presents the Hawaii premier of May Day is Lei Day, a musical play celebrating the global history of springtime celebration and the ways in which our local culture has placed its own imprint on the tradition. Opening night is Friday March 30 at 7:30 p.m., with subsequent shows on Saturdays March 31, April 7, 14, 21, 28 and May 5 at 4:30 p.m. All shows are at Tenney Theatre on the grounds of The Cathedral of St. Andrew.

The show is the capstone production in Honolulu Theatre for Youth's 2011-12 season of cultures, honoring the "mixed plate" of ethnic traditions that make up Hawaii. The set has been designed to incorporate seating for several dozen children from the audience, and the interactive style invites joyful audience participation in the tradition of May Day community performances that many kamaaina have grown up with.

It's also quite clever and very funny, with a "Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)"-style romp through Hawaiian history; a basic hula lesson presented as a high-drama sports event with color commentary and whistle-blowing referee; a Filipino tinikling dance that makes use of the bamboo poles to depict everything from an exploding volcano to the Honolulu marathon; and a touching scene about lei-making and giving (made light by Junior Tesoro's portrayal of a hyperactive, sugar-rushed human candy lei).

May Day is Lei Day is ideal for ages 5 and up. Single tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for youth (18 and under) and $15 for seniors (60 and over). Military receive one free child admission with each regular-priced adult ticket purchased. Tickets at 839-9885 or online.

May Day is Lei Day is directed by HTY Artistic Director Eric Johnson with musical direction by Kala'i Stern, and features professional HTY company actors Junior Tesoro, Maile Holck, Kala'i Stern and Alvin Chan. Lighting designer is H. Bart McGeehon; costume designer is Sandra Payne; set and props designer is David Gerke.

About Honolulu Theatre for Youth: Honolulu Theatre for Youth is Hawaii's non-profit professional theatre company providing theatre and drama education programs that make a difference in the lives of Hawaii's young people and families. Founded in 1955, HTY is recognized the world over as one of America's most honored theatres. For more information, to receive a season brochure, order tickets to a show or learn more about HTY's educational programming call 839-9885. Tickets may also be ordered online.

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