The lobby of the Clurman Theatre on New York City’s Theatre Row filled with laughter and aloha on Oct. 24, 2012, as 60 Punahou alumni and friends arrived to enjoy a performance of Stephen Sondheim’s “Marry Me a Little,” co-starring Jason Tam ’01. The 70-minute evening of “outtake” songs from Sondheim productions such as “Follies,” “A Little Night Music,” and “Company” took Jason and co-star Lauren Molina up and down the musical and emotional scales in a rare exhibition of unmiked vocal virtuosity, which had earned the production and actors well-deserved critical acclaim.
Marry Me a Little (slideshow)
The Punahou group — representing the classes of 1948 through 2012 — enjoyed a brief post-show chat with the director and cast, and then spilled upstairs for conviviality, wine and a dessert buffet. Broadway veterans Willy Falk ’76 and Ann Harada ’81, along with the effervescent Joy Valderrama ’48 Abbott, joined Punahou and family friends from Manhattan and the broader region. Alumni converged from the worlds of business, fashion, philanthropy, medicine, law, real estate, technology, arts, public policy, education and more, including alumni currently attending New York University, Sarah Lawrence College and Yale University. “It’s about connecting — a very human quality,” reflected Paul Hsi ’82, “connecting with those we know and those we’ve never met, around the shared experience of Punahou.”
Conversation was animated and full of reminiscence and new friendship, continuing until the theatre manager hollered “five minutes!” to say the building had to close. A few friends continued the evening in a nearby restaurant until the last train home. Said Falk, “Punahou has always taught me that a feeling of ‘ohana can co-exist while reaching for individual success. I kept thinking (tonight), ‘what a tremendous testament to that teaching, that we were able to fill an entire off-Broadway house with alumni from a high school 5,000 miles away to support our young graduate.’ We just did not want to go home.”