By Wayne Harada
After a two-year hiatus, Jim Nabors will again bring Christmas cheer to the Hawai’i Theatre this year. But it will arrive early, on the heels of Thanksgiving.
“I’m excited,” said the show biz legend, who ended a 10-year tradition in 2006 — as star of “A Merry Christmas With Friends and Nabors” — after the death of Tom Hansen, his longtime director-choreographer who helmed the show with the skills of an army general. John Rampage took over the helm to cap the finale.
Since then, however, Nabors fans have been lobbying and encouraging the Island resident to jump-start his sell-out show again. So the holiday revue will be revived at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 27 and 28 and2 p.m. Nov. 29 with a formula echoing the spectacle of the past: lots of mele for the Kalikimaka, and some hula, too.
However, Nabors said his role will be minimized somewhat.
“I can’t tap dance anymore,” he said of his earlier hoofer attempt to high-kick and dance with teens and younger kids, though he’s reasonably fit and hopping about since undergoing knee surgery.
“But since my liver transplant, I’m (vulnerable) so I’m cautious about things like swine flu,” he said. So he maintains a low profile.
But getting back into the groove won’t be all that difficult, he surmised. “After all, I know all the songs,” he chirped.
His repertoire includes such trademarks as “O Holy Night” and “Silent Night (Po La’i E),” the latter in both English and Hawaiian — the Hawaiian performed by veteran Emma Veary.
In the decade-long run, Nabors welcomed pals like Veary, Jimmy Borges, and Karen Keawehawai’i, who will all be back.
The cast has not yet been formally announced, nor have ticket details been revealed.
'STOMP!' ON THE HAWAI'I THEATRE RADAR
The Hawai’i Theatre also is hopeful to land a year-end return of another popular production, the syncopated “Stomp!,” the off-Broadway classic that has previously played the downtown venue.
The buzz is that the show is returning again; it’s one of periodic charms that the late publicist Elissa Josephsohn promoted in the Hawai’i and one she had been monitoring at the time of her death earlier this month.
“I hear it’s coming here,” said Burton White, artistic director of the Hawai’i Theatre. “But there’s no contract (yet).”
Other shows on the Hawai'i Theatre radar:
• A Keola Beamer concert Sept. 19.
• “Men Dancing,” a production with Peter Rockford Espiritu and his Tau Dance Theatre, Oct. 16.
• “Phantom of the Opera,” the classic silent film with accompaniment on the Morton organ, Oct. 31.