As a youth, Trevor Tamashiro had inclinations about becoming an actor in musicals.

“I went to college to major in theater,” he said. “I had plans to pursue studies at the Ailey School (of the prestigious Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre in New York).”

But after college, he retooled his goals to the administrative side of the performing arts, “because I was hooked on admin,” he said.  “I went to Columbia University, to learn about the admin side, not to major in fundraising.”

In May of this year, Tamashiro – born and raised in Honolulu – was hired to lead Diamond Head Theatre as executive director and the history-making first Asian American to shape the future of Hawaii’s largest theater group.

He succeeds Deena Dray, who resigned before the formal launch of the new $22 million headquarters, which had just opened after 125 years of service in an aging facility a stone’s throw from Diamond Head, the state’s best known landmark.

Over breakfast at Zippy’s Kahala recently, Tamashiro, 42, shared his thoughts and plans about his stewardship of DHT.

Yes, he’s immensely thrilled to be back in the islands, after years of different stints in mostly fund-raising jobs at non-profit entertainment endeavors in The Big Apple.

He is old enough to make a difference with the skills suited for his administrative and funding tasks, yet young enough to have potential longevity to build and grow and soldier on, for the next four of five decades of service, lord willing.

“I think my timing’s great,” he said of his situation. “Not really thinking of making it to the 200th anniversary, however.”

On paper, he boasts nearly two decades of experience in non-profit executive leadership, having served as chief advancement officer of The Diller-Quaile School of Music, deputy director of the Saratoga International Theater Institute, deputy program director for the Drama League of New York and  briefly allied with the Broadway Dance Center. He also is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and is a certified fundraising executive.

Early on, he was ready to set roots in the craft he enjoys: live theater. Live, stage musicals.

“I was in the ensemble of ‘The King and I’ at DHT in 1999,” said Tamashiro, flashing a huge grin indicative of a truly happy memory. But his official stage debut was earlier in 1996, when he was 16 or 17, appearing in Army Community Theatre’s “Damn Yankees.”  “My first show,” he smiled with more good cheer.

A few days after he took on the leadership, he was mingling with locals taking in DHT’s “Beauty and the Beast” production. Eyes and ears wide open, he attends the DHT along with audiences, soaking in the pleasures of folks taking on a show. Staff appears to adore him, because the feeling is mutual, as he brings a passion for performing in his new job, with an affinity for the thousands who take on roles in six productions every year, yet with a mindful focus to entail fundraising and day-to-today operations of a thriving theater group. A singing and dancing leading man aren’t in the cards anymore; the bigger picture will matter more.

“I learn a lot by talking to and listening to people,” Tamashiro  said.

His governance style is to initially keep his eyes and ears open, and create relationships along the way.

“Right now, it’s all about sustainability,” he said. “Keep going, get better, and grow.”

Clearly, he is not rushing to get somewhere quickly. “I think in my first year here, I need to absorb as much as I can,”  said Tamashiro. Even if he was born and raised here, “I fear I’m still somebody new.”

With the pandemic in his rearview mirror,  Tamashiro said theater (including DHT) still has a lot to explore.

He took to the stage, before the curtain went up for “Beauty,” not just to introduce himself but to proclaim that there’s still some barriers before a full recovery is imminent. Thus, the reality is he has to boost and promote, following the examples of the retired Dray and the still-in-service John Rampage, DHT’s longtime artistic director.

“The numbers are not back,” he said of subscription renewals at DHT. “We lost 1,000 subscribers this year, and we hope next year will be better.” That equates to nearly two full houses at the DHT’s new home.

While optimistic that the new facility fulfilled its fundraising goal, DHT still seeks $2 million that would help complete what he calls the TAB – the Theatrical Arts Building – which is the restoration and rebuilding of the wedge of the standing segment of the original facilities to house administrative offices, new rehearsal space and classrooms to maintain the operational needs of the theater apart from the new building.


Where you wen’ school:

“I graduated from Punahou
School. I went to college
 at the University of Miami to
study Theatre Arts, and then
 got a Master of Science degree in
Nonprofit Management
from Columbia University.”

