Archive for April, 2009

Shows you’ll want to ’n’ there

April 23rd, 2009

Random notes of shows you should watch for, in person here, on Broadway, on the silver screen...

Pearl jam: Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder, a singer-guitarist, does a solo show at 8 p.m. July 1 and 2 at the Hawai’i Theatre. It’s part of a a 14-date selected tour of intimate show spots starting June 8 in Albany, N.Y. and ending in the Isles. A June 29 date at the Castle Theatre (earlier incorrectly listed here as A&B Amphitheatre) at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center is also set. Honolulu tickets: $72.

Hugh is bustin’ out all over: Hugh Jackman may be X-Men’s Logan/Wolverine to his film fans (the new one drops May 1), but for his Broadway boosters, he’s one of the musical gems.
He won a Tony in 2004 for portraying Peter Allen in “The Boy From Oz,” so it’s no surprise that he’s returning to the Great White Way in a musical about Houdini, the magician. It won’t be staged till 2010, as he is now studying and learning the sleight-of-hand wizardry. The show will boast music by Danny Elfman, lyrics by David Yazbeck, and book by Kurt Anderston. Tony winner Jack O’Brien (“Hairspray,” “The Full Monty”) will direct.
Also, Jackman also is doing a film remake of “Carousel,” in which he’ll play Billy Bigelow and sing the classic “If I Loved You.” Gordon McRae topped the original 1956 film based on the Rodgers & Hammerstein stage musical which starred John Raitt as the carnival barker...

Forty and fabulous: Watch for a rare two-nights-only fusion of the Society of Seven and the Society of Seven LV. To mark the SOS’ 40th anniversary this year, the original SOS (now based in Las Vegas) will join the spin-off SOS LV (ensconced at the Outrigger Waikiki’s Main Showroom) at 8:30 p.m. May 6 and 7 at the showroom. Expect reflection, nostalgia and a homecoming fever — and a meal deal including the show for kama‘aina (ID required). Stay tuned for details...

A dog’s life: Richard Gere and Joan Allen star in “Hachiko: A Dog’s Story,” is slated to debut in August. This is one I’m looking forward to, having seen a bronze statue at Shibuya Station in Japan in March, memorializing a wonder dog. It’s a tale of loyalty and faith — based on fact, with mythic proportions — about Hachiko, a dog who routinely accompanied a Japan professor to the subway station each work day, and greeted him as he returned daily for a decade...until he died and didn’t show. The story, alas, is relocated to America and was shot in Rhode Island...

Here's one for the Marines!

April 22nd, 2009

An Island entertainer-composer’s song, recorded by U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawai’i) to salute the Marines, is now available as a free MP3 download.
“Whisper ‘Semper Fi,’The Ballad of the Leatherneck” —about an aging U.S. Marine and a veteran of two wars, who wants to be buried at Arlington with an “EGA” upon his chest and a desire to be remembered as “one of the best” — is a composition by Honolulu singer-entertainer Keith Haugen, an award-winning songwriter. (EGA stand for Eagle, Globe, Anchor, the Marines emblem).
“We dedicate this recording to the United States Marines, and we say thanks to every man and woman who serves or has ever served our great nation in all of the uniformed military services – Marines, Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard – and the Merchant Marine,” said Haugen.
To download, go to
Haugen’s composition, recorded by Sen. Inouye, a Congressional Medal of Honor winner, says in part: “I don’t want no flowers; an American flag will do. My life was lived and given for the red and white and blue.”
“We'd love to see millions of American patriots download this gift,” said Haugen.
“We join Senator Inouye, in our heartfelt thanks to the Marines for more than two centuries of service to our great nation, and to all of our men and women in uniform.”
The song is not commercially available, said Haugen, though hard copies will be provided to current and former Commanders-in-Chief, Secretaries of the Navy, Army, Air Force, Homeland Security, Commandants of the Marine Corps and the Coast Guard, 97 surviving Congressional Medal of Honor winners, and involved in the project.
Other patriotic
Other bonus tracks are also available at Haugen’s website.

