Backstage

Taylor Takatani (from left), Bailey Dalzell, Tia Elisha Hill, Camille Erdman and Marley Mehring will perform in “The Crucible,” presented by Seabury Hall Performing Arts & Maui Academy of Performing Arts. Peter Swanzy photo

Timely themes in ‘The Crucible’

Two years ago when I profiled the Kamehameha Schools Maui production of “The Crucible,” I highlighted Arthur Miller’s less than subtle political statement by means of his play about the Salem witch trials. When it debuted in 1956, it was blatantly obvious to all that Miller was taking on ...

Ailey II dancers appear in “Sketches of Flames.” Kyle Froman photo

Ailey II

“The most unique thing is you,” is what legendary dance innovator Alvin Ailey frequently told his students. Troy Powell, artistic director of Ailey II (formerly the Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble), shared that quote with me in a phone interview last week. I had asked Powell why tonight’s ...

Kristi Scott (from left), Lina Aiko Krueger and Sandra Bowes appear in a scene from “The Cemetery Club.” BETH COOPER photo

‘Cemetery Club’ offers laughs, heart

Ivan Menchell’s “The Cemetery Club” is an incredibly evocative account of three widows striving for contentment amid chapter two of their middle-aged lives. The beautifully crafted script, filled with many very funny one-liners, is in many ways two sides of the same coin: a comical, ...

Rosie Herrera Dance Theatre performers will take the stage tonight in the Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s Castle Theater. • Photo courtesy MACC

ProArts presents Maui production of ‘The Cemetery Club’

Ivan Menchell’s “The Cemetery Club” might make you think of “Steel Magnolias,” “Beaches” and the 2014 ProArts Inc. Maui production of “The Dixie Swim Club.” This comedy-drama about three Jewish widows who meet once a month to visit their husbands’ graves debuted on Broadway ...

Copyright 2017 Jack Grace Photography

Moving Performances

With performances by Maui Aerial Arts at the Historic Iao Theater in Wailuku last month, last weekend’s Common Ground Dance Festival, and upcoming appearances by Maui’s Adaptations Dance Theater, Miami’s Rosie Herrera Dance Theatre and New York City’s Ailey II, dance has taken center ...

Andrew Phoenix photo

Wonderheads

Two years ago, I stumbled upon the Wonderheads while surfing the internet. I was instantly interested in their work and thought Maui audiences would enjoy them as well. The theatrical trio of Kate Braidwood, Andrew Phoenix and Emily Windler will be bringing their well-traveled and popular piece ...

Considine’s play, “Game of Thrones: The Musical,” features puppets. Photo courtesy the artist

Maui Fringe Theater Festival

I’m compelled to wave the “conflict of interest” white flag every January for the reason that, in addition to writing about the Maui Fringe Theater Festival, I’ve also served as festival coordinator for the past six years. The Maui Fringe is a passion project for me because fringe ...

Emily Windler (from left), Kate Braidwood and Andrew Phoenix of Wonderheads; Photo courtesy Maui Arts & Cultural Center.

Coming up… Youth shows, masked performers, comedy, dance and much more

Maui’s constantly expanding performing arts scene, by virtue of larger attendance each season, has spawned a hefty schedule of events for every arts organization on the island. It wasn’t that many years ago when the Maui Arts & Cultural Center might offer 20 or 30 performances per ...

Photo courtesy Rita Rudner

Rita Rudner

Four years ago, I interviewed comedian Rita Rudner and upon speaking with her by phone again last week, I asked if she remembered her personal Hawaiian word, “mahuka,” that she shared with me. “Yes, I can’t believe you remembered that,” she said. “I still use it.” In 2012 she ...

Moses Goods stars in “Duke”
Photo courtesy Maui Arts & Cultural Center

OVATIONS

One of my favorite columns to write is at the end of the year, looking back on the finest performing arts showstoppers of the year. 2016 marks the sixth year that I have compiled a list of my personal favorite moments of the year, and inevitably due to our constantly growing live entertainment ...

