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Arcadia’s ‘Follies:’ An ode to seniorhood

April 21st, 2015



Jack Cione and his senior residents at Arcadia Retirement Residence have outdone themselves with this year’s “Follies,” themed “Everything Old Is New Again.” It plays to residents and guests through Sunday (April 26).

Like wine, the show gets better and better with age — and bigger in scope with more eye-popping costumes.  Its three-week run is sold out, but a resident could get you a seat — if they’re still available. But worry not; the show will have a hana hou expanded performance for the public at 7 p.m. May 23 at the Hawaii Theatre, when Hawaii Ballroom Dance Assn. members join and expand the party with tango, foxtrot, salsa, waltz and more.

“Everything Old,” delivered by the venerable Marci Taylor-Kaneshige early with a reprise late in the show,  is newly pertinent as the vets in the cast (from the Arcadia and sister 15 Craigside camp) display rigorous determination and rousing execution adding dancing and prancing to the congenial lip service.

Result: Charm and enchantment a-plenty.

The eldest performer in “Follies” is 86, but age is only an arbitrary number.

There’s a sweeping power and potency of feeling young in this year’s edition and truly, the revue is an ode to seniorhood, a validation that with age comes the wisdom of celebrating life.

And that feel-young mantra is best stated in a monologue, originated by Sophie Tucker, entitled “Business of Staying Young,” mouthed with accuracy and intimacy by Elaine Stroka, who embraces the “Make staying young a career”  mantra of vntage Tucker for a modern crowd. That segment and its timeless message underscore the joie de vivre of the entire cast.

Oh, a cluster of younger folks learning the business of camaraderie with the seniors, provides a widening ripple of new blood for the “Follies,” the 10th Cione has produced and directed for his Arcadians and their families. Best of the younger lot is the leggy and lovely Allyson Doherty, who has solo spots throughout the revue, as she has done since joining the more senior ‘ohana a couple of years ago.

But this  year’s is the best yet.

The template is familiar: Assemble tunes and themes that tap the rich history of hits and composers, deck the troupers with plumes and rhinestones, in Las Vegas style costumes to robust red-white-and-blue Americana, and dust off some jazz, one island  novelty, and  salute carnivale show queens in all their senior glory.

Some costumes are rented, some were freshly minted for this outing; some were tweaked from garb from the past, befitting the “everything old is new again” undercurrent.

Musically,  a medley of composer Irving  Berlin’s best includes holiday pauses — “Easter Parade,” complete with an array of bunny-and-floral hats, and “White Christmas,” with its wintery warmth.

That  comedic Spike Jones “Cocktails for Two,” with its somewhat looney tempo and goofy utterances, enables Dr. Ed Kagihara to deliver classic nonsensical Jonesian lingo, and a nutty “My Castanuts” delivered by in-drag Emmet White, Arcadia CEO, is all about jumping into the spirit and splash of old-fashioned show biz.

Oh, what fun.

You’re likely to experiences songs you might have forgotten, like “I Wanna Buy a Paper Doll,” truly one of the most completely satisfying segments. Dentist John Kotake, who’s not an Arcadian (yet)  but embodies the spirit of participation and collaboration with, his wife, Karen Kotake. They are ballroom dancers who know all the moves, converts who now are lip-synchers, too.  The joy in this entry are those oversized paper doll cut-outs as props, with the women dancers clad in ingenious costumes fashioned from paper, whirling and twirling with their gentleman partners. Celebrants here include Patty DelaCruz, Mark DelaCruz, Selina Mattos and Kevin Chee.

Sheila Black continues to focus on themes local, with “Will You Love Me When My Carburetor’s Busted,” and she has the proper measure of integrity to deal out the island humor with heart.

A Cleopatra section,  complete with King Tut,; a toe-tapping ragtime romp to “Alexander’s Ragtime Band;” and a patriotic flag-waver preceded by “Yankee Doodle Dandy” are old schemes repotted with new verve by director Cione, the master who can muster up professionalism among his mostly amateur cast.