Hutchison's life to be celebrated on Friday

April 19th, 2009

A who’s-who in entertainment — actors, actresses, directors and musicians and more — will assemble for a “Celebration of Life” at 3 p.m. this Friday at Diamond Head Theatre, in remembrance of veteran show biz icon Jim Hutchison, a Maikiki resident who died last Thursday at age 75 from bladder cancer.
Hutchison was a director, dancer, choreographer, actor, producer and show biz veteran on and off stage, who had nearly 40 years of experience in shows on Broadway, on TV, in films and in Island musicals, dramas and dance productions.
The initial list of performers include fellow directors Terence Knapp and Glenn Cannon, singers-actors Shari Lynn, Cathy Foy-Mahi, Dennis Proulx and Zenia Zambrano, and accompanists Don Conover, Donald Yap and Beebe Freitas, with Freitas’ actress-composer daughter Roslyn also slated. Ballet Hawaii dancers also will perform.
Hutchison’s two children with actress-singer Wisa D’Orso, son Kurt and daughter Tita, are also expected to take the stage.
Hutchison was artistic director at Honolulu Community Theatre (now Diamond Head Theatre) for 18 years and has served on the Ballet Hawaii board of directors and taught dance there for many seasons.
A reception will follow the program, hosted by Devon and Tim Guard and Indru and Gulab Watumull, plus other friends of Hutch, as he was called by his peers.

Mystery, history, ghosts on tour

April 17th, 2009

A Honolulu film historian has turned reel history into real walking tours, linked to his passion — vintage movies with Island themes shot locally.

Steven Fredrick arrived in the Islands in 1994;15 years later, his admiration of vintage films and interest in Hawaiian history have evolved into a series of intimate tours of downtown sites prominently showcased in the old films in his collection.

Essentially, Fredrick’s intent is to shed light from the footnotes of the dusty past that still resonates today in contemporary Honolulu. And because his stories mine historical moments and sites, he attracts both a local and a visiting audience fascinated by history.

And he has a walk this Sunday, “The Charlie Chan Mystery Tour,” with a Charlie Chan theme. It’s a four-hour, three-mile trek through historic Chinatown environs, where the famed sleuth of print and flicks frequented. The Chan character owes its origin to real-life police detectiveChang Apana and the walk, with commentary by Fredrick, traces the former police stations, coffee shops, gambling houses, movie theaters, haunted hotels as well as the residence of Number One Son, from fiction and from real life, stretching from the hub of Chinatown to the current Aloha Tower Marketplace.

Fredrick also conducts "The Hawaii Wartime History Tour" with a World War II theme that turns back the clock when GIs frequented Hotel Street and places like the now-gone strip house, Club Hubba Hubba, and a third nighttime trek themed the "Honolulu Ghost Tour," somewhat of an homage to the late Glen Grant, who originated the concept of the obake journey (and who Fredrick admired) that includes haunts with, well, some ghost stories attached.

We asked Fredrick five questions:
Question: Your passion is historic Island films; how do the tours complement the films?
Answer: Shortly after arriving in Hawaii, I began collecting old 16 mm/35 mm films with an Island theme. I bought films from collectors who were liquidating their collections. I bought anything and everything I could get my hands on.
The 1941-42 Pearl Harbor Attack newsreels, filmed on Oahu, show the devastation of the Honolulu community. As a historian, I was curious about the Honolulu city sites. How many sites are still standing today? After viewing the wartime films, I went looking for them. Surprisingly, there are quite a few 1940s-era buildings still standing today. My Hawaii Wartime History Tour takes people to the actual sites shown in the wartime newsreels.
Q: Who's your audience — visitors or locals, young or old?
A: On the 2008 Halloween ghost tours, the guests were all locals and military, 20s-60s. When a young, local guy told me that he took my tour because I included Hawaii history, I was flattered.
For the wartime tours, the audience is usually locals. The ages range from 40s to 70s. Locals want to remember their youth in relationship to the old sites of downtown Honolulu.
Q: What is the most surprising revelation on either tour?
A: On my tours (ghost, wartime, Charlie Chan), I tell stories unique to the theme. On the wartime tour, I speak from the GI's point of view. On the Chan tour, I play a private investigator leading an investigation about the disappearance of Charlie Chan. The guests become involved with the theme of the tour by interacting with each other and myself. With small groups of guests, I can make the tours personal.
Q: Planning any more themed tours, maybe with "Hawaii Five-O" or "Magnum P.I." pegs?
A: Future tours? Maybe. I am always researching the old buildings of Honolulu. I am collecting articles, and stories, that peak my historic interests.
Q: Why are folks interested in the past?
A: The past is prologue. People are curious about their past. We learn from the past.

