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46 Merchant St
Honolulu, HI, 96813
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My Name Is Gary Cooper Premieres at Kumu!

Charisma Industries

My Name is Gary Cooper

WHAT: My Name is Gary Cooper by Victor Rodger
WHERE: Kumu Kahua Theatre, 46 Merchant Street
WHEN: January 22 – February 22, 2015 (see schedule below)
COST: $5.00-$20.00
INFO: 536-4441,
SPECIAL EVENT: Following the performance on Friday, January 30th, there will be a talk-story with director, David O’Donnell.


The 44th season at Kumu Kahua Theatre continues with the Hawai’i premiere of Victor Rodger’s acclaimed play. called it:


My Name is Gary Cooper creates a trajectory of reckoning for a young man whose life has been roughly shaped by the effects of a Hollywood film crew on his home in Samoa. It is a political commentary wrapped in a bitter revenge story with such humor, heart, and heat, that it will leave your head spinning.

Victor says: “ Hollywood’s…South Pacific films…white characters entered the brown world and stirred things up. What if, I wondered, a brown character entered the white world instead, and stirred things up? What would it look like?” This play addresses those questions.

On Monday, January 26, there will be a symposium on this show, presented at the Earle Ernst Lab Theatre, University of Hawai’i Department of Theatre and Dance, from 10am – 12noon.  Find more information on this event here.

VICTOR RODGER is a playwright and scriptwriter of Samoan heritage. Born in Christchurch, Rodger was a journalist for several years before studying at Toi Whakaari New Zealand Drama School in Wellington. Rodger has been a writer and storyliner for the long-running television soap opera Shortland Street since 2000.

Rodger’s theatre work deals with race, racism and identity. His first play, Sons, premiered at The Court in 1995. In 1997, Cunning Stunts was produced by Young and Hungry Theatre Company. Rodger rewrote Sons in 1998, and performed at Downstage Theatre in Wellington, winning four Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards including Most Outstanding New Writer and Most Outstanding New New Zealand play. Sons was published by Huia in 2008.

In 2001, Rodger won the Sunday Star-Times Bruce Mason Playwriting Award. His third play, Ranterstantrum(2002), was lauded by the Evening Post as ‘a triumph over stereotype’.

Rodger studied writing for film at the Maurits Binger Foundation in Amsterdam in 2004-2005. The following year he was awarded the 2006 Fulbright-Creative New Zealand Pacific Writers’ Residency, based at the Centre for Pacific Studies at the University of Hawai’i.

In 2007, his fourth play, My Name is Gary Cooper, was produced by Auckland Theatre Company. This play was reviewed as ‘a darkly witty demolition of palagi fantasies about Polynesia’ by Metro magazine.

DAVID O’DONNELL is a theatre director and Associate Professor in Theatre at Victoria University, Wellington, Aotearoa/ New Zealand. David is a graduate of Toi Whakaari:New Zealand Drama School and worked as an actor for several years before completing degrees in theatre at Victoria and Otago universities. David has directed many premieres of New Zealand plays, most recently Heat by Lynda Chanwai-Earle, Te Karakia by Albert Belz, Collapsing Creation by Arthur Meek and West End Girls by Ken Duncum. His productions have been seen at the NZ International Festival of the Arts, Auckland Arts Festival, Nelson Arts Festival, Otago Arts Festival, Fuel Festival, Dreaming Festival (Australia), Downstage, BATS, Fortune and Circa Theatres. David has been nominated six times as Director of the Year at the Chapman Tripp Theatre awards, winning in 2004 for directing David Edgar’s Albert Speer. He has published widely on New Zealand and Australian theatre, Māori and Pacific performance and community theatre. With Marc Maufort, he co-edited the book Performing Aotearoa (2007) and has been editor of the Playmarket New Zealand Play Series since 2010.

