Archive for September, 2009

Tidbits from the show biz front ...

September 30th, 2009

Music: Makana launching CD, plans mall show

Makana, the singer-composer-guitarist, formally launches his “Venus, and the Sky Turns to Clay” CD, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. this Friday (Oct. 2) at the Hawai’i State Art Museum’s second floor lanai.
The event is part of the monthly First Friday festivities downtown. Joining Makana: Lono Kaumeheiwa, Lopaka Colon, DJ Hi-Lo, Buck Giles, Kai, Jason Tom, Skylar Mallas and more.
Another event with Na Kane Mua will be under way on HiSAM’s lawn simultaneously.
To further promote the CD, Makana presents a solo performance from 1 to 2 p.m. Saturday at Windward Mall’s Center Stage.
Admission is free to all events.

In the pink: Pink food at the Kahala

To celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, the Kahala Resort’s Hoku’s and Plumeria Beach House restaurants will offer special pink food; The Veranda lounge will have pink afternoon tea treats and sandwiches. A portion of proceeds will be donated to the Kapi’olani Women’s Ambulatory Cancer Center. Call 739-8760.

Music: Hapa returns to Kahala Oct. 9

Hapa — Barry Flanagan and Nathan Aweau — will return to the Kahala Resort for a buffet dinner show Oct. 9 in the Maile Ballroom.
Buffet service starts at 5:30 p.m.; concert at 7:15 p.m.
The buffet will include Hawaiian favorites such as lomi lomi salmon, roast pig pulehu beef sirloin, guava-glazed prok ribs and more.
Tickets: $65. Call 739-8760.

In person: Brickman at Barnes & Noble Oct. 24

Jim Brickman, the composer-pianist associated with romance, will appear at 1 p.m. Oct. 24 at Barnes & Noble Ala Moana to promote his latest CD, “Beautiful World.” You’re invited to get a CD signed, say aloha, chat and engage in a Q&A with Mr. Romance — but there won’t be a related concert on this visit.

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Watch for a local in Hawai'i-bound 'Stomp'

September 27th, 2009

Stuff for your calendar — and get ready for the return of "Stomp," the lone visiting stage show for the rest of the year:

Stage: ‘Stomp’ returning with Islander in cast

When “Stomp,” the pulsating percussion phenom, returns for a two-week holiday run Dec. 22 at the Hawai‘i Theatre, there will be an Islander in the cast.
Details are yet to be announced, but a hometowner in the company in the past has fueled local interest. Watch for his/her identity.
Even if you’ve seen this off-Broadway and international sensation, give yourself a Christmas gift and return for another look-see. Besides some standby faves, there will be updated and restructured segents as well as a pair of full-on new production numbers, utilizing props like tractor tire inner tubes and paint cans.
As co-creator Steve McNicholas says, “After creating new routines for ‘Stomp Out Loud’ in (Las) Vegas Luke Cresswell (McNicholas’ co-cratore) and I decided it was time to rework elements of our main production.”
The show is known for its creative rhythmic music, with a definite urban flavor, created with household items ranging from plastic bags to cigarette lighters plus a few industrial objects such as steel drums, and performed with “an eccentric sense of character and humor” in McNicholas’ words.
What may look like a junkyard becomes a jukebox of jangle and jubilant syncopation.
Tickets are $35, $45 and $55 for all shows except opening night, when admission will be $15.25, $28 and $40. Group discounts for 10 or more available, with deeper discounts for groups of 40 or more. In addition, special $25 tickets will be available to all students, teachers, senior citizens and military personnel, excluding shows on Dec. 22 and 23, with valid ID. The Dec. 23 show will be a Hawaii Food Bank benefit, with a portion of ticket sales going to the food bank. An additional $5 discount will be given to those providing a canned food donation at the time of ticket purchase.
Jam Theatricals, based in Chicago, is presenting “Stomp!” with New Space Entertainment and Rhythm. Jam last staged “Stomp!” at the Hawai’I Theatre in 2004 and its most recent stage offering here was “Mamma Mia” at Blaisdell Concert Hall.