 What food you wen’ mis:
“Regarding food, I missed
the things I grew up
 eating like Spam musubi
 and shave ice. I also
 missed Zippy’s chili and rice.”
 What else you wen’ like:
“I think I missed the people
 and the culture most.
 Yes, it is beautiful in
 Hawaii and there’s ono
 food. But the real
beauty of Hawaii is
 the people. The
kindness, the humility,
and the generosity of
 spirit that is inherent
in the culture here
is unmatched. There
are nice people in New
 York, but not like Hawaii.”


Asked if he regrets that the rebuilt facility pretty much has the same seating capacity in the old theater, he said no. “We have a 470 capacity (in the newbie) and that’s ample; if we had more seats, we’d have to have a (larger) ratio of more parking spaces.”

He misses a traditional theater lobby (there’s none now) but advises locals who loved the nostalgic scenic shots from historic shows not to fret;  “they weren’t destroyed; we have them stored and could perhaps use them in rehearsal rooms later.”

The design team  before Tamashiro’s hiring eliminated a central main entrance from the back of the house into the aisle of seats, and while there exists such a modified entry way, it is not in use in favor of the makai-side double-door entry and exit routes.

Tamashiro also is working with the tech crews to train and maximize the use of fly space, which was lacking in the old building, and the purchase of a projection device to display slides and scenic  visuals already is in place during the “Beauty” run, and he’s taking notes on how to improve the sound equipment and other issues that develop.

Admission costs have soared in theaters across the globe, a particular hardship for those who can’t afford the prevailing ticket prices, and Tamashiro hopes to have an amnesty ticket some day for those who can’t afford retail that would be financed by those who can.

Changes take time and effort, he said, so he’s thrilled “to have that chance to make a difference.” …

“Mamma Mia,” the ABBA-loaded jukebox musical playing Sept. 22 through Oct. 15 (extension dates included), will formally launch his first full season at DHT. Wonder if he’ll be chirping and tapping along, “Take a Chance on Me.” …

And that’s Show Biz. …


An open letter to Henry Kapono

From Wayne Harada

Re: A Mele for Maui

First, kudos for your 50 Years of the Songs of C&K concert Saturday Aug. 26 at the Tom Moffatt Waikiki Shell. Indeed, it’s been a good time together, and C&K tunes provide the soundtrack of all our lives in Hawaii.

FYI, I’ve been hospitalized at Queen’s Medical Center for nine days, released last Friday, because of health issues. My wavering health prevented  me from attending. I’m OK with lots of hurdles ahead.

But from my hospital bed, I watched the ravishing of Lahaina and homes swallowed by a raging wild fire. Also saw promos for your milestone concert, simultaneously, the eyes of the world were focused on the astounding devastation and destruction of Lahaina town due to the uncontrollable flames as lives and homes were decimated.

Then I had an “aha” moment, about Hawaii’s most prolific and productive singer-composer; that you could put your imprint, with the kokua of other stellar Hawaii performers, to compose, record and perform A Mele for Maui that many would embrace.

Your voice and wisdom have been essential in community matters, and I hope and wonder if you might step up and with imfluence lead this valuable mission, to compose a “We Are the World”-type of mele that would unify, solidify, verify, and identify the pride and power of this Maui/Hawaii mission to provide help, funding and support of this global catastrophe.

It would have been a profound moment, if this tune had been written and performed with your Waikiki Shell cast, but the clock is ticking. So better late than never.

If anyone can do it, you probably have resources and partners to pull this off. Recording  the tune, of course with a companion video, would ultimately and undoubtedly raise funds for the restoration and rebuilding of Lahaina. Indeed, nothing could be finah for Lahaina if you do get this one launched.

And imagine the world premiere; the networks will tune in to help publicize the effort.
I thank you for listening…

And that’s Show Biz. …


I’m back, I’m beaming, and I’m blessed.

Folks and friends: I was released from Queen’s Medical Center yesterday and finally home after eight days. I daresay it was a learning experience in real time.

