FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
Shawna Masuda with other cast members of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" during rehearsal at Richardson Theatre.
Actress’ life goes ‘Technicolor’
At times in an entertainer's life, everything seems to come together. Shawna Masuda's "day job" this spring is studying cosmetology at Honolulu Community College, something not only practical for personal use and a potential career, but also handy backstage during rehearsals for Army Community Theatre's revival of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat."
'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat'
On stage: 7:30 p.m. Thursdays to Saturdays, through March 10
Place: Richardson Theatre, Fort Shafter
Tickets: $20 and $28 adults, $15 and $22 children
Call: 438-4480 or visit www.square one.org/ACT
"I'm actually helping some of my cast members with make-up tips," Masuda said.
"The head of our department (at HCC) is Diamond Head Theatre's make-up wig stylist, so she knows a lot. They also have programs to have students help out with shows, and that's good too."
"Joseph" opens this week with Ethan Okura in the title role and Masuda as the Narrator in this early Tim Rice/Andrew Lloyd Webber musical version of the well-known Biblical story.
Joseph, sold into slavery by his jealous older brothers, rises to power in Egypt and eventually saves Egyptians and Jews alike from a seven-year famine. Keoki Kerr co-stars as Pharaoh, with Afinju McDowell as Potiphar, Lowen Patigayon as Potiphar's wife, Dean Reiners as the Baker and Scott Wallace as the Butler.
"It's very, very colorful, obviously, with a 'technicolor dreamcoat,' and there are a lot of children in it," Masuda says. "They're cute, I look almost exactly like them (in size) and there's a couple of kids that are taller than me."
The operatic format makes it easier for her to memorize her lines. "There's no actual dialogue, so you can memorize it a lot easier by just popping in your CD ( and) listening to it in the car going to class or rehearsal."
FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
Shawna Masuda with co-star Ethan Okura, who plays Joseph, sold into slavery by his brothers in the ACT production of "Joseph and the Amazing Techicolor Dreamcoat."
Masuda has enjoyed consistent success in local theater since she wowed audiences as Kim in Army Community Theatre's controversial "Miss Saigon" in 2005. Although many took issue with the revised ending, which appeared to trivialize the death of an Asian woman, there was nothing but praise for Masuda's portrayal of the star-crossed heroine. Success followed success as Masuda went on to stellar performances in "Beauty and the Beast," "Kismet," "Cats" and "Thoroughly Modern Millie."
Masuda will reprise the role of Kim in a concert version of "Miss Saigon" in Madison, Wis., in March. She says the director of the show contacted her after seeing an anonymously posted video clip of her singing "I'd Give My Life for You" on YouTube.
Masuda recently made her debut as a lounge/concert singer when she appeared with Jim Brickman at the Blaisdell Concert Hall in January.
Learning all the songs in a short time, and meeting Brickman just the day before the show, was a challenge . "I'm not very good at improv and I learned a lot from watching how Jim does it, and how he brings things from one song to the next."
At some point, Masuda says, she'll want to test the market in New York or Los Angeles, but for now she's enjoying the unique opportunities available here.
Local directors here don't think of roles as "Caucasian-only," she said. "Like Millie was a tall leggy Caucasian, and I'm short and Asian, or Belle (in 'Beauty and the Beast') was French and I am not. In Hawaii you can do those roles, and then when you move to a bigger place they can see that you can handle that kind of role."