Johnny Imaikalani Pastor, who could light up the stage and brighten a room with his larger-than-life personality, died July 15 at his Pearl City home he shared with his aunt. He was 52.

“His positivity in life and his exuberance to help others reflected the doctrine of Buddhism , said his aunt Barbara “Geolina” Muromoto, a retired Aiea High School drama teacher, with whom he lived after his parents and siblings died.

He was a certified (on the Mainland) medical assistant at the Rehab Hospital on Kuakini Street, until he was physically unable to perform his duties because of his personal health issues.

A year ago, Pastor was diagnosed with stage four cancer, “which he overcame,” said Muromoto. “A few months ago, his heart rate went down to 30, then went up to 60. The toil of dialysis three times a week, made his blood pressure low; once, he passed out. I hovered at him often, but he didn’t want that. He said, ‘Auntie, I’m a grown man.’”

Johnny Imaikalani Pastor

 On the day of his passing, Pastor had an appointment for dialysis at Pearlridge Center, but Muromoto went to awaken him, “He didn’t respond, so I called for help and the firemen came from two houses down where we lived, to do CPA, but it was too late.”

Kari Pastor, sister in law of Pastor, said “Johnny was larger than life, and he could always light up a room. Or I should say, the world. He was a big part of performances on stage and off.  He was the life of a party; if there was no party, he’d create his own party.  We’re going to miss him.”

When she was still teaching at Aiea, Muromoto tapped Pastor to be her artistic director. “From a small, plain musical theater, he exploded at Aiea High. The kids would open the door, and ask ‘Where’s Johnny?’ Everybody loved him.”

He attended Lincoln Elementary, but lived on the Mainland for a while, and attended both Aiea and Waipahu High, where he was Lei Day king one year.

He tooled around on an electric scooter, being independent,  and even officiated at a wedding when he was able to, to spread his mana‘o. “The Halekulani wanted him to officiate,” said Muromoto, attesting to his capabilities and popularity.

A seat honoring Pastor at Kaimuki High.

His acting colleagues at Kumu Kahua, Manoa Valley Theatre, Kaimuki High School Theatre, Ohia Productions and I’m a Bright Kid Foundation have flooded Facebook with postings proclaiming Pastor’s vigor, energy, will power and zest.  Devon Nekoba, a fellow actor, posted a photo of an empty seat at Kaimuki, ladened with lei and cheer, in memory of Pastor. “For you Johnny, front row center, just like always. Miss and love you,” in conjunction with a performance of Lisa Matsumoto’s “Once Upon One Time” show produced by MVT.

A posting suggesting a seat elsewhere to remember Pastor.

In a related post intended to rev up support, Nekoba added: “Could the local theatres hold one front row seat for him at one performance? He would get such a kick out of that.”
Tafa‘i Tafa‘i  seized a moment on Facebook for his salute to Pastor, saying “Although I did not know (you) very well, I could feel your alofa (aloha) bursting form your heart. You. Were a staunch supporter of the performing arts, always at one play or another, or eating up a storm at some eatery. You inspire me to live life to the fullest….Fly with angels, my friend.

Yet another Nekoba share, via Facebook.

Pastor, like many other island actors, was inspired by the example of the late Ron Bright, in being professional and deeply committed to the performance art. He appeared in numerous Bright-directed productions, always bringing joy and jubilance via his larger-than-life demeanor. The other influential ‘ohana for his training and credentials: Ohi’a Productions, and the legacy Matsumoto pidgin fairytale musicals.

Pastor regularly dressed to the nines and easily stole the limelight whenever he attended a performance. He often posted sage, sunny reviews of shows he attended, wearing the hat of a critic.

“Johnny wanted to set an example for others in his situation, to take charge of his life,” said Muromoto. “He cooked his own meals, went shopping, and clearly tried to take care of himself.”

Pastor hoped to live through Christmas, so the July passing fell short of his desired goal. Many of his peers are gleefully buzzing, that Pastor already is making his presence know amid the glow of two gurus of island theater, Matsumoto and Bright.

