Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

Moore’s summer play is a comedy of Broadway

May 7th, 2015


only moore mitri





Joe Moore, left;  Paul Mitri, above

For his summer stage vehicle, Joe Moore, KHON2 anchor, has tapped Terrence McNally’s “It’s Only a Play,” a comedy still running on Broadway. It will open an 11-performance run June 18 and continue through June 28 at the Hawaii Theatre.Directed by Logan Reed, who worked with playwright McNally on this play on the Great White Way, the play features Moore as James Wicker, a television star enacted by Nathan Lane on Broadway, with Paul Mitri playing Peter Astin, a playwright being played by Matthew Broderick.

Lane and Broderick were the one-two punch of another Broadway-themed Broadway blockbuster, Mel Brooks'  Tony Award-winning "The Producers."

Described as a Broadway comedy about the comedy of Broadway, “It's Only a Play” combines backstage and onstage antics and deals with the opening night trauma of the playwright anxiously awaiting to see if his show is a hit. His best friend is the TV star and the characters include a fledgling producer, played by Linda Purl; a somewhat erratic diva of a leading lady, enacted by Cathy Foy; a genius director portrayed by Ryan Wuestewald, an infamous drama critic played by Tom Holowach;  and a fresh-to-New York coat check attendant played by Deszmond Gilla.

It’s both a celebration of the world of the stage, on both sides of the footlights. For local audiences, it’s an opportunity to examine a play while it’s still in a run on Broadway.

Performances will be at 7 p.m. June 18, 7:30 p.m. June 19, 2 and 7:30 p.m. June 20, 2 p.m. June 21, 7 p.m. June 24, 7 p.m. June 25, 7:30 p.m. June 26, 2 and 7:30 p.m. June 27 and 2 p.m. June 28.

Tickets are priced at $37, $32 and $22, depending on seat locations, with $72 VIP package that includes prime seats, an autographed program, and a post-show backstage meet-and-greet with the cast.

Seats are being sold only in the theater’s orchestra and loge sections on the main floor, not in the balcony.




Tickets go on sale Tuesday. Reservations: 528-0506.

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Has Lei Day lost its luster? Restore Waikiki Shell concert!

May 1st, 2015

Is May Day still Lei Day in Hawaii?

Not so much today.

A key reason: The Brothers Cazimero, who made it a tradition to don lei on May 1 to join their festive hoopla at the Waikiki Shell, no longer stage their concert at the Waikiki Shell.


They did it for nearly 30 years, ending a valuable community commodity in the mid-2000s.  Now there’s no one — an individual or a group — producing an event that has the allure and ammunition like an ol’ May Day party like Robert and Roland Cazimero’s.

Remember? You’d work daytime, and anticipate an evening Lei Day show, if it was a weekday. A weekend was easier to navigate your picnic spot on the amphitheater’s lawn. The concert was always a one-nighter, on May 1.

You’d pack or buy your bento dinner, and revel in the Hawaiian music pageantry. Occasionally, hula folks would dance in the aisles and amid the throng of the lawn crowd. So the fun and joy spread from stage to the audience, an example of the aloha spirit at work.

May Day also had its own song, “May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii,” a composition of Leonard “Red” Hawk, that was unilaterally performed and sung by school celebrants, as well as The Caz at the Shell.  But when was the last time you heard this tune? Do you recall its lyrics?  Can you still sing it?

The opening verse:

May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii

“Garlands of flowers everywhere

“All of  the colors in the rainbow

“Maidens with blossoms in their hair…”

Sure, some of you parents support your kids’ May Day pageants at school. But even these modest school programs — also remember those maypole dances? — are  becoming endangered species.

During my tenure at the Honolulu Advertiser, I used to acquire two lei on May Day. One to wear daytime at work, another for that night’s pageantry with Robert and Roland Cazimero, at the Shell. Their mantra: make a lei, give a lei, wear a lei.

The idea to get festive was a defining event that corralled both residents and visitors alike, to celebrate the music and the dance of these islands.  Thus, the Caz bros had the savvy and the integrity to summon their hula gents and maidens, their featured dancer Leina’ala Kalama Heine, and a notable guest star roster (always a secret, till show time) over the nearly three decades, for some serious sharing and caring.

For many locals, this became pretty much the only venture to Waikiki at night in a year. After all, the era of packed Waikiki showrooms, a cluster of movie theaters, and scores of new restaurants were reasons for an outing, but no longer. Surviving showrooms now target visitor audiences, the film theaters are gone, and locals just avoid Waikiki (you listening, you foodie truck fans?).

Lei Day was the kingpin of attractions in its time. (Sorry, Aloha Festivals, but happy you still have a ho’olaulea and a parade… and the still ongoing daytime lei contest don’t count).

The Lei Day gathering was “invented” by island artist and writer Don Blanding and Grace Tower Warren, who felt the urgency to celebrate aloha and culture. The tradition was revived in the 1980s when The Caz did the first one nighttime at the Shell.  The momentum and the magic made each outing a sellout, but the effort took time and money and a year’s commitment, since when one was pau, planning for the next began soon thereafter.

With the homeless crisis putting a smear on Waikiki, there really is an urgent need to put a positive spin on our beloved visitor mecca.  A Lei Day concert on May Day would be a quick band-aid, but it needs a new vision and a new focus — perhaps a project that the Hawaii Tourism Authority and/or the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau can support, enlisting the kokua of the entertainment community.

May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii, and ironically May Day is the universal call for help, too.

Help! We need restore Lei Day tradition luster again.



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





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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.

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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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