Clubs: Lewers Lounge updates entertainment

Lewers Lounge, the mecca for drinks, music and camaraderie at the Halekulani Hotel, has adjusted its entertainment slate.
The revised schedule:
• Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays —Noly Pa‘a, pianist, performing classics.
• Wednesdays and Thursdays — Bruce Hamada, bassist-vocalist, and Jim Howard, pianist, sharing contemporary and timeless standards.
• Fridays and Saturdays — Rocky Holmes, flutist-clarinetist, and Tennyson Stevens, pianist, in a jazz format.
Lewers Lounge is open from 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. daily, with music from 8:30 p.m. to midnight Sundays through Thursdays and from 8:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
Suggested attire: collared shirts for gents, evening dress for women.

Classics: Cavani Strings sets shows, workshops

The Cavani String Quartet, an internationally-acclaimed chanber music ensemble, will be in Honolulu Oct. 8 through 12 for a collaborative residency and concert and workshop slate.
The visit is a project of the Suzuki Association of Hawaii, the Honolulu Chamber Series, the Hawaii American String Teachers Association and ‘Iolani School.
Musicians will not only stage master classes and workshops but help launch the Honolulu Chamber Series season.
The schedule:

• Oct. 8 — Workshops at O‘ahu schools.

• Oct. 10 — Workshops from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at ‘Iolani, open to violin, viola, cello and bass tudents. A morning“Team Up With Music” mini-concert will be held.

• Oct. 11 — Concert at 8 p.m. at the Doris Duke Theatre, Honolulu Academy of Arts. Featuring Beethoven’s Sring Quartet, Op. 8, No. 6, and Dvorak’s Quartet, Op.95, “The American.” Tickets: $35.
• Oct. 12 — Master classes, from 2 yo 4 p.m., for string quartets at ‘Iolani. Open to all string quartets.

Stage: Kapolei youths staging ‘Dear Edwina Jr.’

The Performing Arts Center of Kapolei will present “Dear Edwina Jr.” beginning Saturday (Oct. 2)
at Kapolei High School Forum, 91-5007 Kapolei Parkway.
Annie Espinosa, 14, plays the title character, Edwina Spoonapple.
Performance times are at 7 p.m. Oct. 2, 6 p.m. Oct. 3, and 7 p.m. Oct. 9 and 10.
Doors open a half-hour before curtain; there is general seatig for all shows except on Oct. 3, when those attending sould bring chairs, blankets and mats.
Ticket information: 224-5314.

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Pitchford's rise to 'Fame' started in Honolulu