“He talked about a Celebration of Life, after his passing, and I’ll do it,” said aunt Muromoto, who said she has budgeting for his last hurrah, likely on Jan. 27, 2023, at the Kaimuki High theater.

Funeral services will be held Oct. 29 at the Mililani Mortuary in Waipio. Details will be announced. …

And that’s Show Biz. …


Jeffrey Seller, four-time Tony Award-winning Broadway producer, says that the outlook finally feels ripe and ready for fans and actors to congregate and celebrate theater.

Though the crippling pandemic that made life uneasy and challenging for nearly three years, “we who make our living in live entertainment are back, and  happy,” he said.

Seller, the producer of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton” blockbuster, is in town to formally announce the launch of single ticket sales starting tomorrow (July 21) in Honolulu, in an unprecedented eight-week residency at Blaisdell Concert Hall.

Speaking by phone from his Halekulani Hotel room earlier today (July 20), Seller is hosting a press conference this afternoon at Blaisdell, interviewing two of the musical’s stars, Morgan Anita Wood (Angelica Schuyler) and DeAundré Woods (Alexander Hamilton) for the local media.

Jeffrey Seller, producer of the Tony-winning “Hamilton,” due for an eight-week Honolulu run.

He said the “Hamilton” run, from Dec. 7 to Jan. 29, 2023, reflects a commitment to enable show-hungry islanders to see the iconic show and be “in the room where it happens,” to quote a moment in the show.

“It’s a big commitment, but we are doing what Hawaii deserves –a long stop to share our show with the many folks in Hawaii,” said Seller. “Honolulu has a million people and is the 11th largest city (of the U.S.) and our show is special, the kind that comes around only once a decade, like a ‘Lion King’ and a ‘Wicked.’”

“The pandemic was horrendous for all of us,” said Seller. “We who make our living in live entertainment were in a coma for 18 months, and that included everyone, from stage hands, to office crews,  costumers to artisans who make all that stuff. But the Federal government came through for us in live entertainment, to keep live entertainment alive.”

The return, last September, was a little bumpy, with second-outbreaks of COVID 19, “and our new normal still includes a couple of COVID cases very day. But we’re prepared in New York, and  now all our shows are jammed, with full houses, and the business is coming back in all the cities we play across the country,” said Seller.

“I believe we all want to congregate, get together in live entertainment, and see a show, to laugh, clap together. It’s been so gratifying.”

Seller: “Things are a little bit more normal.”

Seller said that social distancing never was tried in the theater realm, “and there was no strong evidence that it would work. Masks were mandatory till the end of June,  with Broadway adopting the optional policy last July 1, “which seems to be operating smoothly, like the airline policy.”

The casualty of the pandemic is that no one is permitted (other than authorized cast and staff) backstage anymore. Fans waiting at the stage door now are greeted by some cast heading home, autographing, Playbills like the old days, some dodging the practice.

“Outside, things are a little bit more normal,” he added.

“Everybody has to handle themselves in these unique times, in the life of the Earth,” said Seller. “There’s panic in all four corners of the Earth, and from Europe to the West Coast, there have been the largest heat wave.”

Seller has logged an impressive career in the past 21 years. Now an independent producer, he was partnering with Hawaii native Kevin McCollum, in producing such properties as “Rent,” “Avenue Q,” and “In the Heights,” musicals that have earned Tony Awards. In the process, he befriended Jonathan Larson, the composer and book writer for “Rent,” a musical that earned four Tonys (Best Musical, Best Score, Best Book, Best Featured Actor in a Musical in 1996). Their collaboration in 2003 on “Avenue Q” resulted in three Tonys, for Best Musical, Book and Score in 2004.

When staging “Rent,”  he felt that tickets should be accessible for the young, and less affluent theater-goer, so he introduced “rush” tickets for the rock musical about Bohemian life in New York, with $20 tickets available for youths, sold through a lottery, for the first two rows of the Nederland Theater.

