the Creative Team

Left to right: Anson Bernal, John Messer, Dwayne Sakaguchi,
Natasha Taketa-Kim, Scott Takata, Kristi Auyoung

Missing teachers not pictured are Jeffery Ideta, Joseph Nakamoto, and Eren Star Padilla

Our Team

MTG has been granted an outstanding team of educators and community members to further nurture the students in our theater program. These dedicated individuals work tirelessly with the MTG students in their journey to producing a show on our stage, which is fondly named after the former MTG director Mr. James "Jim" Nakamoto.

Only together can we bring out the best of our students to put together a production worthy of the legacy that the late Mr. Nak brought to McKinley High School. It takes a whole village to raise a child, and it will take all of us and the community, to make this program a success.

Meet Our Creative Team

Dwayne Sakaguchi
Choreography Director

Dwayne Sakaguchi is a graduate of Kaimuki High School, holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications with a focus in Public Relations and a Post-Baccalaureate in Secondary Education from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He is currently a social studies teacher at McKinley High School and is working to rebuild the McKinley Theater Group. Dwayne's performance career began at the Kaimuki High School Performing Arts Center and has won a 2018 Po'okela award for his performance in DHT's production of the Newsies. Dwayne has performed various roles throughout his performing career from Chino in West Side Story to Angel from RENT and Kenickie in Grease. He has studied dance with Deanna Luster and trained at more than five studios and theaters across the island. As a choreography director, Dwayne has done more than ten shows across the island. We at MTG are so thankful to have him be a part of our team!

Mz. Natasha Taketa-Kim
Artistic Director

Natasha Taketa-Kim has a Bachelor's in Music Education, a Master's in Teacher Leadership, and is currently the choir director, and ceramics and general art teacher at McKinley High School. She has taught at McKinley since 2010 and is headlining the revival of the McKinley Theater Group. Her musical theater experience began as a trumpet player from her freshmen year in 2001 at Hilo High School and also professionally with KDEN in Volcano on Hawai'i island. She also has played roles in two faculty plays that McKinley High School does every four years, one of which was under the direction of our MTG director Jimmy Nakamoto.

Scott Takata
Vocal Director

Scott Takata is a graduate of Castle High School, has Bachelor's and Master's degree in music, and is currently a CTE, yearbook, and piano teacher at McKinley High School. He has 35 years of teaching and performing experience. Scott has put in many hours over the summer with the MTG actors to help revive the program along side his colleagues.

Joseph Nakamoto
Music Director

Joseph Nakamoto is a graduate of McKinley High School & received his Bachelor’s in Music Education. He is currently the band & orchestra teacher at McKinley, and has performed in several performing groups including the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra and Eddie Ortiz & Son Caribe

Johnny Messer
Sound & Lights Designer

Johnny "JC" Messer is a wonderful addition to our creative team. Johnny is a community member who has come in to McKinley to help teach our students how to do sound and light engineering. JC has performed in the musical West Side Story in high school and has studied sound and light engineering over the past 15 years with various companies across the country. JC is currently the production director of VIVE Church Honolulu and also partners with other production companies and churches across 'Oahu.

Anson Bernal
Stage Craft Designer

Anson Bernal is McKinley High School's woodshop teacher. He has 30+ years of construction, has also
5+ seasons of being a stage hand, and has worked at Kennedy Theater and Diamond Head Theater.

Kristi Auyoung
Set Designer

Kristi Auyong is an art teacher at Mckinley High School. She graduated from University of Hawaii at Manoa with her Bachelor's of Art degree and a teaching certificate in Secondary Education. She has always been passionate about art and has participated in exhibitions, murals and community art projects. In the past, she worked at the Mayor's Office of Culture and the Arts, Honolulu Museum of Art School, Sacred Hearts, and Leilehua High School where she taught art and participated in art and culture related projects. She is currently a member of two art organizations, Manga Bento and Comic Jam Honolulu.

Jeffrey Ideta
Set Designer

Jeffrey Ideta is a ceramics and metal work teacher at McKinley High School since 2012. He holds a Bachelors in Fine Arts and a Post Bachelorette Certificate in Secondary Education. He has helped design the stage set and is working on the framing and construction of our puppets with Ms. Star.

Bartly Willson
Set Designer

Bartly Willson is a teacher at McKinley High School. He is also a professional artist that worked on murals and set design in Oregon. He enjoys going to plays and concerts as well as performing with his band at live events. Bartly has helped us greatly with the designing and painting of our set.

Eren Star Padilla
Set Designer

Eren Star Padilla has been a Teaching Artist, Mural Painting Instructor and Art Educator for over 25 years. She has been working at McKinley High School since 2013. A graduate of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a BFA, she earned her teaching certificate at Northeastern Illinois University, qualified to teach art grades K-12. Art is her passion and she is a professional artist, focusing on abstract oil painting, collage and mixed media works on paper. Her most recent mural that she has worked on with her art club is on the music building of McKinley High School and it was completed in May 2022.