September 25th, 2009

Dean Pitchford, an award-winning Honolulu pop songster and a Broadway performer and creative force, credits “High School Musical” and its uncanny ability to lure young folks into theaters for the renewed interest in two of his earlier films, “Fame” and “Footloose.”
A new “Fame” flick premieres nationally today, bearing the title tune he co-wrote plus “Out Here on My Own,” performed by a cast of eager singers and dancers eager for breakout fame of their own.
Another take on “Footloose,” which made Kevin Bacon a star, is due in March, 2010 with “Gossip Girl” hottie Chace Crawford replacing Zac Efron who bailed out as Ren McCormick, the role that launched Bacon.
“Fame,” which earlier was a movie, inspired a TV series as well as a stage musical, seems to have nine lives like that proverbial cat. Pitchford earned an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for co-writing the “Fame” title song, but was not involved in the relaunch.
“I have high hopes for this one,” said Pitchford, 58. “No one from the studio invited me to create this new film, but I’m sure I’ll stand in line, like everyone else, to see it.”
Why is it back?
“In three words, ‘High School Musical,’” said Pitchford, pinpointing a filmic fountain of youth. “Everybody in Hollywood is excited about this teen thing, which has been an amazing phenomenon. Everyone wants to own something like this, so they look into the vaults. We did ‘Fame’ 28 years ago and ‘Footloose’ has been a beneficiary. Besides the new ‘Footloose’ coming out, the musical is playing in South America and is poised to open in Paris.”
Again, Pitchford is not attached to the new “Footloose,” but he’s not bothered. Not now, anyway.
“First time you hear that your project is being done (again) and you’re not invited to do it, it stings; but I have moved on,” said Pitchford. “I know I created something worth reproducing, and I don’t (need) acknowledgement for my contribution. It’s a whole new world out there.”
“Fame,” of course, is about kids from the New York-based La Guardia Performing Arts School, who sing and dance whose basic quest is to be famous. That mantra has infiltrated the mindset; Fox’s new TV youth musical, “Glee,” deals with chorus wannabes at a performing arts school — with emotional roots in “Fame” and “A Chorus Line.”
“Fame” can be credited for energizing and influencing “High School Musical” as well the current flock of TV reality shows like “So You Think You Can Dance,” “Dancing With the Stars,” “American Idol” and “America’s Got Talent.”
This drive for stardom also has been a central theme with the earlier revival of Broadway’s “A Chorus Line” and “Every Little Step,” the companion documentary of the making and mounting of the revival and the original Tony Award-winning musical, where getting a job, and a taste of fame, is the ticket to the spotlight.
But whoa, Pitchford is somewhat relieved to finally distance himself from this genre.
“I look back and I was becoming the Zac Efron of Broadway creators, doing shows with high school themes,” said Pitchford. Besides “Fame and “Footloose,” Pitchford scripted a 1989 film called “Sing,” about a talent contest at a Brooklyn high school, and “Carrie,” a stage musical with Pitchford’s lyrics, that was a 1988 Broadway casualty, after being a cult film (it had a bloddy prom scene) based on the Stephen King Gothic novel.
His latest passion is fiction. His second novel for youths, “Captain Nobody,” was released this summer and is poised to be launched in many markets in the weeks and months ahead. His first, “The Big One-Oh,” was a Grammy nominee for Best Audio Recording when he recorded the story, a formula he has repeated for “Captain Nobody.”
Without realizing it, Pitchford found his inspiration for “Captain Nobody” only after finishing the book. “It’s about a little guy who makes good, living in the shadows of a more famous family member, and when the book was over and done, I said to myself, ‘Omigod, that is my story, when I was 11.” His own father moved 5,000 miles away from Honolulu and Pitchford — for the rest of his adolescent years — desperately tried to get his parents back together. “I wrote my father letters; I’d bring my mother flowers, telling her they were from my dad, trying to make our broken family whole again,” he said.
Nowadays, he is shuttling from his West Coasts digs to New York, where he is working on a Broadway project he can’t yet divulge.
He doesn’t miss performing but he's ecstatic about the process of creating theater. “There is something about the magic of working in the theater,” said Pitchford. “It’s the only form where everybody who is creating is in the same room at the same time together.”
Pitchford said his new musical will stretch his profile as a creative artist, meaning no more shows about kids singing, dancing and chasing stardom.
But, he said, if and when the time comes, his tombstone will inevitably quote his most famous line: “I'm gonna live forever, baby remember my name. Fame.” Amen!


Local ties: 1968 graduate of Saint Louis School
Island theater: Diamond Head Theatre (in its Honolulu Community Theatre era), Honolulu Theatre for Youth
New York theater: Off-Broadway’s “Godspell,” 1971; Broadway’s “Pippin,” 1972
Latest film: A remake of the 1980 movie, “Fame,” with the identical title, opening today.
Next up: “Footloose,” an update of his 1984 film, with Chace Crawford playing the Kevin Bacon role, in March 2010.
Latest book: “Captain Nobody” (Putnam), already out.
Best known chart hits: “Fame,” “Footloose,” “Let’s Hear It for the Boy,” “Out Here on My Own,” “You Should Hear How She Talks About You,” “After All,” “All the Man That I Need.”

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Show shorts: Stage, film, clubs, golf and more

September 15th, 2009

Here's a potpourri of things to do:

Stage: ‘Forbidden Broadway’ adds five shows

Manoa Valley Theatre has extended its season-opening musical comedy, “Forbidden Broadway: Special Victims Unit,” with five performances through Sept. 27.
The additional performances, added by popular demand,will be at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 24, 8 p.m. Sept. 25, 3 and 8 p.m. Sept. 26 and 4 p.m. Sept. 27. Some seats still remain for the Thursday-through-Sunday original run.
The production, which spoofs new and old Broadway hits, offers cabaret seating, with cocktail service. Parodies of “Jersey Boys,” “Billy Elliot,” “South Pacific,” “The Lion King,” “Mamma Mia,” “Mary Poppins” and “Les Miserables” are part of the Gerard Alessandrini script.
Tickets: $35 general, $30 seniors and military, $20 patrons 25 and younger.
Reservations: 988-6131,

