LIHU‘E — Kidnapping has never been a funny subject.
Except maybe in this production of “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,” performed by the students of the Kaua‘i Performing Arts Center (KPAC).
In it, Adam, played by Kaua‘i High School senior Ralph Guest, is the oldest of seven brothers all in the hunt for wives.
Adam snags one first, Milly, played by Kaua‘i High freshman Jorey Cantu. Adam takes Milly to his backwoods home, where she meets the rest of the clan.
Milly sets out to turn them all into civil gentlemen by teaching them how to court wives of their own.
But Adam denounces the idea of courtship, and tells his brothers that if they want their women, they just have to go out and take them.
Doesn’t sound funny? Well, it is when you hear the reasoning for it and see how they actually do it.
This is a light-hearted musical with a very tight-knit cast of players who embraced the challenges of doing such an elaborate show.
The students all were in consensus when they said the biggest challenge is all the dancing and lifting.
They’ve all been in big productions before, “Guys and Dolls” and “Beauty and the Beast” to name a couple, but haven’t done complicated dancing like this, they said.
Cantu, however, knew the show pretty much backwards and forwards.
“I grew up with the show. I’ve seen it plenty of times,” she said.
“It was my grandmother’s favorite show. Whenever we’d come over, she’d make us watch the show because she didn’t want us to watch TV.” Once she heard KPAC was putting on the show, Cantu already knew which part she’d audition for.
“I had my heart set on this role,” she said. “I love the dancing and the boys taking the girls. If I didn’t get the part, I’d still want to be in it.” Cantu landed the role, and leads two casts of brides.
Music Director Alan Van Zee said this year KPAC has so many talented students that leaders of the program wanted do this big production to show off all of them.
“(KPAC Director Dennis McGraw) was really going for an ensemble cast,” he said.
“We had such a great group of guys that he wanted to go for something that will showcase these talented guys.” But it’s not just the guys.
According to Van Zee, there are so many talented girls that the brides were double-cast. Instead of there being Milly and six other brides, it’s Milly and 12 other brides.
“We’re rotating the cast. One set of brides will go up one night, and the other set on another night,” Van Zee said.
McGraw said his staff has been urging him to do this show for a while.
“We’ve always had difficulty finding a group of boys, and we had them this year. Both dancing and vocally-wise, we had the talent,” McGraw said. “I had always been a fan of the movie. This was the right year to try it.” Kaua‘i High and KPAC student Juno Ann Apalla, one of the brides, enjoyed being a part of a big cast, and said she likes the fact that there are two sets of brides.
“We get to switch off with each other and bounce off each other,” she said. “It gives us more of an opportunity.” Guest, who was most recently seen in KPAC’s annual theater festival as the time-traveling detective in “Loofa Time,” said although this is his last show with them, this is his first lead in a musical.
“I’d never been the lead. I just wanted to do it and have fun with it,” he said.
The cast is still working out the kinks in rehearsal, practicing moving the big set for scene changes, making choreography adjustments with live music and dancing in their costumes, but they’re all very certain they can pull this off.
The show opens at the Kaua‘i War Memorial Convention Hall Thursday at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance for adults and $6 for students, and are available at various locations around the island.
Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for students at the door. For more information, call the KPAC hotline at 651-2417.
The show runs till April 30.
• Lanaly Cabalo, lifestyle writer, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 237) or firstname.lastname@example.org.