Everyone on stage looks and feels like they’re having fun, including Millie Chun, a casualty last year when she fell 20 feet off the Hawaii Theatre stage and into the pit. It took her a good year to recover, but she’s back on the horse, having the time of her life, galloping along with her senior peers.

While Cione has mentioned this would be his last “Follies,” consider a contradictory notice in the program booklet that  announces “Best of Broadway” will be the theme of the 11th annual production, opening May 6, 2016. Another opening, another show of senior might and magic.




7:30 p.m. Friday (April 24) and Saturday (April 26); 2 p.m. Sunday (April 26)

Arcadia Retirement Residence

Admission restricted to residents and their guests; sold out




7 p.m. May 23

Hawaii Theatre

Featuring the “Follies” cast plus Hawaii Ballroom Dance Assn. dancers, with guests Bo Irvine, comedian, and Randy Smith, singer

$30 all seats





Now it's four Diana Ross shows — seats on sale Saturday

March 27th, 2015



rossClaiming history-making box office, the presenter of Diana Ross' first Hawaii concerts has announced that seats are sold out for the June 13 Blaisdell Arena debut, so Rick Bartalini has  added a second show before the premiere -- June 12.

Tickets go on sale Saturday (March 28) at the box office.

Similarly, two Maui shows — at Maui Arts and Cultural Center's Castle Theatre — are sold out.

The first is June 14, the add-on date is June 15. Check with the MACC box office for possible availability.


Taimane: Reaching for the stars, performing like one

March 27th, 2015



7 to 10 p.m. Saturday (March 28),

Bishop Museum lawn and planetarium



For her latest CD, Taimane Gardner reaches for the stars for inspiration and shines like one as a result.

The disc is entitled “We Are Made of Stars” (Taimane Gardner 213), being formally launched Saturday at a CD release party at Bishop Museum.

She may not yet be a true household name, but visitors have seen and heard Taimane, as she is billed, since her ukulele and vocal artistry have been widely exposed in performances with the late Don Ho as a featured act, and also at Waikiki hotels like the Hyatt Regency  Waikiki where she strums her trusty ukulele as a soloist.

This self-produced CD looms as her ticket to stardom — her most creative effort to date and one in which most of her compositions are inspired by what’s out there.

Ambitious is the defining word here; Taimane explores elements from the universe to shape and mold her melodies.  The key: Performing the melodies as stand-alone tunes for her live performances. That’s to say, within the context of the album, she has fashioned a concept disc with credibility, merit and invention. The skies and stars have long had an impact on Hawaiians, from navigators to worshippers, so why not a musician as well? But will they stand up outside of the concept album?

Her style and creativity would prevail on terra firma,  for sure, and there’s no reason why a female ukester can’t make the charts. Homegrown sensation Jake Shimabukuro made it on his own terms, and Taimane can also take flight.

The sky’s the limit, so “Jupiter” — one of the most energetic tracks here —is quite the instrumental jam, with choral riffs, and richly flashy without being showy.

“Mars” also is dazzling amongf  the finds. Her ukulele style is well served here, with alternately simple and sizzling strumming. Wordless, she lets her fingers do all the talking and the dancing — but the song also features Tahitian lyrics and chanting.

Similarly, “Mercury” is a vivid and sparkling excursion with nimble and contagious strumming that has become her forte.

There’s a mix of different languages here and there — Japanese, Hawaiian, Native American — on  “Mother Earth,” a Hawaiian mele with requisite chant format and syncopation, with Dr. Pualani Kanahele featured amid a familiar “E Ala E” chant and the evergreeb Japanese “Sakura” tune.

For contrast, examine “Father Sky,” softer in tone and delivery, with quiet nobility and dignity.

Overall, it’s all spacey but satisfying. It's time to fully welcome Taimane to the galaxy of greats.

Lawsuit questions CBS’ use of ‘Five-0’ theme song

March 24th, 2015


wave On one side: the children of composer Morton Stevens, pictured below,  the composer of the iconic “Hawaii Five-0” theme song, expressly for the Jack Lord original, and still featured in the Alex O’Loughlin reboot.


mortOn the other side: CBS, the TV network which aired the original “Five-0” from 1968 to 1980 and continues to host the updated show.

