'Heartbeat Hawaii' ends its Waikiki run on sour note
“Heartbeat Hawaii,” the Chinese martial arts action musical at the Royal Hawaiian Center’s Level 4 showroom, closed last night (Oct. 25) with little prior notice and on a sour note.
Its creator-director, Dr. Dennis Law, claimed in a closing notice there’s an “impossible predicament in Waikiki” for producers to succeed because of the theater’s “indifferent and arrogant landlord.”
The revue, featuring an imported 75-member cast of Chinese martial artists and dancers, opened July 17 to mixed reviews with a fusion show that boasted ethnic elements in a spectacle that was more fantasy than cultural, with the Hawaiian elements raising brows among traditionalists. Attendance never reached expected levels in the 700-seat showroom amid the sluggish economy.
Law, who is president and CEO of Sight, Sound & Action, which mounted the Waikiki production, and also of a successful operation at The Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts, charged that the Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate, landlords of the site, is damaging Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop’s legacy of enlightenment because of the “selfish arrogance caused by those chosen to administer her sizable fortune.”
“Heartbeat Hawaii” was the second failed show in the high-tech multi-million showroom; earlier, Roy Tokujo's “Waikiki Nei” opened and closed also because of poor attendance in a weak economy.
Law’s financial losses “is not without some reward; I have learned the valuable lesson that my estate planning must have new provisions to prevent successors from making a mess of my wishes.”