Memorial service announced for local theater icon Ron Bright


The family of the late Ron Bright — an immensely influential member in the local theater community for many years — announced that his memorial service will be held early next month.

It will be on Friday, August 7, at the First Presbyterian Church of Honolulu, 45-550 Kionaole Road in Kaneohe, just off the Pali Highway.

Visitation will be from 8:30-10 a.m. and the service from 10-11:30 a.m. The family requests that those paying respects wear aloha attire and no flowers, please.

Bright died on July 7, and for 50 years during his lifetime, he taught drama at Castle High School and directed performances at what would become the campus’ Ronald Bright Performing Arts Center.

In recent years, Bright directed plays at the Paliku Theater at Windward Community College, in the shadows but always present.

“I have never yet missed a performance of a show that I have directed. I go to every show. I want them to know that I’m there. We don’t toy with this art. We do the best we can do, all the time,” said Bright in a previous interview with KHON2 News.

Those lucky enough to be his students — some of whom went on to star in off Broadway shows — will remember his limitless energy, demonstrating to the young actors what he needed from them.

“I do best with that — trying to get the energy out of myself into these people and that means that I got to keep myself energized. I’m for kids, and I love kids, and I love to see them stretching their horizons. I never like to cheat an audience. I like to give them what I feel is going to be the best all the time.”

And that he did.

“And you know, when you retire, you get to make choices — so I choose everything,” he laughed.

Dept. of Education superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi released a statement soon after the announcement of Bright’s death:

Ron Bright was a legend in the Hawaii State Department of Education for his work as an educator and mentor. His excellence in education earned him the Milken Award in 1990; and in 1994, Castle High’s theater became the Ronald E. Bright Theater.

There are many of us who will mourn his passing especially those connected to Castle High School where he taught for 41 years before retiring in 1998.

There will also be a celebration for his life of service to his community, and his contributions to culture and the arts.

Mr. Bright, or ‘Mr. B.’ as he was affectionately known, has positively influenced countless number of students and educators. He taught students and friends to always believe in themselves. We are so grateful for his inspiring lessons.

May we always believe.

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