Honolulu youth theater company Ohana Arts and the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center will premiere the revival production of Ohana Arts’ signature musical, “Peace on Your Wings,” Aug. 5-6 at the Aratani Theatre in Little Tokyo.
Inspired by the true story of Sadako Sasaki and her 1,000 origami cranes, the musical follows the lives of Sadako and her middle-school classmates in 1950s post-war Hiroshima. The L.A. shows, which will take place exactly 78 years from the date of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, capture the challenges of adolescence, the power of friendship in the face of real-life gravity, and how Sadako’s dreams for a better tomorrow teach the children — and the world — about courage, love, and peace.
Sadako was 2 years old when the atom bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Ten years later, she was diagnosed with leukemia. Following the Japanese tradition that says anyone who folds 1,000 origami cranes is granted a wish, Sadako and her friends embarked on a quest to fold a thousand cranes to bring her back to good health. Sadako became an international symbol for peace, inspiring a youth movement to have a memorial built in Hiroshima.
The original musical score for “Peace on Your Wings” was written by Los Angeles native Laurie Rubin, Ohana Arts co-artistic director and lyricist, and Jennifer Taira, Ohana Arts executive and co-artistic director and composer.
The show is directed by Cari Taira, co-founder of Ohana Arts along with Jennifer Taira and Rubin.
Rubin notes, “While ‘Peace on Your Wings’ features an all-youth cast, there is nothing childish about its message. During these times, when nuclear weaponry is being used so freely as a threat in the international arena, Sadako’s story needs to be told more urgently than ever to raise global consciousness.”
JACCC President and CEO Patricia Wyatt says, “Especially as anti-Asian hate crimes are spiking throughout our state and war continues in Ukraine and elsewhere, we draw inspiration from the musical’s youth actors, who are relying on all of us to become ambassadors for peace.”
Wyatt Tamamoto, a high school junior who plays Masahiro Sasaki, Sadako’s brother – who is still living – added, “‘Peace on Your Wings’ tells the story of a 12-year-old girl who lost her life after months of suffering at the hands of someone else’s war and yet through it all didn’t stop caring about others and appreciating every moment.”
Following the run of shows in Los Angeles, the production will make its Japanese debut in Hiroshima in September. Several elected officials from Hawaii will accompany the “Peace on Your Wings” cast on a mission of peace and connection.
The Aratani is located at 244 S. San Pedro St. in Little Tokyo. Tickets are $20-$75 for reserved seating. For tickets, visit http://jaccc.org/peace or contact the Aratani Theatre Box Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.