Conversations with staff, faculty and employees, beyond their jobs
Christopher Patrinos Theatre Technical Director
During the past school year, Christopher Patrinos has been a behind-the-scenes force at Dillingham Hall, managing the complex technical needs of Punahou’s stage productions. He arrived at the School with an extensive background in theatre production, having served as theatre manager at Leeward Community College and technical director at Chaminade University, where he also directed plays and musicals. Earlier this year, Patrinos directed “In the Heights,” an acclaimed musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda staged at Leeward Community College’s newly renovated theatre.
Does your interest in theatre date back to your childhood? As a kid, I actually had no background in theatre. I was a guitarist and a lead singer with an alternative rock band, playing in night clubs with hair down to the middle of my back. This was in the greater New England area. I moved there from Hawai‘i when I was in middle school.
So your aspiration was to be a rock star? To tell you the truth, it was. But then I decided to move home to Hawai‘i, and I was looking for something different, so I took a stage class at Leeward Community College and learned how to do sound, lights and all the other production things. I became really enamored with it, especially when my cousin performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City, and I was his stage manager. That was the first theatre I ever worked in.
How did you get to directing musicals and plays? I had the opportunity and good fortune of working on “Lion King” for a national touring production, and I dove right into musical theatre. It was a rewarding experience, and I learned a lot, but I wanted more for my career professionally, so I got into directing.
What was the reaction to “In the Heights” at Leeward? It was very well received. It’s the first musical that was written specifically with hip-hop as its theme. And we couldn’t have found a better way to open that theatre, which had never previously had a major upgrade in 44 years. After spending $22 million on it, staging “In the Heights” – a story about coming home – couldn’t have been more appropriate.
Are you working on anything else? I’m working with an independent director right now on a play, “Indecent,” that opens at The ARTS at Marks Garage in June. It’s a Broadway play set at the turn of the century that deals with social acceptance. I was drawn to it because of our need today to become a more empathetic society. To be able to tell a story that requires maturity was important to my development as a person and artist.
What other projects or groups are you involved with? I sit on the board of the Hawai‘i Alliance for Arts in Education. Arts and education have always been important to me, and this is an organization that dedicates itself to putting performing arts and visual arts into schools.
Is there anything else that people at Punahou may not know about you? Most people don’t associate people in performing arts with sports, but I am a huge sports guy. I love sports. I was an all-state high school football player in Rhode Island, and I played basketball for the University of Rhode Island. I also played beach volleyball for a college club. Now, I just play on two local softball leagues. I have two daughters – one just graduated from Chaminade University and is a visual artist. And the other just finished the sixth grade at Kaimukī Middle School. She loves volleyball. She eats it, breathes it, and when I am not doing theatre or performing arts, I am a volleyball dad.
– Diane Seo ’85
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