The American Renaissance Academy, a tiny private school in Kapolei, is starting a performing arts academy for students interested in musical theater.
The academy operates out of the former office of the commander at Barbers Point Naval Air Station, and with enrollment limited to 16 students per grade in grades K-12, it has attracted parents who prefer a small-school environment for their children.
This year the school is adding a performing arts academy for middle and high school students. Auditions for the program are being held, with the next session Wednesday.
"We have been calling it the 'Fame' school, like La Guardia High School in New York," said academy CEO Kelly Tanizuki.
The price of fame won't be cheap. Tuition for performing arts students will be $15,000, compared with $11,500 for regular academy students, but Tanizuki said the program will be intensive. Students will attend core courses in the morning, then bus to the academy's performing arts studio for instruction in singing, acting and dancing. Music theory and theater history will be included for good measure.
"This is not just for kids who want to play," she said. "The instructors are going to expect a lot from them."
Christina Caplan, a singer and dancer who has toured nationally, is heading the program. "I've had so many different professors and teachers, and I want to take something from each of them and put it together," she said. "It will be best of the best."
Caplan has performed in local musical theater star Kristian Lei's "Honolulu Broadway Babies" show, which inspired her to move to Hawaii.
Lei will be teaching in the program, as will Caplan's husband, Brian, a dancer, and Juilliard-trained acting coach Josh Duhaylonsod. "It's pretty much a dream team," Caplan said.
Though Caplan said she would be happy to develop a "triple threat" -- a top-notch singer, dancer and actor ready to storm Broadway -- the program is not limited to only those who want to pursue a stage career. The program is focused on developing self-confidence, a tool that should help students no matter what career path they choose.
"We want their confidence to soar," she said.
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