Monday, August 22, 2016

Kathy Collins Maui Actress and Entertainer

This is what I know of Kathy Collins.  She is a local talent here on island and has lived on Maui most of her life.  I recognize her as an actress and radio personality with a distinct sultry voice.  She also had a role in the full-length movie Get a Job, which premiered at the Hawaii International Film Festival.   I saw the movie when it first came to Maui and loved it!  The actors do a great job portraying the colorful characters that only Maui can inspire.  Trust me it will make you laugh and help you understand the vibe of Maui.

I was introduced to Kathy by a mutual friend while at the Willie K show at the Marilyn Monroe mansion; this venue is located at the King Kamehameha Golf Club. Kathy Collins connected to the music and I admired her dancing style and finesse! She has the moves that flowed with the cool blues and original songs of Willie K and his Warehouse Band. What a beautiful place, designed by the famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The views are amazing of the valley, distant ocean and Mount Haleakala. People are nice here on Maui and I asked Kathy if I could interview her for my blog. She graciously agreed to talk story with me.


I did some research and discovered there is so much more to this energetic creative woman that I did not know about.  She is a storyteller, comedienne, and dancer.  She writes a weekly column for the Maui News Sharing Mana'o and is a regular contributor to Maui No Ka Oi magazine. Kathy and her husband Barry Shannon founded Mana‘o Radio 91.5 FM and as of this writing, she is no longer involved in the day to day operations of the station:   www.manaoradio.com

Collins has been entertaining audiences for more than 40 years and regularly performs at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center and has done several one-woman shows and owes much of her success to a girl she simply calls “Tita” her alter ego pidgin-speaking character.  Tita is a local girl with a lot of attitude and won her the 2005 Hawaii Music Award for Comedy Album of the Year Tita Out.  This was the first act she recorded.   Collins frequently appears at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center and is an emcee around the island.

Other performances include playing Bloody Mary in Maui Academy of Performing Arts' production of South Pacific.  Collins has been participating in storytelling and spoken word festivals since 2001.  She has entertained audiences in California and Arizona.  She brought the story of Pele to life in New York City at the Lincoln Center Out of Doors Project.  She has attended a storytelling festival in Canada’s Northwest Territories and is now a regular at the annual Talk Story Festival in Honolulu. 

Kathy Collins' Death Comedy Jam is an irreverent look at death and widowhood.  When she lost her husband in 2007 she turned her sorrow into a one-woman show.  On the show’s opening night in January 2009, she played to a sold-out crowd.   Collin tells me, “I've been fortunate to have Willie K as a musical guest at each of my shows; at the Death Comedy Jam, he did a deeply personal, poignant monologue about his father's passing.”  Her most recent show at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center was Sharing Mana'o and More in 2015.

I asked Kathy Collins:  What inspired you to become an actor, comedian and DJ?  When did you know and at what moment did you decide to take make this your career path?

Kathy:  “I was very active in speech and drama activities while attending Baldwin High School.  My teacher Miss Sue Ann Loudon taught drama at BHS.  She built a remarkable program which spawned  professional entertainers like Amy Hanaialii and Eric Gilliom, even Candis Cayne (now a friend and mentor of Caitlin Jenner), as well as many of Maui's community theatre performers. Miss Loudon put the greasepaint in my blood and I owe my career to her guidance and encouragement.  The first time I stepped on stage before an audience, playing a Munchkin in The Wizard of Oz, I was hooked. I was 13 and I knew then that theatre would be a lifelong passion. When I graduated from high school in 1974, there were very few opportunities for Asian-American actors. That's why I got into radio. I got my first radio job at 17 and did a little community theatre whenever I could. Storytelling as a profession grew out of the skits I did on the radio.

My last question for Kathy Collins:  Sum up the reason you feel Maui is special to you.  What does the expression or the meaning of the Maui Magic mean to you?

Kathy: “I think anyplace one calls home is special. To me, Maui Magic is the beauty and diversity of the island itself.”

Kathy Collins will be performing 12 Angry Jurors at the ProArts Playhouse in Kihei. The 12 Angry Jurors, is a fascinating peek into the jury room and a true glimpse of human nature and social dynamics. Best known as the 1957 film 12 Angry Men, starring Henry Fonda, the story was written as a 1954 teleplay by Reginald RoseThe Maui version of the 12 Angry Jurors is directed by Angela Thompson, and will be presented four times this weekend, at 7:30pm August 18th Thursday through Saturday August 20th, and at 3pm August 21st Sunday. Tickets may be purchased by calling 463-6550 and you can get more information online at proartspacific.com.

Kathy’s other upcoming emceeing gigs, include the Plantation Festival at Kaahumanu Center and Kihei 4th Friday August 26th, and the 1st Friday in Wailuku September 2nd.  Drop by and say Aloha!




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