the McKinley Theater Group

The Mr. Nak Legacy

McKinley Theater Group has thrived under the direction of James A. Nakamoto, fondly known as Jim or Mr. Nak. He taught at McKinley High School and directed plays and musicals from 1963 to 1994 while he was a teacher and then also in retirement from 2002 to 2005.

Jim had touched so many lives through the McKinley Theater Group that when he passed, a large number of former students came together to put on a show in his memory and to help support and continue his legacy of MTG.

If you wish to learn more about what shows Mr. Nakamoto please click here.

Fast forward to 2023, several teachers and community members have come together to once again revive the McKinley Theater Group. Their goal is to continue to grow a thriving program once more for the students of McKinley High School and the community.

Mr. John Newkirk

Mr. John Newkirk is the next MTG teacher that has also worked with Mr. Nakamoto before his retirement. Both Mr. Newkirk and Mr. Nakamoto formed McKinley Group II together after working together in 1992 to co-host Shakespeare festival with Kaimuki High School.

Mr. Newkirk co-taught drama classes together for the first time in 1996. He stage-managed, did tech, and sets for the alumni show in 1998. Mr. Newkirk and Mr. Nakamoto first production together was  A Midsummer Night's Dream in 1999. 

Mr. Newkirk was the director of MTG II from 1999-2008. When Mr. Nakamoto left in 2005 Mr. Newkirk continued to serve as the director of MTG II until 2008.

In 2007 and 2008 Mr. Newkirk directed School House Rock and Honk without Mr. Nakamoto.