Seabury Hall students will star in the Holiday Performing Arts Concert. JACK GRACE photos

’Tis the season at Seabury

If there is a recurring theme for this holiday season it would be “sold out.” Backstage only covers the performing arts, but when you include the immensely popular annual concerts such as “Willie Wonderland” and “Holiday Pops” alongside the recent productions of “Nutcracker ...

Lorne Direnfeld photo

‘Nutcracker Sweets’

Although many holiday-themed events are nearly sold out all    over Maui, there is a bounty of delightful performances to choose from this weekend. With more than 150 dancers participating, families and friends alone make the Maui Academy of Performing Arts’ “Nutcracker ...

Kathy Collins (back row, from left), Scott Smith, Bill Hubbard, Isaac Rauch, Rochelle Dunning, and  Barbara Sedano (front row, from left), Adriane Raff Corwin and Victoria McGee star in  “The Games Afoot: Or Holmes for the Holidays.” JACK GRACE photo

ProArts’ ‘The Games Afoot’ wildly funny, with actors full of surprises

Ken Ludwig’s “The Games Afoot: Or Holmes for the Holidays” has more twists and turns than the road to Hana. This masterfully crafted script is the perfect blend of mystery, farce, non-fiction and several surprise endings. Its lead character, William Gillette, played with a pompous ...

STEVE JENNINGS photo

Uproarious results

The tumultuousness of the 2016 election cycle should make Bill Maher’s annual New Year’s all-star comedy show on Maui especially unmatched. I spoke by phone with Margaret Cho on the morning of Election Day, and Maher and Dana Gould just after the surprising results. I asked Cho what the ...

Sara Jelley and Chris Kepler star in “Mary Poppins: The Broadway Musical.” BRETT WULFSON photo

‘Mary Poppins’ swoops in to Iao Theater

Over 20 years ago, Cameron Mackintosh (“Les Miserables,” “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Miss Saigon,” “Cats”) approached the author of “Mary Poppins,” P.L. Travers, about developing a stage version of the 1964 Walt Disney film. Travers, fiercely loyal to her books, initially ...

Photo courtesy Moses Goods

One man one legacy

Burt Reynolds once said that when he was a football player at Florida State University, he would have rather had the chance to play the role of football legend Jim Thorpe in the film “Jim Thorpe All-American” than become a famous athlete. Thorpe, a Native American from Carlisle Indian ...

Nicole Yezzi (from left) Hallie Hunt and Nicole Humphrey perform with Adaptations Dance Theater. TRISH BARKER photo

Dance Maui

In its second year, Dance Maui has already seen an increase in participation and support, with 15 professional dance organizations and student groups taking the stage in back-to-back performances. “Maui is a hub for cultural diversity in every aspect of life, and as a professional dance ...

Tahiti Cabrinha (from left), Taylor Takatani, Hiwa Greig, Kela Rothstein, Camille Erdman, Jena Mukai and Caitlyn Campbell star in Seabury Hall’s “Sister Act: A Divine Musical Comedy.”
JACK GRACE photo

‘Sister Act: A Divine Musical Comedy’

At the 2011 Tony Awards, Whoopi Goldberg made an appearance to introduce “Sister Act: A Divine Musical Comedy.” She joked about musical versions of her other hit films, naming “The Color Purple,” “Sister Act” and “Ghost” — “They’re all coming,” she said. Next season, her ...

Tehoni Naeole and Mariana Kaniho star in Kamehameha Schools Maui Drama Club’s latest production.
RAVEN YAMAMOTO photo

“I was looking for a show that had a flexible cast and flexible set requirements. I graduated several seniors last year and was not sure who would come out for the show this year,” said Kamehameha Schools Maui drama instructor Camille Romero. Romero has a knack for finding unknown modern ...