Archive for September, 2011

‘Men’ and ‘Girls’ soar, but ‘Five-0’ ratings dip

September 20th, 2011

“Two and a Half Men” and “2 Broke Girls” were hot, in Monday’s CBS viewership.
“Hawaii Five-0’s” sophomore season premiere was not.
“Castle,” opposite “Five-0,” was hot.
“Dancing With the Stars” on ABC was not. Ditto, NBC’s “The Playboy Club” and “The Sing-Off.”
The Nielsen ratings numbers told the story for Monday.
With Ashton Kutcher gliding in on “Men,” replacing the dethroned Charlie Sheen, the show garnered 27.7 viewers, numbers that generally are in the Fox “American Idol” ballpark. “Men’s” 10.3 rating for adults 18-49 also was a high, up 110 per cent over last fall’s eighth season launch. That’s a lot of sheen, without Sheen.
Two half-hours of “How I Met Your Mother” (11.3 million, 4.7; 12.2 million, 5.1) proved to be a powerful lead-in block for the “2 Broke Girls” comedy, which tipped the charts with 19.1 million viewers and a 7.0 rating. In the Monday block of CBS powerhouses, “Five-0” didn’t appear to benefit from the comedic lead-in, garnering 12 million-3.4 rating for adults 18-49, a 13 per cent drop from season one. Its chief rival, “Castle,” pulled in 13.6 million- 3.3 rating, a 22 per cent bounce up from last year.
About “Five-0”: Why the tepid numbers, despite the hype?
Too much time, to unspool the season one cliffhanger?
Too many new characters in the tropical procedural?
A diffused focus on the prime four-member “Five-0” team?
Baddies turning soft?
Some pluses: Terry O’Quinn from “Lost” is a newbie as Lt. Cmdr. John White (though a bit too chatty as a mentor and mediator) and the upgrading of Masi Oka (“Heroes”) as Dr. Max Bergman (deliciously creepy as the geeky coroner).
Some suggestions: More meaningful and motivational backstory elements, if this will be a prevailing m.o. in the shows to come; Monday’s episode just had too many implausible lapses, not enough meaty surprises.
But the final frame — a setup for future shows — was a great touch.
And hooray: “Book ‘em Danno” is back, uttered, of course, by Alex O’Loughlin (Steve McGarrett) to Scott Caan (Danno Williams). More often would be mo bettah.

Irish favorite ‘Riverdance’ stepdancing to Hawaii

September 13th, 2011

“Riverdance,” the Irish dance sensation of syncopated dance feet and feats, will make its Hawaii premiere in a pre-Christmas run Dec. 7 through 11 at the Blaisdell Concert Hall.
Expect stepdancing grace and precision, set to a soundtrack of contagious melodies and tempos with Irish and global themes.
The production — one of three companies now touring the world — is part of the “Broadway in Hawaii” series that last year brought “Beauty and the Beast” and “Cats” to Honolulu. The presenter is MagicSpace Entertainment, formerly known as NewSpace Entertainment.
“Riverdance” originated in 1995 in Ireland and is produced by the husband and wife team of John McColgan and Moya Doherty, through their production Dublin-based company, Abhann Productions.
The production is known for its company of 25 stomping pairs of feet, dancing to original music by Bill Whelan, seen and applauded by more than 22 million people in 10,000 performances staged in 40 countries on four continents.
The Irish stepdancing format famously featured Michael Flatley, who emerged as a “Riverdance” star, but he left the ranks to form his own “Lord of the Dance” musical.
Tickets go on sale Sept. 24 at all Ticketmaster outlets, Walmart locations and the Blaisdell box office; prices are from $25 to$75, depending on playdates, with discounts available for military, seniors 62 and older and students for selected performances. Call 800-745-3000 or visit