Yes, I contend that a hospital is a hotel for folks who need fixing; it’s not the staycation you want  or plan, but the level of repairs and fixes depend on the severity of your illness. Rest, recovery, and a return to the normal of the recent past are part of the goal.

Mine is a work in progress; home free, but lot to arrange, like home service kokua, several follow-up doc appointments.


  •  I checked in without luggage; now, I have two companions which will be close to me and go anywhere I go. It’s a pair of drainage pouches, one to collect for scrutiny, from the abscess in my liver, the other to gather rather gross bile from my gall bladder.  Miraculously, a tube has been placed in my problematic zone, and this is something I have to do endure for several weeks.
  • I also received a walker to support my wobbly mobility; have had in-house training down the corridors of Queen’s. Have to diligently include this in my recovery phase, but walkers never have been part of my life. You know, walkers that were integrated in the hilarious hit Broadway musical, starring. Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick and a cast of walker dancers ingeniously choreographed to show the potential fun you can have with your aluminum gizmo involved with your care home or neighborhood seniors. But seriously, this is no joke, a moment of truth.
  • I also had my Queen’s wristband on, when I returned — this was the golden key to anything and everything for two weeks.

Don’t make a big deal about it, but I can tell you that Queen’s has had two malfunctions with their fire drill alarms. Two nights in a row. Could. Not. Shut. It. Down. The last one, at 1 a.m. the last morning of my stay, was roaring and ringing for 70 minutes.

Most patients were up, natch, and the piercing noise sucked.

Ask the Moaner across the way, who shouts and yells stuff I cannot comprehend; I believe he thinks he had to compete with the malfunction, so he was noisy but not as loud as the efferent bells.

Hospital neighbors are valuable for sustaining a peaceful visit to fix what you have broken. I may be niele, but I never ask neighbors because like me, I believe they  value the own privacy.  Guy 1 was in the bed over the nifty dividing curtain, for four days; we exchanged  hellos, but while I could hear over the curtain, I never discovered what his issues were. Guy 2 replaced him and while I dodged conversation, we chatted briefly on two occasions. While friendly, he was a noisy dude with six daughters and a son, and something like 17 grandchildren and one on the way; there were birthday calls for him, and except for one daughter,  there were no visits. However, business associates  were unintentionally loud with no concern for their own privacy.

This is why I told dear friends and family not to visit, knowing it’s a genuine  note of concern, so I appreciate the kind words of support from ya’ll. Cha and Jack sent lovely, sweet-scented yellow roses; my cousin Loreen and her hubby Butch sent a gorgeous card comprising a fab bouquet; when squeezed, it transformed into a bowl blooms. Both items provoked positive responses from the health staffer.

Stuff I’ve learned during the hospital sojourn:

— There’s always an angel to guide you through the dark times. Mine is my devoted wife Vi, the only “visiitor” I had daily, and she helped get me through these tough times. Thanks, hon!

  • Worry not about your open gown flashing your derriere; the first time is uncomfortable, there might be brisk rear wind, but go ahead and flaunt it. Only you feel the embarrassment.
  • Dunno about the women, but the creator of the bedside urinal did a bum job; it’s virtually impossible to not leave a drip on the bedding. I did the urinal thing, but also had diapers (again, no shame), plus a device that swooshed up the pee…but the buggah when leak.
  • A huge mahalo, too, the medical team led by Dr. Rho,  skippered this journey of wellness for me.
  • Can’t send enough thanks to the crew of nurses, who serve timelessly, night and day, with a smile and joy… It would be proper to tip ‘em, but uncomfortable and inappropriate if he/she wiped you after No 2. Awkward!



A hospital is a hotel for broken bodies, I’m discovering.

When you check in, you leave your attitudes and anxieties outside and forget about your worries and embarrassments! Toss out modesty, too~

And oh, no underwear allowed, too.

I’ve been in Queen’s Medical Center for a week, not by choice but necessity, and I’m blessed with having a team of 10 or so  doctors monitoring my situation, with supported by a very devoted and helpful staff of nurses.