Film: Hi-def ‘Oz’ marks 70th anniversary

“The Wizard of Oz 70th Anniversary Hi-Def Event,” a one-nighter at 7 p.m. Sept. 23 at the Regal Dole Cannery cinema, marks the return of the iconic film — in a new dress, hi-def. Will the Yellow Brick Road and Dorothy's ruby red shoes be any brighter?
It is the first time that the film classic, starring Judy Garland and featuring the immortal “Over the Rainbow” tune, is being screened in high-definition.
Additionally, “To Oz! The Making of a Classic,” about the making of the movie compete with outtakes, interviews with the original Munchkin actors and costuming and special effects of the 1930s, will be shown.
Robert Osborne, classic film historian and host of Turner Classic Movies, introduces the film.
Further, Warner Home Video will release a re-mastered Blu-ray and DVD collectible, “The Wizard of Oz 70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition,” on Sept. 29. It offers pristine resolution six times higher than normal, plus 16 hours of bonus features, including four hours not previously available
Screening information:
Film information:

Clubs: Hot acts at Twist and Shout

Twist and Shout, a feature at Twist at the Hanohano atop the Sheraton Waikiki hotel, has announced its October slate of performers.
Entertainment from 7:30 to 10 p.m. Thursday through Sunday will feature:
• Thursdays — Hot Club of Hulaville.
• Fridays — Duleing Pianos, with Ginny Tiu and Noly Paa.
• Saturdays — Taimane Gardner.
• Sundays — Hot Club of Hulaville.
Information: 921-4600.

Golf: DeLima’s shooting for golfers

Comedian Frank DeLima’s annual “Pocho Shoot-Out,” a benefit golf tournament, will be held Oct. 5 at the Olomana Golf course in Waimanalo.
The event supports Frank DeLima’s Student Enrichment Program which enables students to make a smooth transition from grade school to middle school.
A three-person scramble format will prevail; team entry is $395 or $135 for individual players. Sponsorship premium packages also are available at $600, $1,000 and $1,500 levels.
Information: Mark DeLima at 330-948-9118,, or request a reservation form by writing Frank DeLima, 1560 Thurston Ave. # 603, Honolulu HI 96822. Late reservations are still being taken.

Clubs: Solid Rock Party at Pipeline

Four Hawai’i groups — Bari Bari 13, Friends of Adam, Loaded Dice and The Strangers — will be featured ina Rock Solid Dance Party, from 8 p.m. Friday (Sept. 18) at Pipeline Café.
Those 18 and older are welcome.
Tickets: $7.
Information: 593-9603,

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Sunset Jazz to remember lyricist Johnny Mercer

September 12th, 2009

One of American pop music’s renowned lyricist, Johnny Mercer, will be remembered by a corps of jazz stylists at the 10th Annual Sunset Jazz benefit concert, from 6 to 8 p.m. Sunday (Sept. 13) at the Great Lawn at La Pietra Hawaii School for Girls.

Singers Shari Lynn and Jimmy Borges will be pay homage to Mercer, who provided lyrics for such tunes as “Hooray for Hollywood,” “Autumn Leaves,” “Moon River,” “Charade,” “That Ol’ Black Magic,” and “Too Marvelous for Words.” This would be his centennial year.

“Live music — nothing like it,” said Shari Lynn, who added that La Pietra's ambience matters too,“as the sun sets and the twinkling lights of Waikiki emerge.”

With Borges and Baltazar aboard since the series began, Shari said she’s surrounded by greatness. “Jimmy is my partner in crime, the First Gentleman of Jazz, the Keeper of the Flame. And Gabe is a monumental player.”

The event also features Fascinatin’ Rhythm, with Ray Kaneyama, Steve Jones and Noel Okimoto, with guest appearances by saxophonist Gabe Baltazar, singer Rocky Brown and husband-trumpeter DeShannon Higa of Be Bop Tribal, and the 15-member Hawaii Pacific University Jazz Ensemble.

Tickets: $50, include dessert, a beverage (wine, soft drink or coffee). Picnic baskets may be brought for sunset dining. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Proceeds will benefit the La Pietra-Hawaii School for Girls.

Reservations: 922-2744.

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