Aloha Shorts Finds New Talent at First Open Audition

Aloha Shorts co-producers Sammie Choy, Craig Howes, and Phyllis Look saw 66 people in the five-hour audition call for new readers on June 5th. This was the first open audition ever held for this locally produced radio program, and though notices appeared in the papers, were sent out to college theatre departments and acting schools, and though we made much to-do about the auditions at our tapings and in our email notices, still we had no idea what to expect.

Our hope, of course, was to discover “hidden” talent from our community. Our larger objective: to bring more diversity to our acting pool and listenership, as well as introduce new audiences to our sponsors Hawaii Public Radio and Bamboo Ridge.

We were blown away by the response! The morning started with a line out the door of HPR’s Kaheka Street station. One actor was even waiting at the door when we arrived to set up at 8:30 a.m. and our final actor showed up just as we were closing at 3:30 pm! We heard many new voices, some who had no performing background but whose connection to the literary pieces brought a hush to the room. We’re looking forward to including them in our future line-ups. We were also surprised and honored to see several of Hawaiʻi’s veteran stage actors and three Bamboo Ridge writers who we’ve featured on previous Aloha Shorts programs (names withheld to protect the innocent).

The co-producers were ably assisted by HPR volunteer and state librarian Sheryl Lynch, as well as our associate producer Daniel Akiyama. They registered the auditionees with efficiency and aloha.

To all those who tried out, thank you for sharing your time and your love of reading aloud with us. If this was your first taste of local literature, we hope it’s not your last.

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