The issue: a Stevens family lawsuit, alleging that CBS wrongfully filed a renewal registration for use of the “Five-0” theme after Stevens died and the TV reboot consequently infringes on their rights.

Stevens, an Emmy-winning creator of film and TV scores, died in 1991, about six years before a renewal copyright decision for the current Hawaii-filmed version of the procedural was in the making, according to the Hollywood Reporter and other online websites.

So the composer’s children filed a lawsuit, contending that CBS had no right to retain and use the iconic theme song. The reboot now is in the midst of completing filiming its fifth season.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who watches “Five-0,” wrote a decision regarding rights to Martin Scorcese’s “Raging Bull” film, the decision for which may have impact on whether CBS can legally continue to use the theme song.

(In the “Raging Bull” instance, Paula Petrella, whose father wrote works that ultimately became the basis of the “Bull” film, but he died before the end of the copyright term; an issue was whether Petrella’s delayed lawsuit filing should  preclude her claims against MGM and 20th Century Fox, with justice Ginsburg deciding not to impose a “sue soon, or forever hold your peace” ruling for copyright lawsuits. This implies that the Stevens may bypass the fact that they were put on notice in 1997,”  according to the Hollywood Reporter).

The bottom line: Under copyright law, for works created before 1978, when an author dies before the original term of a copyright grant expires, rights revert to the heirs.

The new lawsuit claims CBS has prepared a “new derivative recording of the ‘Hawaii Five-0’ theme and embodied it in the new series and the soundtrack album.”

The filing by the Stevens family seeks actual damages and profits or alternatively, statutory damages.

A CBS spokesman said “We were surprised and disappointed by the lawsuit filed by the heirs of Morton Stevens more than five years after the new ‘Hawaii Five-0’ premiered, without any prior discussion between the parties. Although we have great respect and appreciation for Mr. Stevens’ work on the original ‘Hawaii Five-0’ theme song, his heirs; claims are without merit and we will vigorously defend this case.”


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First-day Ross ticket sales brisk; Maui adds 2nd show

March 22nd, 2015

With 40 per cent of the 7,000 available seats sold Sunday (March 22) in the first six hours for Diana Ross’ June 13 Hawaii concert debut at Blaisdell Arena, promoter-presenter Rick Bartalini of California has extended first-dibs sales to residents for another day today (March 23).

On Maui, the June 14 concert is nearly sold out, so by popular demand, a second performance is set for 7:30 p.m. June 15 at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center's Castle Theatre. Public sales begin at 10 a.m. Friday (March 27), but MACC members can secure tickets from 10 a.m. Tuesday (March 24) for the added performance. To join, call 808-243-4236.

Folks with a Hawaii zip code are able to buy up to eight  seats , from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today (March 23), in person only  at the Blaisdell box office. The buy-early courtesy to Hawaii fans is a result of the swift sellout for  homegrown star Bruno Mars’ concerts last year at Blaisdell, mostly snapped  up by folks outside of the Hawaii region, resulting in overpriced tickets from scalpers and online resellers, a major frustration for hometowners.

Public sales beyond Hawaii go on sale Friday (March 27). Breakdowns on what levels of tickets were bought in the first wave have not been revealed for the ex-leader of The Supremes.dianaross Prices range from a low of $45 to a high of $225, with seats also available at $125, $85 and $65.  Maui admission is $250, $150, $100 and $75. Service fees apply. To order by phone, call 1-800-745-3000 (Honolulu) or 1-808-242-7469 (Maui). Honolulu online sales will continue at; on Maui, at; in-person sales also will continue at Honolulu and Maui box offices. Ross is the soulful superstar hitmaker of “Baby Love,” “You Can’t Hurry Love,” “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “Stop! In the Name of Love,” “Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand),” “Come See About Me,” “Endless Love,” “I’m Comin’ Out” and “Theme From ‘Mahogany,’” some while she fronted The Supremes, some as a break-out soloist. As an actress, she starred in such film vehicles as “Mahogany,” “The Wiz” and “Lady Sings the Blues.”

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