So when “Hamilton” came along, producer Seller and composer-performer Miranda wanted to rewrite the book on rush seats with Miranda pushing a $10 ticket (one Hamilton bill) in 2015, with flocks of 2,000 vying for 35 lottery seats at the reduced  cost at the Richard Rodgers Theatre.

“Those were bedrock moments for me,” said Seller, because “everyone should get a ticket regardless of economic standing.”

So what and who comes first, the show or the producer?

“My decision to do a show is simply consequential,”  he said. “I do a show when I have to. In my career, it’s all about the pleasure of nurturing and fortifying and cheerleading a product that hits me on a visceral, emotional level.”

Like, it’s got to be inspirational, perhaps innovative, with something to say about life.

“Hamilton” fit the bill, because like its predecessor, “In the Heights,
 it featured hip-hop that spoke a new language to a new audience, and focused on language and rhythms of folks not commonly the centerpiece of a Broadway show, like Puerto Ricans and other Hispanics. Consequently, Seller is happily the show’s best salesman-seller, a hearty supporter of the needs and deeds of the show, and perhaps is the kind of booster shots every show needs. A caring, charismatic and committed producer.

So what and who comes first, the show or the producer?

“My decision to do a show is simply consequential,”  he said. “I do a show when I have to. In my career, it’s all about the pleasure of nurturing and fortifying and cheerleading a product that hits me on a visceral, emotional level.”

Like, it’s got to be inspirational, perhaps innovative, with someone with something to say about life. In short: there’s no manual on producing a show.

He said he’ll know when to shut down “Hamilton.”  “When it stops making money, we’ll close. When expenses are larger than income, it’s end of the business, like a restaurant.”

Seller has a project ahead he can’t mention yet, but his next production will be a new musical, “Only Gold,” with a score by Kate Nash and Andy Blankenbuehler ( from “Hamilton”) will direct; “It’s a dance musical, and a real passion project for Andy and myself,” he said.

Broadway, like any business, is all about making money.

“It’s all about capitalism, with supply and demand driving it, but in recent years, bots and computer programs have been able buy tickets quickly, and resold at (scalping) prices,” said Seller. …

Broadway grosses, for weekend ending July 17

As “Hamilton” tickets go on sale in Hawaii this week, it’s good to note that the show is the No. 2 grossing show last week on Broadway, with a tally of $2,255 million, with “The Music Man” still at No, 1, with $3.062 million; and No. 3 was “The Lion King,: with $2.130 million.”

The numbers are for the week ending July 17, courtesy The Broadway League:

And that’s Show Biz…


Surely, you’ve heard: The folks at Zippy’s will terminate the restaurant’s popular Zippy’s Senior Card, effective Aug. 22,  2022.

It was an unexpected  surprise that the treasured membership Senior Card would no longer be a valid in another month, since it provided a nifty 10 per cent discount at the restaurant, with the same discount  for Napoleon Bakery purchases.

The announcement to terminate didn’t mention why, but it appears to be a program that became too popular. Meaning members like me regularly use the card, a benefit for being a senior, several times a month … well worth the $20 annual fee to renew.

As a thank-you for ongoing participation, Zippy’s is offering two options:

  • A $100 food credit card, as part of a new Zipster program, an online process to monitor spending. It involves earning Zipcoins with purchases, useable for purchases, with details forthcoming in August, and likely will require an iPhone and/or a computer to monitor, options not user-friendly among the very senior folks.
  • A $20 check suitable for spending at Zippy’s to those who bypass the Zipster. Easier to adopt, and once the funds go, you’re on your own. No more card needed, no calculation required.

The reality is, inflation has been a challenge for retailers, including the restaurant-food industry.  Zippy’s – home of the Zipmin, fried chicken, chili and Napples – is a local business and not a Mainland chain (though Zippy’s is building Las Vegas outpost). Sustaining discounts eat into profits; I’d have joined the plan, even if it continued with a costly renewal every year.

