Lisa Matsumoto

Wednesday - April 11, 2007
By Kerry Miller | Share

Lisa Matsumoto
Lisa Matsumoto

Getting to see old friends and making new ones is just an added bonus of her work, says playwright Lisa Matsumoto. The Manoa resident just returned from a workshop in California, her play Peril of Paradise is being staged at the Honolulu Zoo, and the talented lady has a few other projects up her sleeve.

Matsumoto actually made two trips to Los Angeles to attend an ASCAP/Disney Musical Theatre Workshop led by Stephen Schwartz, composer of Broadway musicals Wicked, Godspell and Pippin. Matsumoto and her friend, songwriter Roslyn Catracchia, were selected to present their musical On Dragonfly Wings.

“The trip reunited us with several of our friends and Ohia ohana members now living in L.A. It was a great reunion with old friends as well as new and spending time together in work and play,” says the MidWeek cover subject from August 1992.

Now that she’s back, Matsumoto can concentrate on Peril In Paradise, also produced by Ohia Productions. The story follows a cast of environmentally friendly super heroes as they encounter evil super villains “Count Mosquitola,” “Randy Rat,” “Mona Mongoose” and others. This family/kid-friendly play is designed to teach the community about preserving the environment, specifically providing information about invasive species in the Hawaiian Islands.

“It’s a part of our education touring program. The whole purpose is to make learning fun and engaging,” says the 42-year-old.

Performances of Peril In Paradise are April 13, 14, 20, 27 and 28 at 7 p.m. at the Honolulu Zoo. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 general, $9 students/seniors/military, $5 children age 3 to 12. For more information, call 247-0456.

Matsumoto is particularly excited about an educational resource packet that will be made relating to the play, which will consist of a DVD, CD soundtrack and educational resource guide. They’ll be donated to every elementary school and library in the state of Hawaii.

“We’ve made it possible to make these educational programs available to students as well as families. Getting our message out to preserve our environment is important,” she attests.

On May 19, Matsumoto makes an appearance at the Book and Music Festival to do book readings and signings. For Christmas 2007, Matsumoto and Ohia Productions are putting together the annual Christmas Gift of Aloha show at Ala Moana Center, along with the possibility of creating a DVD of that show.

This summer, Matsumoto and friends plan to venture to the Big Island to catch performances of Once Upon One Time, produced by the Volcano Arts Center.

-Kerry Miller

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