The Kauai Performing Arts Center production of “Nice Work If You Can Get It!” closed last month to a resounding standing ovation and tributes to retiring KPAC Director Dennis McGraw.
In the traditional backstage circle before the first act curtain, students shared their thoughts of appreciation with McGraw for his leadership and for the program. Tears were shed.
After the final curtain bows, a video, created by Marc Sicignano,Tracy Murakami, and Lisa Pollak was shown featuring tributes by KPAC alumni from across the U.S., including one from Korea.
Following that, about a dozen alumni took stage to tell McGraw and the audience how important their personal and artistic experiences were during their years in KPAC.
McGraw assumed artistic directorship of the Department of Education program in 2001, and since that time has served as director and/or producer of more than 65 productions featuring young actors from grades six to 12. He established a student playwriting and directing program. KPAC productions have been seen by thousands of theatregoers.
In 2001, McGraw established an award for outstanding KPAC seniors and named it in honor of the program’s founder, Arnold Meister. Since that time, 24 graduating seniors have been honored, and saw the 2017 awards — plaques and $1,500 scholarships — were given to Sienna Gregerson and Ethan Combs, both leading characters in the show.
Of these two, McGraw noted that they are always early to rehearsals, always prepared and are outstanding in their talent and craft.