The only other frequent-dining card I hold is courtesy AARP, where seniors join and have a beneficial  partner since  Outback Steakhouse welcomes  the AARP card which provides a 10 per cent discount on food (alcohol not included).

Senior-targeted non-food discount programs include Ross, the clothing/houseware outfit; Consolidated and Regal Theatre cards, which offer free popcorn, a single admission, or other perks without the patron needing to keep monitoring spending; the CVS/Longs and Walgreen cards, which enable you to buy advertised sales items at sale prices. Oh, I also buy into the Ben Franklin yearly membership card, which offers 10 per cent off all purchases, year-round. These are local merchants with ties to larger corporations on the mainland.

Zippy’s is known for its takeout fried chicken.

So stand-alone Zippy’s is to be applauded, for the duration of its Senior Card following. It allowed all of us who had the card to make “next stop Zippy’s” a truism … you go after  or before a nighttime function/event or that regular breakfast or lunch stop.

The future issue to consider: without the senior discount, will many seniors curtail their Zippy’s visit? The card – well, discount – surely was appreciated but one’s got to wonder: will patronage go down among oldsters, who may simply cut out one visit a month, or more, with a made-at-home peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or a homemade breakfast with eggs and bacon. Or with Spam.

You gotta know that prices will go higher yet, before tumbling down. So it’s somewhat astonishing to know that a side-order of Spam at Zippy’s now costs $8.10 (for three slices) and CVS Longs this week has Spam on sale for $1.99 a tin, a stupendous bargain since many retailers now charge  up to $3.98 a can. …

Hamilton’ single ticket sales Thursday

Jeffrey Seller

Single ticket sales for “Hamilton,” Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony Award-winning blockbuster musical, will begin at 10 a.m. Thursday (July 21) at the Blaisdell Center box office and at

The show premieres at Blaisdell Concert Hall at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7, and will run for an unprecedented eight-week residency through Jan. 29, 2023.

The show’s producer, Jeffrey Seller, and two actors in the cast to appear here — Morgan Anita Wood (as Angelica Schuyler) and DeAundré Woods (as Alexander Hamilton) – are in town for a press conference today. …

New playdates for postponed ‘Edwina’

The I’m a Bright Kid Foundation, the organization formed to perpetuate and preserve the legacy of the late director-teacher Ron Bright, has announced rescheduled playdates for three remaining performances at Paliku Theatre, Windward Community College.

After last Friday’s (July 15) opening night, the other weekend shows were canceled.

The new playdates are at:

— 7 p.m. Friday (July 22).

— 2 and 4:30 p.m. Saturday (July 23).

If tickets need to be adjusted, contact IABK, not Paliku Theatre, for help. If you cannot attend and hold tickets, you may request a refund. For information, email:

Cleo (full name, Cleonice) Hamm portrays Edwina; Drew Bright, a grandson of the late Ron Bright and Mo Bright, and son of Clarke and Lynell Bright, plays Scott Kunkle, a neighbor boy, who is Edwina’s love interest.

Tickets are $23 for adults 21 or older, $18 for seniors 65 and older plus students and active-duty military, and $13 for children 3-12. Tickets for video element are available online  

And that’s Show Biz. …


We all had ‘em, growing-up time. You know, foods you hated.

As an adult, most of the hatred disappeared. But the memories linger.

Here’s an admission from the memory bank.

Sliced raw tomatoes were foods I hated as a kid.

I hated raw, sliced tomato. You know, the sliver that came with most burgers and some sandwiches. What I did was glide and remove the red veggie from the burger to the plate.

