Dance Sensei Shares Memories of Kennedy Theatre’s First Kabuki Performance

Jodie Chiemi Ching

The last time Hawai‘i residents were treated to an authentic kabuki performance from Japan was half a century ago, in December of 1963. So, fans of the centuries-old theatre art are probably counting down the days until March 2 when kabuki returns to a familiar stage — Kennedy Theatre on the University of Hawai‘i’s Mänoa campus — for a five-day run with a final show set for March 8 at the Hawai‘i Convention Center.

Kennedy Theatre isn’t Tokyo’s famed Kabukiza Theatre, but the vision of hosting kabuki performances at Kennedy Theatre was very much on the mind of world-renowned architect I.M. Pei when he designed Kennedy Theatre in the early 1960s. Pei also designed the East-West Center’s Jefferson Hall, which is situated directly across from the theater on East-West Road.

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