Review: ‘Phantom’ a phenom as Paliku stages its best

September 12th, 2011

Paliku Theatre comes of age with its stellar production of “The Phantom of the Opera,” extended with five new Wednesday shows through Oct. 23 at the Windward Community College campus. If you can secure humpday tickets, go and see for yourself.
On all fronts — vocal leads, ensemble casting, costuming, orchestral integrity, choral identity, choreographic splendor, set and light design and direction — “Phantom” is a phenom, the most expensive production ever mounted at Paliku, and easily the best ever. There’s simultaneous intimacy and spectacle throughout the show and ranks, from the falling chandelier to the Phantom’s moving-boat lair, from the grand masquerade ball to the splendid chemistry of lead and secondary players particularly in the execution of the “Notes” interplay that blends comedy with drama in the most exquisite sense.
Thanks to the ambitious vision of director Ronald Bright and the risky wisdom of theater manager Tom Holowach (who appears in a minor role as the outgoing manager of the Paris Opera House where the Phantom lurks and creates havoc for an opera company), the payoff ultimately is in the response of the public. Though “Phantom” — the longest and still-running musical on Broadway — has previously set record-setting houses in two separate visits by touring companies at the Blaisdell Concert Hall, this is a fully-realized home-grown effort by local talent and resources.
And it’s been embraced with sellout after sellout — hence the mid-week add-ons.
Indeed, there’s a lot to tout and applaud.
As the disfigured angel of music, Miles Wesley is a virile and hypnotic Phantom, bringing a youthful swagger to the fold. Lydia E. Pusateri, as the soprano Christine Daae, is incredibly seasoned as the object of the Phantom’s passion — and right on the money. As her other suitor, Raoul, Kyle Malis brings vigor and substance to the triangle. And Jaime Blu Craycroft is every bit the fiery prima donna as Carlotta, the resident diva.
Kudos, too, to character plays Douglas Scheer (Firmin) and Leonard J. Villanueva (Andre), the new opera house owners, who — with the other principals — help create a stunning tapestry of theatrics when the OG (opera ghost) sends instructional notes about his casting and yet-to-be-paid fees. Marliese Ahuna (Madame Giry) and Madison Eror (Meg Giry), as the ballet mistress and her daughter, complete the resourceful second-tier casting.
What Johnathan Reed lacks vocally in a scene or two as the buffoonish opera baritone Piangi, he makes up with joyous comedics.
Director Bright’s task, with parallel challenges for stage honcho Holowach, is to meet the level of professionalism of legit theater, working primarily with community players who share the passion of mounting an iconic project. His enthusiasm is matched by the generous energy and dedication from his players, in key and ensemble roles.
Clarke Bright’s musical direction is impeccable; but then, it’s in his genes (he’s the son of the director). His orchestral flourishes, from the daunting synthesized organ work to the subtle woodwind and brass riffs, enhance the vocal dynamics of the cast.
The Act 2 opening sequence is where all the elements sparkle and sizzle, with Mary Chesnut Hicks’ vocal direction, Adealani Malia’s choreography, Evette Tanouye Allerdings’ costume design and execution, Lloyd S. Riford III’s set and lighting design and R. Andrew Doan’s tech direction clicking to punctuate the drama and the flair in this defining “Phantom” scene, capped by the Phantom’s dominating red-costume appearance at the top of the grand staircase before he swooshes away in a puff of smoke.
That's the pinnacle of this "Phantom."
It’s comforting to recognize veteran community stage faces in the ensemble, along with a few newbies.
Finally, the Andrew Lloyd Webber score remains rich and ravishing, with more than a lion’s share of hummables and singables: “Music of the Night,” “Phantom of the Opera,” “Masquerade,” “Think of Me,” “All I Ask of You” and “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again.”
Even if you've experienced this on Broadway, on tour, or in an earlier rendering, this one's a gotta-see.

Wednesday ‘Phantom’
performances added;
beware of road detour

Demand for seats has prompted five additional performances of Paliku Theatre’s “The Phantom of the Opera” at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 21 and 28 and Oct. 5, 12 and 19.
“We had already extended three times before we opened (Sept. 9), all the way to Sunday Oct. 23,” said Tom Holowach, manager of the Windward Community College theater.
He polled the cast to see if additional shows could be mounted, and the actors and musicians agreed.
Wednesday was the best night for the add-ons, because WCC has a heavy lead of night classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, making parking scarce. Wednesday classes end at 6:45 p.m., opening parking stalls for theater patrons.
However, because of road construction in front of the theater, normal right-hand access to Paliku Theatre is blocked.
Those attending all shows should detour (turn left instead) and head for the parking lot in a clockwise direction. Stalls on the back road, as well as an overflow sector, may also be used for parking.
Curtain time is 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 4 p.m. Sundays now through the extensions through Oct. 23; 7:30 p.m. for the new Wednesday playdates; no further matinees.
Tickets: $49 VIP, $45 adults, $40 discount, $30 students.
Reservations: 235-7310 or