But there were other foods that were a struggle to swallow; over the decades, I learned to get accustomed to some:

  • Raw celery. The taste was, well, offensive. Can now eat ‘em if chopped small in a salad; in stews, it’s OK now.
Raw celery was on my list, too, but I now can handle cooked and finely-chopped salad celer
  • Natto. The icky, sticky fermented soy bean thing. In my book: This. Was. Not. Food. Still can’t handle it.
  • Peppers. Green ones, red ones, yellow ones. Recall the time I went to a luncheon and a tuna-stuffed red pepper was the meal. I only could eat the tuna. Now, I can handle red and yellow peppers, raw or cooked. Still don’t enjoy the green ones.
  • Pickles. Large, small, chopped – still don’t eat them. Yep, they’re removed from my Big Mac at McDonald’s. Have tried to appreciate Italian dills, particularly the ones that taste like local-style pickled cucumbers.
  • Raw onions. Will eat the sweet Maui onions, even raw; cooked sliced onions are OK. Chopped fine in salads, OK.
  • Siracha hot sauce, the kind of heat that makes you sweat. In the “hot’ realm, I don’t enjoy buffalo wings, really hot kim chee, and anything seasoned with the heat, from chips to anything “flaming.”
  • Raw oysters. My biggest faux pas, as an adult, was ordering a dozen oysters that I thought would be Oysters Rockeller (cooked). Still can’t handle raw oysters.

What foodstuff couldn’t you handle when you were growing up?…


After 52 years, the annual Ukulele Festival Hawaii will stage its final celebration with a virtual concert from 7 p.m. tomorrow ( Sunday, July 17) via KHNL.

Roy and Kathy Sakuma, founders and caregivers of the event for more than half a century, retired from active participation in planning and staging the event.

So the Sakumas will present their final festival showcase via television and streaming. It’s closure time, for sure, after years of memories and joy.

Both continue to be the tireless instructors at their Roy Sakuma Ukulele Studios throughout the decades, even with the retirement, but wanted to have closure to the hugely popular summertime attraction.

Herb “Ohta-san” Ohta

Thus,  streaming event – also viewable at the Ukulele Festival’s Facebook page —  will spotlight a gallery of ukulele specialists and a few singers, reflecting the range of uke strummers since the inception of the festival. The only missing element will be the hundreds of kids and some adults, performing live at the Kapiolani Bandstand, witnessed by thousands of supporting residents and visitors.

The slate will include Sakuma, Herb “Ohta-san” Ohta, Danny Kaleikini, Jake Shimabukuro, Herb Ohta Jr., Paula Fuga, Natalie Ai Kamauu, NUE comprising Bryan Tolentina, Kama Hopkins and Halehaku Seabury. …

Rain forecast today at McKinley High

Crossing Rain, Hawaii’s boy band faves, will give a pair of concerts – at 2 and 7 p.m. today (Saturday, July16) – at McKinley High School. Student tickets are $25.

The group will feature dancers as part of its performance.

XR, as the group also is known, includes single-monickered troupers:

  • Monarch: lead rapper, vocalist, dancer.
  • Asher: lead dancer.
  • Haru: dancer, vocalist.
  • Jorden (aka J): lead vocalist, dancer.
  • Devin: vocalist, dancer.
  • Shotaro: dancer, vocalist.
XR members,  clockwise from bottom right:: Monarch, J, Asher, Devin, Shotaro and Haru. (Karl Sakamoto photo )

Seeking national and international fame, the island-based ensemble has been staging numerous free mall concerts and more conventional formal shows like at Blaisdell Concert Hall, creating stir among young fans. …

Try wait, he wrote and won

Kumu Kahua’s “Go Try Play Write” June winner is Daniel James Kunkel, whose short entry entitled “Commencement Speech to the Class of ’30,” was deemed best. He is a Maui County attorney who previously appeared in Kumu Kahua’s “The Territorial Plays” in 2004.

Each month Kumu Kahua Theatre co-sponsors this playwriting contest with Bamboo Ridge Press in their combined effort to nurture local playwrights and authors.

The July contest is under way, and entrants must submit a 10-page scene dealing with a conflict between supporters of different gubernatorial candidates. An example of the friction might involve sign wavers on the streets or placard posters in the neighborhood.

For entry rules, visit:

And that’s Show Biz. …