X MARKS THE SPOT
CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
After a successful run that had Diamond Head Theatre's cast taking it all off for "The Full Monty," the theater is set to open "Disney's Aladdin Jr." with an all-youth cast on Dec. 2.
DHT is third longest running in U.S.
The show must go on. And on. And on and on and on. Diamond Head Theatre, now midway through its 91st year, is the third-oldest, continuously operating theater in the United States.
Diamond Head Theatre
Address: 520 Makapuu Ave., Honolulu 96816
Main phone: 808-733-0277
Box Office: 808-733-0274
That makes the theater -- on the cusp of Fort Ruger, in the shadow of Diamond Head and on the flanks of Kapiolani Community College -- not only a historical landmark, but a cultural imperative as well.
It all began when thespian wannabes Will Lewers, Mrs. Walter F. Dillingham, Helen Alexander, Margaret Center and Gerrit Wilder created a troupe called the Footlights. Their first production was "The Amazons," by Pinero, which hit the boards on April 28, 1915, at the Honolulu Opera House.
That first show led to many others, and by 1934 they reorganized into Honolulu Community Theatre, with a mission statement that commits itself to community service through the art of theater, including Hawaii's people in the audience, onstage and backstage. During the war, the troupers became troopers, entertaining military personnel rotating through the islands.
That legacy earned the group access to the Army movie theater at Fort Ruger in 1952, and there they've stayed. Over the years, the old movie house has been transformed into a modern theatrical center. The location inspired a more specific name, and in 1990, Honolulu Community Theatre became Diamond Head Theatre.
Each season, the theater whips up six productions, including five musicals, as well as acting, voice and dance classes throughout the year. Audiences each year number about 40,000.
"X Marks the Spot"
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