Set Design by James Davenport
Costume Design by Jonathan Reyn
Lighting Design by Cora Yamagata
Sound Design by Royce Okazaki
Projection Design by Emma Robinson

Gary Cooper…..Jo Ramsey
Teuila…..Kiana Rivera
Salamoana…..Fata Simanu-Klutz
Nick White…..Cris Cordio
Connie White…..Donna Blanchard
Jennifer White…..Bronwen Souza
Joel White…..Randall Galius Jr.
T…..Kiana Rivera

DONNA BLANCHARD (Connie) has a BFA from the Professional Actors Training Program at Wright State University and attended the Second City Training Center in Chicago. She appeared in the 2014 ARTS at Mark’s Garage production of The Vagina Monologues. In the continental Midwest, she played Martha in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Jean Brodie in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Mother Superior and Sister Hubert in separate productions of Nunsence, Desiree in A Little Night Music, Mona in Come Back to the Five and Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean, Charlotte in Beyond Therapy and Ella in Curse of the Starving Class, among others. She also directed productions of Julius Caesar, The Secret Garden, A Christmas Carol, Communicating Doors and It Had to be You. She received awards in excellence for her work on/in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Beyond Therapy, Julius Caesar and Communicating Doors.

CRIS CORDIO (Nick White) holds a BA in Biology with an emphasis on Marine Biology from the University of Hawai’i at Hilo (UHH). He made his first appearance on stage in the Leeward Community College (LCC) production of Argonautika, then in Two Noble Kinsmen for HSF.

RANDALL GALIUS JR. (Joel White) is a graduate of Pearl City high School (PCHS), currently attending LCC. Joel’s theatrical experience includes The Sound of Music (PCHS), Rope at Ong King Arts Center, and The Building and The Clockwork Cutie Revue at LCC. This is Randall’s first appearance for KKT.

JO RAMSEY (Gary Cooper) was born in Tacoma, Washington and raised in Aunu’u, American Samoa and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. He holds a BA in anthropology from UHH and is currently pursuing his master’s degree in Pacific Island Studies at UHM. He is a dancer at the Polynesian Cultural Center. This is Jo’s theatrical stage debut.

KIANA RIVERA (Teuila/T) holds a BA in Theatre from UHM. Kiana was last seen on stage at The ARTS at Marks Garage in The Vagina Monologues, and she has also appeared in A Christmas Carol (Mānoa Valley Theatre), Inugami and The Yellow Boat, both for Kipuka Theatre, The Women Generals of the Yang Family and The White Snake two jingju for UHM; Perils in Paradise Ohia Productions (OP), and for KKT, Who the Fil-Am I?, Ola Nā Iwi, The Holiday of Rain and in the dark night production of The Art Of Preservation.

FATA SIMANU-KLUTZ (Salamoana) returns to KKT after playing the devoted matriarch, Malaga in Albert Wendt’s, The Songmaker’s Chair in 2006. When not on stage Fata can be found in the Department of Indo-Pacific Languages and Literatures (IPLL) at UHM where she is an assistant professor in second and fourth year Samoan literature, language, history and other upper level courses.

BRONWEN SOUZA (Jennifer White) is a student at LCC, Bronwen was last seen on stage as Maria in Twelfth Night and Janice in Clockwork, both at LCC. Bronwen enjoys set building and design. This is her first appearance for KKT.

This production contains adult themes and may not be suitable for more sensitive viewers.
Tickets for performances can be purchased with a credit card by calling 536-4441, or by visiting our box office at 46 Merchant Street (corner of Bethel and Merchant streets, downtown) between 11am and 3pm Monday through Friday. Tickets can also be purchased at

Show dates:
Thursday, Friday and Saturday 8pm: January 22, 23, 24, 29, 30, 31; February 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21, 2015
Sundays 2pm: January 25; February 8, 15, *22, 2015
*American Sign Language Interpretation upon request
(No show Sunday, February 1 – Super Bowl)

Kumu Kahua productions are supported in part by The Hawai‘i State Foundation on Culture and Arts through appropriations from the Legislature of the State of Hawai‘i and by the National Endowment for the Arts. Also paid for in part by the taxpayers of the City & County of Honolulu; the Mayor’s Office of Culture and the Arts; The Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, McInerny Foundation (Bank of Hawaii, Trustee); Hawaiian Electric Industries (HEI) Charitable Foundation, The Atherton Foundation and Hawaiian Electric Company; Honolulu Star-Advertiser, and other foundations, businesses and patrons.

Image Links:
Donna Blanchard and Chris Cordio
Jo Ramsey
Jo Ramsey and Bronwen Souza
Jo Ramsey and Donna Blanchard
Jo Ramsey and Kiana Rivera
Jo Ramsey and Randall Galius Jr
Kiana Rivera and Jo Ramsey
Kiana Rivera and Fata Simanu-Klutz