The fall drama season means lots to see, explore, applaud

September 7th, 2011

Two community theater groups launch their fall seasons this month— one with a farcical whodunit and the other with a musical about a fading film star in the era of the talkies. A third group brings back the eternally popular Broadway favorite — with a masked man pursuing the hand and heart of a rising opera star — in its community theater premiere.
A fourth group, already playing its first production of the fall show, adds a Readers Theatre offering, too.
So there’s a lot to see, a lot to explore, a lot to applaud.

The premieres this month include:
“The 39 Steps,” a stage adaptation by Patrick Barlow of a film by Alfred Hitchcock, is an Island premiere, at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 8 at Manoa Valley Theatre. It runs at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays, 3 and 8 p.m. Saturdays and 4 p.m. Sundays, through Sept. 25.
“Sunset Boulevard,” the Andrew Lloyd Webber about a silent movie star struggling with the arrival of sound, making its Island premiere at 8 p.m. Sept. 30 at Diamond Head Theatre. The musical is based on a Billy Wilder film, and features lyrics by Don Black and Christopher Hampton. It repeats at 8 p.m. Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 4 p.m. Sundays, with additional 3 p.m. matinees Oct. 8 and 15, through Oct. 16. Mary Gutzi is guest artist in the lead role of Norma Desmond, the fading star with unfulfilled ambitions and a doomed relationship with a rising screenwriter.
“The Phantom of the Opera,” another Andrew Lloyd Webber (with lyricist Charles Hart) spectacle, receives its community theater launch at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 9 at Paliku Theatre, Windward Community College. It repeats at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 4 p.m. Sundays, through Oct. 9. Nearly all performances are already sold out.

Already playing:
“Harvey,” Mary Chase’s comedy classic about an invisible rabbit, which opened last Aug. 26 at the TAG Theatre at Dole Cannery in Iwilei. It repeats at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and at 2 p.m. Sundays, through Sept. 18.

And ready to roll:
"The Maestro's Woman," a drama by Jan Shiarella McGrath, in a TAG Readers Theatre presentation directed by Victoria Gail White, for one weekend, at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 23 and 24.

The details:

‘The Phantom of the Opera’
Known for: A falling chandelier, a grand masquerade ball, a masked obsessive suitor with a deformed face, and a soprano heroine afraid but attracted to the phantom who lives in the Paris Opera House; plus a host of hit songs (“Think of Me,” “The Music of the Night,” “The Phantom of the Opera,” “All I Ask of You”).
The players: Miles Wesley, the Phantom; Lydia Pusateri, Christine Daae; Kyle Malis, Raoul; Jaime Craycroft, Carlotta; Johnny Reed, Ubaldo Piangi; Doug Scheer and Len Villanueva, Firm and Andre; Madison Eror, Meg Giry; and Marlise Ahuna,Madame Giry.
Backstage team: Ronald Bright, director; Clarke Bright, musical director; Lloyd “Sandy” Riford, lighting and set designer; Evette Tanouye Allderdings, costumer.
Tickets: $49 VIP, $45 adults, $40 discount, $30 students. Advisory: nearly all seats are gone.
Reservations: 235-7310,

‘The 39 Steps’
Known for: its twisted storyline from the 1935 Hitchcock film, blending mystery with comedy, with 150 characters (from heroes to villains, from children to inanimate objects) portrayed by a cast of four.
The players: Elitei Tatafu Jr., Richard Hannay; Samanta Stolzfus, Annavella Schmidt/Pamela/Margaret; Britton Adams, Clown # 1; Duncan Dalzell, Clown # 2.
Backstage crew: Rob Duval, director; Janine Myers, lighting designer; Jason Taglinaetti, sound designer; Duncan Dalzell, set designer; Dusty Behner, costumer; Greg Howell, hair and makeup designer; Sara Ward, props designer; Shell Dalzell, special effects designer.
Tickets: $30; $25, seniors and military; $15, youths 25 and under.
Reservations: 988-6131,

