Play Production takes on Jane Austen’s “Emma”


Bursts of song and dance are sure to be heard and seen from the Waipahu High School’s Play Production class this month. Following the success of their first musical production “Astonished” comes “Emma: A Pop Musical,” directed by seniors Payton O’Neill and Iafeta Petelo.

Based on Jane Austen’s novel, “Emma” follows the story of a high school senior determined to find her shy sophomore friend a boyfriend by the end of the school year. Emma experiences the highs and lows of romance and discovers new parts of herself along the way.

“Emma” stars Ashley Hartsfield as the energetic Emma and Chasia Del Rosario as the reserved Harriet. Co-starring alongside Hartsfield and Del Rosario is the talented Karl Manalo as Jeff Knightly, Emma’s love interest. As for music, audiences can expect to hear a mix of iconic oldies and recent hits like “Turn the Beat Around” and “Brave.” Many of the featured pieces are empowering songs by female artists such as Katy Perry and Whitney Houston.

O’Neill said, “It’s a really nice experience to entertain the community and upcoming students.” She hopes to showcase the art behind the production and inspire others through her work. In addition to directing, O’Neill will also be taking the stage with the small part of Miss Bates. “Being on stage is a really great experience. I think it’s something everyone should try.” says O’Neill.

“Emma” will be performed at Waipahu High School’s cafeteria on Sunday, Feb. 9 and Saturday, Feb. 22 at 6 PM. Tickets are $5, but free for children age five and younger. Doors will open at 5:30 PM.