August 6th, 2015: Peace On Your Wings Day
August 6th was a very meaningful day for many. It marked the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. For Ohana Arts, it was also opening night for the encore run of performances of “Peace On Your Wings.” For the POYW cast, this meant a Hawaii Theatre debut, and butterflies in many anxious stomachs after much excitement and anticipation.
The day started with a Peace Day service which took place at the Izumo Taishakyo Mission.
Ten of our cast members were in attendance to sing the title song, and had the opportunity to ring the Hiroshima Peace Bell, which was given to the City and County of Honolulu in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the “sister” city relationship in 1985.
The excitement crescendoed as guests arrived for a press reception in Hawaii Theatre’s beautiful Wayend Room. Former Governor of Hawaii, John D. Waihee, Broadway producer Mark Mugiishi, and over 20 Hiroshima hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors) were among the attendees of the VIP reception and the opening night performance. Ron Nagasaki, publisher of one of Hawaii’s most popular publications, presented a framed and signed copy of the cover story featuring “Peace On Your Wings” to Ohana Arts co-artistic director Laurie Rubin.
As the cast and crew circled up to give each other moral support, the hibakusha were welcomed into the circle, and were asked to share how old they were when the atomic bomb was dropped. Broadway producer Mark Mugiishi joined hands with our cast members, and all guests were treated to an especially emotional a cappella rendition of the show’s most poignant song, “Ichigo Ichie,” meaning “One chance, one meeting.”
As the levels of excitement and last minute stress peaked backstage, a piece of news was circulated to all in the vicinity. Mayor Kirk Caldwell was in attendance, and was about to address the audience before the show commenced. As his voice rang out through the theater to the large and enthusiastic audience, Mayor Caldwell announced August 6th 2015 official Peace On Your Wings Day. Applause filled the hall, and backstage, the cast and crew received that cherry on top of an already extraordinary cake to ensure the most electrifying and emotional performance yet!
“Peace On Your Wings” is such an exciting journey with continuous surprises. After the roller coaster of tireless rehearsals, hours and hours put into fundraising to make the production possible, and all the creativity and energy invested in the show to make it come alive, it was hard to imagine any bigger reward than hearing cast members post-mortem discussing an official holiday named after their show. “Does this mean we’ll get a day off of school on August 6th from now on?” one of them asked. “Nah, Mayor said Peace On Your Wings Day is only in 2015,” answered another. So before midnight brought in a new, ordinary day, the cast in unison shouted in a voice powerful enough for all of Honolulu to hear, “Happy Peace On Your Wings Day!”