‘Sunset Boulevard’
Known for: A grand staircase, from which a fading silent film star descends, and a number of Lloyd Webber hit songs (“As If We Never Said Goodbye,” “With One Look”).
The players: Mary Gutzi, actress Norma Desmond; Mark Pennaz, screenwriter Joe Gillis;
Olivier Jodloman, Max Von Mayerling; Jody Bill, Betty Schaeffer; Gerald Altwies, Cecil B. DeMille.
Backstage crew: John Rampage, director and choreographer; Phil Hidalgo, musical director.
Tickets: $12 to $42; discounts for children under 18, full-time students, seniors 62 and older, active-duty military.
Reservations: 733-0274,

Known for: That invisible hare, immortalized in an iconic film, who is an imaginary friend of Elwood P. Dowd, who introduces Harvey to everyone he meets. His sister, embarrassed by all of this, institutionalizes him in a sanitarioum.
The players: Sam Polson, Elwood P. Dowd; Patricia Gillespie, Veta Louise Simmons;
Lauren Ballesteros, Miss Johnson; Lauren Murata, Myrtle Mae Simmons; Kathy Bowers, Mrs. Chauvenet; Adriane Flower, Ruth Kelly; D. Tafa’i Silipa, Duane Wilson; Thomas Smith, Dr. Lyman Sanderson; Bob Hamilton, William R. Chumley; Lauren Ballesteros, Betty Chumley; Richard C. Goodman, Omar Gaffney; S. Rick Crump, E.J. Lofgren
Backstage crew: Brad Powell, director.
Tickets: $50 general, $15 seniors; $12, students and military with ID; all seats $10 on Thursdays.
Reservations: 722-6941,

Coming soon:

“The Maestro’s Woman”

Known for: a shared tale about love and music, of Elvia Puccini and her life with composer Giacomo Puccini.
The players: Jim Aina, Laura Buzzell, Sara Langham and David Farmer, with Peter Clark, Stacy Groves, Susan Killen, John Wythe White.
Admission: $10 suggested donation at the door.

What do you think of Murphy as Oscar host?

September 6th, 2011

Eddie Murphy, the comedian-actor, will host this coming year’s Oscarcast, set for next Feb. 26.
Is this a joke, or a good idea?
When it comes to the Academy Awards, stand-ups often do the best. Apart from the veterans Bob Hope and Johnny Carson, laughsters such as Billy Crystal, Steve Martin, Whoopi Goldberg, Chris Rock, Jon Stewart and Ellen DeGeneres have basked in the limelight ... with mixed results, ranging from terrific to tepid.
Murphy, a former stand-up comic and “Saturday Night Live” cast member, has been an erratic movie headliner of late; but his emergence comes as no surprise when you learn that Brett Ratner, producer of Hollywood’s biggest event (co-working with Don Mischer), also is director of Murphy’s next film with Ben Stiller, “Tower Heist,” which will be released Nov. 4, three months before the Oscarcast. Should the film soar at the box office, the public will obviously find Murphy a magnet to watch; if not, what then?
Surely, last year’s James Franco-Anne Hathaway mis-match had very little chemistry, an odd coupling that bombed. So the planners had to think outside of the box.
Murphy assuredly has creds to host, as long as he remembers that this is a globally-watched family show. Censors may have to be at the ready to bleep some words. Or not.
This could be his yellow brick road back to the pot of gold. It could also jumpstart a long mentioned revival of his “Beverly Hills Cops” franchise, which has been stalled because of his lack of box office appeal in recent times.
“I am enormously honored to join the great list of past Academy of Award hosts,” Murphy said in a news release from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Tuesday. Who wouldn't be?
Surely, he should be on good behavior and prep for this important gig.
But would you watch him on the Oscars?
If you had a say, who would you put in the spotlight? I would think that Charlie Sheen would be a no-go from the get-go, but what about Hugh Jackman, Neil Patrick Harris, Oprah Winfrey, Queen Latifah, Jay Leno, David Letterman, Ashton Kutcher, Sandra Bullock, Daniel Radcliffe, Matthew Broderick, Bette Midler or anyone else, established or up-and-coming?

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