If you’ve sampled a tour, share your reflections here. Or suggest a tour option that Fredrick might explore in the future.


* The Charlie Chan Mystery Tour, on Thursdays and Sundays. Next up: this Sunday; meet at 1 p.m. at the Fort Street Mall. $35.
* Hawaii Wartime History Tour, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Next up: April 26, meet at 1 p.m. at Fort Street Mall. $25.
* Honolulu Ghost Tour, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Next up:
May 2; meet at 7:30 p.m. at ‘Iolani Palace. $25.
Note: Frequency depends on demand; military and group rates available; reservations required 24 hours in advance; call 395-0674 or e-mail


• Wear walking shoes.
• Don comfy clothes.
• Wear sunshield or carry umbrella.
• Bring bottled water.

’Tis the season: ACT, HTY list 2009-2010 plays

April 16th, 2009

Army Community Theatre and the Honolulu Theatre for Youth have announced slates for the 2009-2010 season beginning this fall. Expect other theater companies to do same in the weeks ahead.
Here’s the scoop:

Army Community Theatre:

• “Barnum,” Sept. 3 to 19. A tale of P.T. Barnum set against circus dreams, with acrobatics aplenty. Music by Cy Coleman, lyrics by Michael Stewart, book by Mark Bramble. Auditions set for 7 pm. July 6, 7 and 8.
• “High School Musical 2,” Nov. 19 through 28 and Dec. 4-5. The sequel to Disney’s megamusical about high schoolers Troy, Gabriel and Sharpay, finds the basketball hero summering at a country club. CoCo Wiel will direct the Hawai’i community theater premiere. Auditions at 7 p.m. Sept. 14, 15 and 16.
• “Rent,” Feb. 25 to March 13. The Tony Award-winning musical, transferring the “La Boheme” story to the streets of New York rockers and druggies, with book, music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson. Vanita Rae Smith will direct, Grace Bell Humerickhouse will choreograph. Auditions at 7 p.m. Nov. 30, Dec. 1 and 2.
• “The Threepenny Opera,” May 13 through 29. The Bertolt Brecht musical, with lyrics by Kurt Weill and book by Brecht, is known for “Mack the Knife,” and is set in London during the coronation of Queen Victoria, will feature Laurence Paxton. Auditions at 7 p.m. March 8, 9 and 10.
Army productions, staged at Richardson Theatre at Fort Shafter, premiere at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays and repeats Fridays and Saturdays.
Season tickets: $60 and $75 for adults, $45 and $50 for children ages 12 and under. Individual tickets: $15 and $20 for adults ($20 and $28 for “Rent”), $12 and $15 for children ($15 and $22 for “Rent”).
Information: 438-4480,
All Army Community Theatre shows open on Thursdays and continue for two weekends on subsequent Fridays and Saturdays. Curtain time is 7:30 p.m. at Richardson Theatre, Ft. Shafter.

ACT Readers Theatre

ACT also presents its free Sunday@2 Matinee Readers Theatre, at 2 p.m. Sundays. This year, the late American playwright Horton Foote’s works will be featured:
The schedule:
• “The Road to the Graveyard” Sept. 13, 20 and 27.
• “The Carpetbagger’s Children” Nov. 22, 29 and Dec. 6.
• “The Man Who Climbed Pecan Trees,” Feb. 28, March 7 and 14.
• “Lily Dale,” May 16, 23 and 30.

Honolulu Theatre for Youth

Full-time, paid adult actors are sought for five Honolulu Theatre for Youth productions next season.
Artistic Director Eric Johnson will hold auditions from 3 to 8 p.m. April 23 at Tenney Theatre, on the grounds of St. Andrew’s Theatre, which is HTY’s home base.

Auditioners should prepare one memorized monologue of one to two minutes in length, and 16 bars of a song to be sung a capella. Callbacks will be held April 25.
To request a tryout time, e-mail or call 457-5265. Walk-ins will be seen, if time permits, but those with a time slot will be given priority.
These plays comprise the upcoming season, with specific playdates to be announced: “Nightingale,” “The Three Year Swim Club,” “Keiko & Louie: Best, Best Friends” and “Just So Stories.” A separate audition will be held at a later date for those interested in auditioning for “Amahl & the Night Visitors,” also part of the season.

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