Backstage

Face off

STAGE REVIEW Suspense classics are tricky to stage live. A clever script can only take you so far. Audiences must be transported to a place of believability, they must be surprised, but most importantly they must be captivated. “Sleuth,” which opened last weekend at the ProArts ...

Murder, mayhem and mystery

Previewing and reviewing mystery plays with their precisely crafted puzzle, dependence on twists and turns and reversals of fortune is a conundrum for theater writers. To share even a vague outline of plot development with the reader is a major risk in spoiling an audience’s experience. ...

Original ballet ‘The Jungle Book’ more than typical youth ballet

Alexander Academy of Performing Arts’ original ballet, “The Jungle Book,” presented last weekend at Seabury Hall’s ‘A‘ali‘ikuhonua Creative Arts Center in Makawao, was remarkably entertaining. The ballet opened on Friday night with exciting and athletic choreography by Hallie ...

Winners all around

The Tony Awards, telecast Sunday, June 9 on CBS, is likely to be a night of surprises. The 2018-19 theater season featured no clear-cut hit show, a mere two musical revivals and a great many nominations for Broadway newcomers. The musical categories are toss ups this year with ...

Take a walk on the wild side

“I had so much fun on ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ and ‘The Little Mermaid’ in building a ballet from the ground up,” said Amelia Couture, artistic director of Alexander Academy Performing Company’s original ballet, “The Jungle Book,” which opens next weekend at ...

Producing our next generation of performers

Every summer, Maui youth theater camps go all-out with large-scale musicals featuring upwards of 50 students. Theatre Theatre Maui in Lahaina, and Maui OnStage and Maui Academy of Performing Arts, both in Wailuku, have all begun open enrollments that will culminate with performances of ...

Profoundly affecting performance

Stage Review Powerful, emotional and, at times, upsetting, realistic theatrical art can be box-office poison. If that is the case, why are heavy-hitting dramas and avant-garde performing art pieces ever produced, when light-hearted musical-comedies pack theaters nightly all over the world? I ...

‘The Boys Next Door’

“My fear is that our modern society is more sensitive. They may not allow themselves to experience all of the emotions this play has to offer — many of which are truly funny,” says Director Ricky Jones of “The Boys Next Door,” opening at 7:30 Friday night at the Historic Iao Theater ...

Lightning in a bottle

Stage Review Every once in awhile Maui’s theater companies offer up something extraordinary. Past examples that come to mind are the Maui Academy of Performing Arts’ “Les Miserables” and Maui OnStage’s “Chicago.” I call it lightning in a bottle. ProArts “Avenue Q” is a ...

Student theater season ends with joyous ‘Annie’

Stage Review Every visit to the King Kekaulike Performing Arts Center is an engaging experience due to its phenomenal amenities, but “Annie,” its latest offering, is noticeably exceptional. Director Chris Kepler has undeniably outdone himself with this marvelous production, partly due to ...

Finding your way to ‘Avenue Q’

It is likely that many people, by simply seeing the title “Avenue Q,” know exactly what it is, can quote the lyrics to this irreverent musical, plan on attending over the coming weeks and have already purchased their tickets. Others are saying, “What is ‘Avenue Q?’ ” The best ...

Youth theater serves up two Broadway faves

Those who have never paid a visit to the awe-inspiring King Kekaulike Performing Arts Center in Pukalani will have the chance again next weekend when King Kekaulike Drama opens its annual end-of-school year musical, “Annie,” at King Kekaulike High School. This classic Tony Award-winning ...

Power of love

And then there was one. After a tempest of March performing arts events, all have since closed leaving a very quiet weekend of theater — or more accurately, a calm before the next storm of April plays and events. Next weekend, Maui OnStage Youth Theater will present “Once On This Island ...

March roars along with a variety of stage favorites

Irreverent satire appears to be the theme at the Historic Iao Theater in Wailuku this month with two send-up productions on traditional tales. In the current Maui OnStage Youth Theater production of “Robin Hood and His Merry Men,” cheeky performances by a cast of 29 youths embrace ...

‘Black Comedy’ explodes with color while ‘Willy Wonka’ goes for gold

There is no theater on Maui that pushes the artistic envelope more so than ProArts Playhouse in Kihei, and its current dual one-acts “Black Comedy” and “ ‘dentity Crisis” is the most intrepid offering to date. The second-act play “ ‘dentity Crisis” by Christopher Durang, will ...

The very model of a modern musical

STAGE REVIEW From the moment the first notes float out of the orchestra pit, it’s abundantly clear Maui OnStage’s production of “The Pirates of Penzance” is not your run-of-the-mill operatic experience. Directed by Michael Pulliam, this revision of Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic ...

Ahoy mateys and landlubbers alike

A band of raucous pirates. A pair of star-crossed lovers. And an audacious pirate king. If that sounds enticing, then Maui OnStage’s all-new revision of “The Pirates of Penzance” will have you at “ahoy.” “The Pirates of Penzance” had swashbuckling down to an art long before ...

Winsome, witty winter-themed comedy

STAGE REVIEW I can’t offer enough praise for Seabury Hall Performing Arts’ current production, “Almost, Maine.” This winsome and witty winter-themed romantic comedy is brilliantly written by John Cariani and well-executed by its local teen cast. Set in the non-existent community of ...

Double your fun with two one-act comedies

As we move into the annual spring downpour of local theater, an early theme has emerged — unconventional highbrow comedy, to be immediately followed by a trio of more familiar youth shows in March. Next weekend ProArts opens a double-dose of one-act comedies, “Black Comedy” and “ ...