I was broken, and needed fixing.

The day I was wheeled in via an ER ambulance on Aug. 11, I didn’t realize the cause or seriousness of the health; the doctors helped solve the mystery through X-Rays and Cat scans. The problem:

I developed abscesses in my liver and gall bladder and the treatment included draining both gooey messes.  Now, when I go home, I will still have drains next to my right rib cage. Surgery to remove the ball bladder might be an option, but will have to wait.

Patience  and perseverance will be required, since treatment and healing have to best buddies to resolve this problem.

A hospital also is like an opera and a drama. There’s a lot or orchestrated treatments and roles, with blood  drawn and tested, and a chorus of liquid drips, including antibiotics.

The roles are plentiful and varied, most performed by a corps of nurses, both male and female, who arouse you in the wee hours to dispense your meds, or bring you extra blankets amid frigid nocturnal corridors.

In theatrical terms, they are dressed in chic work uniforms in stunning hues, from black to baby blue, from purple to dark green, from hot pink to olive green, and more.

Last night, the hospital’s fire alarm screamed for an hour and 10 minutes, the second day for this fire drill faux pas to happen. Life moved on like nothing happened.

There was a fella down the hall, I could only hear, not see. Mostly during the evenings, he would moan a mantra probably only he could understand.

There are many house rules; you don’t get to decide what you’ll wear, so yep, the noble hospital gown, with backside open to show your derriere, is the only garment you wear. So you get used to it.

if you cannot walk normally, buzz for your needs. In my case, a therapist on my team mandates I use the walker to go to the bathroom, or move from bed  to a chair for meals. I cannot eat meals in bed; the logic being, I need to regain my awareness of the need to re-evaluate my life at home.

On several mornings, he’d visit the room and we’d walk the walk in the corridors together, engraining in my mind how to properly navigate  with the walker. The secret: with arms on both sides of the device, your legs and body must be close to the front of the walker, the best way to avoid a fall. He asked how many shows I saw in New York, and he couldn’t believe it.

My doctors clearly have bright minds and know how to put the puzzle together. You know the old adage but not being to read a legible doctor’s prescription? Kinda true; there’s a daily chalk board of sort lists the daily nurses attending to me; the docs scribble instructions  in shorthand, I can’t fathom what’s what.

OK, this is a revelation. The hospital has no shower in the rooms, so nurses wipe you down, with brisk moves like they’re washing a car, from top to down there. I cringed a bit, the first I had this bath. Now, it’s part of my daily routine.

I’ve eaten more heart-healthy meals since becoming a patient. You can order breakfast for lunch or vice versa, but I highly recommend the Angus on a bun with lettuce and cheese, the chicken jook, the chicken salad sandwich, and the roast park. Fruit faves: watermelon and pineapple, and have not yet a veggie salad I like. Forget the bagel, bad!  The waffles can be had with low-cal syrup, and the wedge of haupia is ono. But skip the so-called ice cream; like bad ice cakes on a stick, but an assortment jello and puddings fulfill a sweet tooth. You order in advance, but even with a late, you’ll get it anytime.

So an update; I’ve not crossed that bump in the read yet, so I’ll likely be bedding here for another two daysl Around here, you take one step at a time, one day at a time. There can’t be a tomorrow if there’s no today or yesterday. Every day matters…



Those who know me know I like the Apple Fritter pastry. My fave is the one at McDonald’s, which is nicely glazed with suger with apple flecks. It costs nearly $3 apiece.

When I visited the new Target’s at Windward Mall in Kaneohe, I picked up a four-pack of Apple Fritters, which cost nearly $6.

So clearly, it’s a better price. Target’s version (above, top) has a similar glaze with apple specks, and and the Fritters here a skosh larger than McD’s (above, bottom) it’s also slightly coiled like the carnival treat, the funnel cake, though the Fritter is a doughnut, not a cake.

Did a taste test, and while I enjoyed Target version, the McD version had a more appealing, tastier glaze.