Ohana Arts youth theatre company

The Ohana Arts Youth Theatre Company is uniquely dedicated to producing and touring original musicals written for all-youth casts based on literary works and historical events, and which promote important messages relevant to today’s youth. 

A new breed of "Theatre For Youth"

There is a dearth of musical theater repertoire expressly written for casts entirely comprised of youth.  It is our goal to commission and produce Broadway-caliber works that challenge our performers’ musical, dramatic, and dance abilities, as well as to utilize and complement their full emotional range and talents.  We have found that most often with musical theatre repertoire available for youth, that shows are either watered down, or students are having to play characters that are not their age and therefore difficult to relate to.  Furthermore, we find that youth audiences’ lives are changed by seeing talented, poised, and confident youth performing on stage, providing a truly moving experience.


The Ohana Arts Youth Theatre Company launched in 2014, with the premiere of Ohana Arts’ first original musical inspired by the life of Sadako Sasaki, “Peace On Your Wings”, which soon after embarked on a statewide tour, as well as tours to New York City and Los Angeles in 2015 and 2016, San Francisco and San Jose in 2017, and Sacramento in 2018.  Future plans for the Ohana Arts Youth Theatre Company is to continue producing and touring new works written for all-youth casts based on literary and historical works, accompanied by a curriculum and teacher’s guide that can be implemented by schools that participate in all educational and outreach performances.  These curriculums will be made available on the Ohana Arts website for schools, youth theater groups, community groups, and teachers to have as a resource, along with the option to license and perform the original works in their community.  This will provide educators, artists, and community groups a complete stage-to-classroom educational resource for years to come.


In addition to providing resources for schools, Ohana Arts Youth Theatre Company provides talented youth the extremely rare opportunity to experience being a part of a pre-professional touring theatre company, which includes getting mentored by members of the professional community, getting a taste for the demands of a professional touring schedule and working with a professional staff.  As actors, students will be challenged to often times originate roles that have never been performed before.  Throughout the program, Ohana Arts emphasizes the importance of developing good time management, being accountable, learning to think on their feet, work as a team, and be flexible in a changing environment.   Students also learn hands on though this real-world opportunity skills such as  professionalism, speaking with the press and media, recording in a studio, performing and speaking at events, traveling, and more.  


This season, we are thrilled to announce auditions Honolulu area for a summer tour of "Peace On Your Wings" in August of 2020, commemorating the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  

Production and audition information

2019-2020 SEASON

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General Auditions: 

December 7th, 2019
Kennedy Theatre (rear entrance)
University of Hawaii at Manoa


Call Backs: 

December 15th, 2019 

Kennedy Theatre (rear entrance)
University of Hawaii at Manoa

Submit an Audition Form & Application Materials by December 1st, 2019 to reserve an audition time.

Questions? Call (866) 633-0430


Summer Tour 2020

General Auditions: December 7th, 2019

Peace On Your Wings - A New Musical

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"Peace On Your Wings" is an original musical inspired by the real-life story of Sadako Sasaki and her one thousand paper cranes. Set in post-war, 1950’s Japan, the musical follow the lives of middle school students in Hiroshima.  When one of them falls seriously ill, the childrens’ lives and their tenuous bonds with each other seem to unravel. But one girl‘s

struggle and dreams for a better tomorrow teach the children---and the world---about courage, love, and peace. The play’s original musical score and book, written by Ohana Arts’ co-founders Jenny Taira and Laurie Rubin, combines modern pop with Japanese influences to create a unique, uplifiting, and inspiring show.


According to Japanese legend, anyone who folds 1,000 origami paper cranes is granted one wish. Having survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima as a toddler, Sadako grew up to be one of the best athletes and most popular students in her middle school. At age 11 she was diagnosed with leukemia, or the “A-bomb disease “ as it was then called, and given just one year to live. Hoping to be cured, Sadako Sasaki and her friends began making hundreds of origami cranes out of needle wrappings, medicine labels, and any other paper they could

find.. When she reached 1,000, she continued folding for herself and others till she died at age 12.


Sadako has come to symbolize the effects of the peace movement, as her death inspired a youth movement to have a Hiroshima memorial built in honor of the child victims. "Peace on Your Wings" features an all-youth cast, and addresses universal themes present in young people's lives, while sharing the buddhist message ’Ichi-go Ichi-e’ meaning, ‘Today is the first and last day of your life.’"

This groundbreaking show premiered on Oahu in November 2014 to a sold-out crowd.  The cast then embarked on a sold-out statewide tour in 2015.  The overwhelmingly positive response has led to an encore performance in Honolulu, as well as continuous plans for US and Japan tours.  In September of 2015, the cast and crew of Peace On Your Wings traveled to Los Angeles, California for its exciting North American premiere, co-presented by the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center at their 880-seat Aratani Theatre.  The show was incredibly well received by audiences, as the cast received standing ovations at every performance.  In 2016, the cast and crew traveled to New York City for the debut of Peace on Your Wings at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater.  In 2017, the show traveled to Northern California where a brand new cast of youth was assembled, comprised of children and teens who hailed from Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, San Jose, San Francisco, Sacramento, San Ramon, and Hawaii.  The show had a weekend run of performances in October in San Francisco at the Cowell Theatre at Fort Mason, and at the Hammer Theatre in San Jose.  In March 2018, the show was performed in Sacramento at the Benvenuti Arts Center.  In just a short time, Peace On Your Wings has already received many awards and recognitions, including a Certificate of Commendation from the City Council of Honolulu, an award from the United Nations Association of Hawaii, and a proclamation from Mayor Caldwell, who announced August 6th, 2015 as “Peace On Your Wings Day” prior to the opening night performance at Hawaii Theatre.  Peace On Your Wings has also been the subject of  two mini-documentaries by NHK (Japan’s largest news network), and has been featured on KTLA news, Broadway World, Huffington Post, and MidWeek (cover story) amongst others.

Peace On Your Wings is more than a musical theater play.  It is part of a continual movement to educate children and adults alike about the important global message of peace.  It is a way to get people to connect with an under recognized piece of history more than any textbook could convey.  Music is a universal language everyone understands which touches people’s deepest vulnerability and emotions.  Music has been utilized for centuries as the most visceral way to personally connect people with current events and past atrocities so that history will not repeat itself.  Responses to the world premiere of “Peace On Your Wings” have been overwhelmingly touching and positive.  Audience members who were not familiar with Sadako’s story have now taken her message to heart. Other audience members were victims of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki themselves, and were moved deeply by our cast of children, saying that they truly paid homage to Sadako and others like her who suffered the after effects.  Many audience members were children, and we were told by their parents that the musical both entertained and moved them.  The goal of Peace On Your Wings is to bring Sadako’s story to many more audiences, to show how it is the little gestures that make a big difference, and to teach the lesson of “Ichigo Ichie.”  It is a show that will educate audiences of American children and adults alike about a piece of history which greatly affected those in Hiroshima.


© 2020 Ohana Arts. All Rights Reserved.

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