Joji Yoshida
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Friday - May 27, 2005
| Del.icio.us

Actors Stan Egi, Lew Lappert and Annie Yee at a recent
comedy show

I instantly liked her when she mentioned her parents are her heroes. Beth Ann Gravilla hails from Ohio, but moved to the islands last year. She’s a former gymnast and cheerleader for Glenoak High School in Canton, Ohio. Both of her parents are teachers. Her father is also a football coach. When I first saw her in acting class I knew she had it. She doesn’t have any credits to her name yet, but that will change very soon. Al Pacino, Robin Williams, Shirley Temple and Julia Roberts are her favorite actors; Closer, Dumb & Dumber and Tombstone for films. Likes to snack on Gummi Bears — my personal choice, too. Well-versed in all types of dance, and was the choreographer for Pepperdine University’s Songfest musical. Filmmakers reading this, please take note: Beth Ann is ready for her closeup …

AJ Shiarella is the younger brother of talented actress Jessica Shiarella. AJ recently won the doubles title at Ihilani in the under-14 age division. Heard through the grapevine that AJ and his partner Joey Nakaso rolled through the bracket like a freight train. AJ is only 12, but competed against older players. He attends Le Jardin Academy in Kailua as a seventh- grader. His blend of athleticism and acting talent must come from his parents. What really impressed me is AJ did several theatre productions speaking Japanese. Wow. Catch him on TV as he hosts the 2005 Teen Video Awards …

Recently saw Bob Stevens in an acting workshop and, boy, was he right on the mark. He moved me with his stirring performance, which brought tears to my eyes. He was born in Sherwood, Ore., but his family moved to Hawaii in 1970 where he attended Waipahu High School. Bob is a president of All Island Security Systems. The company is co-owned by his wife, Kandie Stevens, who is a fantastic actress herself. They recently celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary. anniversary. Congrats! I think his acting career was launched at Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlor in Kahala Mall. He performed daily to a live audience, singing birthday songs and various announcements. Farrell’s is no more; its place is occupied by Pizza Hut. Bob’s film debut was in Jus Buckaloose by Tony Silva and James Roche of Da Braddas. Bob’s voice is recognized for radio spots aired in Hawaii the past few years. He’s had a lead role in six Easter productions for Word of Life Christian Center. Bob assists senior pastor Art Sepulveda, who uses live sketches to help illustrate scripture as it applies to life scenarios. Bob likes Julia Roberts and Kevin Costner as actors; for movies it’s Top Gun and Field of Dreams. Hydroplane racing is another passion — he took sixth place as a rookie racer in the APBA Western Divisionals. Acting is still his great love — and Kandie, of course …

Actor Stan Egi came back home to finish his master’s degree in directing at the University of Hawaii. He shared major screen time with actors Whoopi Goldberg, Gena Rowlands, Matthew McConaughey and Dennis Quaid. After graduation from UH, he relocated to the Big Apple. He appeared in Broadway plays, then was discovered in a comedy club and later booked on the David Letterman show, where he was tabbed as the Robin Williams of Japan. Stan mentioned watching Robin was the key that started his career as a comedian. He worked alongside famed directors Alan Parker, Ron Howard and Aussie filmmaker Bruce Beresford. You can catch Stan’s comedy routine soon; I’ll keep you posted …

Casting News: Laine Yoshioka and Dez Gilla in Elevation by Song Whang, Bob Stevens in Plastic Leis by Ty Sanga, and Sherrie Robertson cast Christian Gutierrez, Matthew Thompson and Sean Jones in Postcards to Tutu. A big ovation to all actors! …

Sayonara to actress Kyra Poppler as she heads to Hollywood. She co-starred in The Amazing Asian by Gerard Elmore. The film stars comedians Cathy Tanaka, Andy Bumatai, Paul Ogata and Shawn Felipe. Her commercial credits are Bank of Hawaii and Pizza Hut. Seen on stage at Manoa Valley Theatre in productions of The Underpants and The Laramie Project. Kyra transitioned from the theatre to film without a hitch. That’s the mark of a versatile actor. She’s currently working on indie film The Hidden Battle by Jeff Katz with actors Gretchen Nilsen and Tanner Henderson. Really hate to see her leave. Kyra was my favorite scene partner in acting class, she always brought the best out of me. Go break a leg, girl …

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