Theatre for the next generation.
The great majority of theater repertoire has not caught up with the constantly changing fabric of our world. There is a need to tell the stories of the people who truly represent the diverse make-up of the world we live in. We feel it is important to include youth at the center of the works we present because it is the children of today who will be leading the way for society tomorrow. We want to instill in them the importance of exposure to our diverse history, acceptance and understanding across varying life experiences, and the wherewithal to provide equitable representation and treatment of all people. Ohana Arts aims to answer the questions, “Who are the youth heroes in our history? What issues and life circumstances are youth confronted by in their every day lives? How can we raise awareness, cultivate cross-cultural understanding, start conversations about diversity, and give voice to those who are underrepresented on the stage and in the media? It is our belief that establishing a home and creative space for these new works will help carve the path towards a more peaceful world as it will educate, share stories from the universal human experience, and help build an open line of communication between people across a vast array of life experiences.
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. In the summer of 2020, Ohana Arts began work on a new musical, “Class of 2020,” based on the experiences of high school seniors whose promising lives and futures were put on hold due to the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic, scheduled for a livestream premiere in the summer of 2021. Future plans for the Ohana Arts Youth Theatre Company include continuing to commission, produce, and tour new works from the vantage points of youth with the aim of building cross-cultural understanding, and raising awareness of underrepresented groups in the performing arts. .
Ohana Arts plans to make its new works available to schools, community theaters, and other nonprofit performing arts organizations nationally and internationally to further our mission of cultivating peace through the arts, and providing opportunities for underrepresented groups to have their stories told around the world.
This season, we are thrilled to announce auditions Honolulu area for the Honolulu-Los Angeles-Hiroshima, tri-city tour (and JAPAN PREMIERE) of "Peace On Your Wings" in 2023.
"PEACE ON YOUR WINGS"
2023 Honolulu-Los Angeles-Hiroshima Tour (Japan premiere)
"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.