na Pualani Johnson i kākau no ka hana keaka, mai nā puke o Frances Kakugawa.
na Pōhai Montague-Mullins ka unuhi ma ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi
na Wendell Ing nā mele a me ka pila hoʻokani
na Justina Mattos ka hoʻokuhikuhi hana keaka
na Kea Kapahua ka hoʻokuhikuhi hulahula
na Rachel Edwards ka hoʻokuhikuhi hīmeni
Hoʻopaʻa wikiō ʻia ma ke kula nui o Hawaiʻi ma Hilo
E pili ana i kēia hana keaka
He ʻiole haku-poema, ʻo Wordsworth. Hoʻohene nā ʻiole ʻē aʻe iā ia, a hiki i ka lā o ka ua nui. I kēlā manawa, he mea hōʻolu kāna mau poema. A ma hope o kēlā, ke poina ka noʻonoʻo o kona kupunawahine, a hoʻohāmau ʻia nā keiki, hoʻākāka nā poema i ka waiwai o ka ʻakaʻaka, ka hulahula, a me ka ʻohana no Tūtū.
Wordsworth is a mouse-poet. The other mice make fun of him and his "silly" poems, until a day when the sun disappears, the sky rumbles, and the rain relentlessly falls. That's when Wordsworth shows the others how poetry can help us through dark times. Then, when his beloved Tūtū becomes forgetful and the children are admonished to “hush” around her, Wordsworth's poems help them understand that Grandma still needs to laugh, dance, and spend time with ʻohana.
Nā Haku o Wordsworth, ka Hana Keaka
Frances Kakugawa is a retired educator and an award-winning author of fifteen books. Originally from Hawaiʻi Island, she taught for many years in the Hawaiʻi public school system, as well as serving as a teacher trainer and curriculum writer/lecturer for the University of Hawaiʻi and the State Dept. of Education. She has also taught in classrooms in Michigan and Micronesia. She has been recognized for her work by the Hawai‘i Book Publishers Association, Northern California Publishers & Authors, Mom’s Choice Awards, Sunrise Ministry Foundation, California Writers Club, Hawai‘i Pacific Gerontological Society and the Hawai‘i Japanese Women’s Society Foundation. Through her writings, workshops, school visitations, readings and speaking engagements nationwide, she is a leading advocate of the power of poetry to enrich the lives of children, the elderly, and those who care for them. She also pens “Dear Frances,” a regular column on caregiving in The Hawai‘i Herald.
Lizby has been involved with the Hawaiʻi Island theatre scene since the 1970s, frequently lending her hand as a seamstress and costume designer. An old friend of both Frances Kakugawa and Jacquelyn Pualani Johnson, it was Lizby’s inspiration to adapt Frances’ award-winning Wordsworth books from the page to the stage. Pualani is grateful to her dear friend Lizby for originating the idea of turning them into a musical. As she says, “It took one suggestion from Lizby, smiling mischeviously, to make it happen: ‘Shouldn't this be a musical?’”
Jackie Pualani Johnson was born and raised in Hilo, Hawai’i and earned B.A. and M.A. degrees in Theatre from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She retired from the Performing Arts Department at the University of Hawai`i at Hilo in 2017, after 38 years as a drama professor. Over the course of her careeer, she directed fully-staged musicals, classic drama, and contemporary offerings from Western and Ethnic theatre realms. She was the co-founder of the Hilo Community Players’ Shakespeare in the Park, celebrating 45 years of presentations in Kalākaua Park in 2022. For the last ten years, Jackie has scripted, staged, and performed living history. Her endeavors include an array of works about the Hawaiian Monarchy, most notably Vespers at Hānaiakamālama, about Queen Emma, and several plays about the last queen of Hawaiʻi: Lili’uokalani at Washington Place, The 100th Anniversary of Liliʻuokalani Gardens, Liliʻuokalani’s Goten-e Visit, Hoʻokiaʻi: Liliʻuokalani, and He Aloha lā, He aloha, which she performed at Puʻu Hulu Hulu at the Mauna a Wākeaʻs celebration of the Queenʻs birthday. Other living history work includes the scripting and directing of Anchored: Julia, Emma, and Lydia... Another Trilogy, and Final Harvest, which chronicled the closing of the sugar cane plantations. Both Portuguese and Filipino living histories round out the roster of cultures brought to life by Jackie's deep interest in our island heritages. Wordsworth is Jackie’s second venture into musical theatre, following the creation of her 2017 Hilo: Da Musical, considered her “Valentine” to her home town. Jackie is married to Edward “Mac” McMurray. Her three daughters, Kaihāwanawana, Malu, and Hailionaonaokekupuna have enriched her life with six mo`opuna, one grand-dog-er, and endless giggles and blessings.
Pōhai Montague-Mullins says she suffers from incurable middle-child syndrome, so from an early age, she developed a keen sense of humor in order to be seen and heard. The sugar cane plantations of Pāʻauhau and Hakalau served as expansive backyards for her and her 6 siblings to explore. In her early adult life, the ocean of Keaukaha replaced her backyard plantations and her 5 children grew into the shoes of her siblings. For the past 25 years, still another vista, ka Luapele, serves as her backyard, where she contentedly celebrates daily life with her partner and basks in the joy of gatherings with her children and exploration with her grandchildren. Like an intricately woven lei, the Hawaiian language and culture are intertwined in all of her life experiences enhancing every single one. The only way to live is to give Aloha!
Wendell Ing is a composer, arranger, director and life-long musician. Classically trained from the age of 7, he played the organ for many churches as a teenager. After matriculating with a B.A. in English from Princeton and J.D. from NYU Law School, he turned to a career in music, playing in bands since the 1970s, primarily with Illusion and C&K. After a 15 year stint as a lawyer in the 80s and early 90s, he happily switched to teaching music at Hilo High for another 20 years. Popular with his students, he was voted Best School Teacher in 1998 by Hawaii Tribune-Herald. He has been musical director for a number of plays at UH-Hilo, Hilo High School (PALC), and Kilauea Drama and Entertainment Network (KDEN). His original music recordings have been nominated for Nā Hoku Hanohano Awards four times, and he has won Hoku Awards with Diana Aki for her debut album, Moments With You. His environmental protest song, The Lake, was featured on the first Homegrown album. His songs have been recorded by illustrious artists such as the Cazimero Brothers, Cecilio & Kapono, and Diana Aki. Other projects have included music underscores for the Discovery Channel, UH-Hilo plays, and County of Hawaiʻi projects. He performs live occasionally, either as a solo artist or with his group, The Ing Crowd.