Kip Wilborn has announced his retirement as executive director at Manoa Valley Theatre, effective Nov. 6.

He will be succeeded by Kathleen Young, who has three decades of experience in New York and Hawaii. She has been serving as MVT’s director of development under Wilborn’s leadership.

Wilborn exits MVT on the heels of a successful box office hit, “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” which closed earlier this month as the theater group’s first production of the 2023-24 season.

Wilborn, pictured, is a seasoned performer-director, who was on the MVT board since 2012, taking over the reins in 2019, following the retirement of Dwight Martin. With the COVID 19 pandemic shutting down production on all theatrical fronts, Wilborn faced the financial challenges by pivoting to online programming and secured federal grants to stay afloat, maintaining staff employment, launching diversified programming, creating online digital and streaming content, and expanded collaborative partnerships, with the diversity still in place today. He worked with a nationally recognized arts marketing group to revamp their strategies for audience development and donor building strategies.

Thus, the MVT website is Honolulu’s liveliest, with a string of audience-friendly activities like open mic nights for comedians and singers, screening of films like “Rocky Horror Picture Show,” and “Mission Monday” observances to support the performing arts.

“Kip Wilborn took on an almost impossible task and showed the world how to overcome and achieve,” said  Dave Kennedy, board chair. “The theatre is the beneficiary of his efforts, dedication, and leadership. Kip leaves a deep and broad legacy, and the theatre will benefit from his achievements for generations to come.”

Another board member indicated that one of the reasons Wilborn was retiring was personal — to tend to familial care and wellness needs.

Wilborn possesses a powerful baritone voice and has a stream of operatic credits here and abroad, and in local theater, he is remembered for his portrayal of Jean Valjean in the Ron Bright-directed “Les Miserables” musical.

Young, pictured, has made significant contributions to prestigious institutions like Blue Man Production and Playwrights Horizons in New York City. Since 2011, she’s been a community-oriented leader in Hawaii’s non-profit sector, with prior roles at Susan G Komen Hawaii and Honolulu Theatre for Youth. She is noted for her dedication to enrich her community through volunteer work and event curation.

Seems like MVT will be ready for the change…

An early Christmas

Christmas arrives early for romantic pianist  Jim Brickman, who has his share of diehard Hawaii fans. Chrissy Metz, from NBC’s “This Is Us,” will be a guest star on “A Joyful Christmas,” a a Facebook Life concert Thursday (Oct. 26) at 8 p.m. ET (2 p.m. Hawaii time) as part of his 50-city Christmas agenda.

Honolulu is not part of his winter tour.

Details at

A BRAVE night

One of Hawaii’s premier local bands, B.E.T. and a hot boy band Crossing Rain, will perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday (Oct. 28) at the Joseph Rider Farrington Auditorium on the Farrington campus.

The event is a fundraiser for Brave Hawaii, an organization combatting bullying, and is timed to the observation of National Anti-Bullying Month, in October.

Tickets: $30 VIP (includes meet-and-greet), $25 for lower level seating and $15 for upper level seating.

Comedian Augie T is a presenter and also will perform.

B.R.A.V.E., created by Mahealani Sims-Tulba (Augie’s daughter), stands for “Be Respectful and Value Everyone.”


Broadway grosses, for week ending Oct. 15

Not surprisingly, the long-running musicals dominate the Top 10. Only two new musicals from the fall season, “Merrily We Roll Along” and “Back to the Future: The Musical,” are among the charted leaders; and only one hit from last season, “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” has earned a coveted slot.

The Top 10:

  • “The Lion King,” $2,090 million.
  • “Hamilton,” $1.931 million.
  • “Wicked,” $1,906 million.
  • “Sweeney Todd,” $1,739 million.
  • “Merrily We Roll Along,” 1,706 million.
  • MJ: the Musical,” $1,622 million.
  • “Aladdin,” $1,348 million.
  • “Moulin Rouge: the Musical,” $1,307 million.
  • “Back to the Future,” $1,240 million.
  • “Harry Pottter and the Cursed Child,” $1,198 million.

The full list, courtesy the Broadway League:

And that’s Show Biz. …

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