King Kekaulike Dramatic Arts Company to find its groove with Footloose
Maui OnStage held its annual Sneak Peek fundraiser on Saturday night, when its 2013-14 season was revealed to a sold-out crowd at a private oceanfront estate in Kihei. Up first, and running from Sept. 27 through Oct. 6, is the farce “Love, Sex and the IRS” by Billy Van Zandt. Opening Nov. 29 and running through Dec. 15 is “Scrooge: The Musical,” with book, music and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse adapted from the film starring Albert Finney.
Next year, the annual spring musical will be Jerry Herman’s “La Cage aux Folles,” which runs from Feb. 28 through March 16. “The Miracle Worker,” by William Gibson, will run from May 9 through 18, followed by the Maui premiere of “Legally Blonde,” with music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin, book by Heather Hach based on the film starring Reese Witherspoon. “Legally Blonde” opens July 11, and will run through Aug. 3.
Switching gears now, you would have to have been living under a rock, and buried under a larger rock in the 1980s to not know “Footloose.” For many, that film is a key link in your personal six degrees of Kevin Bacon chain.
King Kekaulike Dramatic Arts Company will present this classic from Friday through April 21 at its Upcountry campus. In the stage version, Ren McCormack (James McCain), a Chicago teenager dances off his angst. Mercifully, Kenny Loggins is always there for him. At a downtown dance club, he tells his city friends that due to financial struggles brought on by his deadbeat dad, he and his mother will be moving to a small town in the middle of nowhere named Bomont. Once there, Ren and his mom attend a local church service where they get their first glimpse of the Rev. Shaw Moore (Shawn Naone-Burger), who preaches of the evils of that devil music called rock and roll. On the first day of school Ren learns from his new friends, Willard (Jairin Brantley and Samuel Olson) and Rusty (Dara Reckard), that dancing became illegal in Bomont when Rev. Moore passed a law forbidding it after a fatal car accident involving four teens returning from a dance, including the good Reverend’s son.
In an epiphany, Ren realizes that throwing a dance would be the perfect way to cut loose and alleviate the town’s angst, so he decides to make an impassioned plea to Rev. Moore and the town council. The Bomont wireless kicks in, and as a result the Reverend is now more determined as ever to ensure that does not happen, by any means necessary. At the town council meeting, Ren explains that dancing is written about in the Bible and should not be illegal. In spite of his Darrow-like skills, the council isn’t moved and the motion is dismissed.
After the meeting, Ren pays a visit to the Reverend, they argue, but also recognize a common bond of loss – Rev. Moore’s loss of his son and Ren’s loss of his father. Rev. Moore, who has seen the ’80s neon light, must now do the right thing. Not to ruin the bitchin’ surprise ending, but at the next service, after chilling out, he gets into the groove and tells the congregation that he will allow the teenagers to hold a dance, virtually guaranteeing a reprise of “Footloose,” and perhaps a confetti drop.
The ’80s cliches, silliness and mixed reviews aside, when you combine all of the “Footloose” incarnations, it equals several hundred million dollars in box office revenue, more than 15 million albums sold, two No. 1 hits, an Oscar, Golden Globe and Grammy nomination, plus four Tony nominations. The stage musical by Dean Pitchford and Walter Bobbie, and based on the original screenplay by Pitchford, features the familiar ’80s pop hits from the film, including “Girl Gets Around,” “Holding Out for a Hero,” “Let’s Hear it for the Boy” and “Almost Paradise,” as well as additional music written for the stage by Tom Snow and Pitchford.
The big news is that this production will be the first time at King Kekaulike High School that the drama and band programs will collaborate on a show with a live 10-piece orchestra. Drama instructor and director, Chris Kepler, has also enlisted island favorite Lia Krieg to choreograph.
* King Kekaulike Dramatic Arts Company presents “Footloose,” directed by Chris Kepler, Friday through April 21. Performances are at 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and Sundays at 3 p.m. in the cafetorium at the King Kekaulike campus in Pukalani. Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 students and available at the door only one half hour before the show.
Speaking of teen dancing, Seabury Hall will present its 24th annual Dance Showcase 2013 next weekend, the group’s first in the state-of-the-art A’ali’ikuhonua Creative Arts Center. Over the past two decades, Seabury Hall has been widely regarded as having one of the finest youth dance programs in the country, and now it’s equipped with one of the finest professional dance facilities.
Director David Ward has a new vision with the new theater. This year, Seabury’s top two levels of dancers will have a shorter concert of their own, allowing the “Extravaganza” to have fewer pieces, more mature themes, more sophisticated technique and greater variety of style. The showcase will feature Seabury’s top dancers, the Seabury Hall Dance Ensemble, in this re-imagined concert of progressive, sophisticated dance featuring the work of Ward and his fellow teacher/choreographer Andre Morissette, ballet mistress Vanessa Cerrito and guest choreographer Tito Reyes, from Oakland, Calif.
Ward will choreograph something on the lighter side this year with a classic Bob Fosse style piece to “All That Jazz,” and a high energy and humorous swing dance, “Stomp.” For the Level C dancers, he has created a contemporary jazz work set to the sounds of British music sensation Adele.
Morissette will also revive two of his most successful dance works. “Metropolis” is a look into a day in the life in the big city. The dancers from Seabury Hall Dance Ensemble will perform his “Paper Trail,” which incorporates rice paper, newspaper, scrolls, banners, and even trash in this epic journey that traces the history of paper, eventually incorporating sculptural paper costumes co-created by fine art teacher Lenda McGehee’s design class.
Cerrito will also revisit a previously presented popular work entitled “If It Ain’t Baroque Don’t Fix It,” performed to Vivaldi. Hip-Hop master, Tito Reyes, is back by popular demand by both students and audience with a pop-culture work called “Unique ID.”
“Our students love working with him because he’s a demanding teacher with just the right amount of attitude and humor,” Ward says.
Joining the concert this year is alumna Julia Cost who brings Seabury’s most experimental work of the year, “The Sensation of Falling Forwards,” exploring teenage angst in a pedestrian style dance-theater piece.
Alumna Amelia Nelson will also be performing with guest artist company, Adaptations Dance Theater. Ward’s choice to incorporate adult dancers into the program is a calculated one.
“Our students get to see how professionals prepare and perform. Our audience gets to see great dance, great dancers, and great students inspired by it all to reach further and stretch higher.”
* Seabury Hall Performing Arts presents its 24th annual Dance Showcase 2013, under the direction of David Ward. Performances are at 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays from April 19 through 28, and 3 p.m. Sunday, April 29 in the A’ali’ikuhonua Creative Arts Center on the Seabury Hall Campus in Makawao. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 seniors, $5 students. For information and reservations, call 573-1257 or visit www.seburyhall.org.
Also this week
Don’t miss the world premiere of “Fresher Ahi,” by Francis Tau’a and Derek Nakagawa, directed by David C. Johnston, and starring Kathy Collins, Nakagawa and Tau’a. “Fresher Ahi” opens on Friday and runs through April 28.
Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays at Steppingstone Playhouse in Queen Ka’ahumanu Center. Tickets are $16 for adults, $14 seniors and $12 students (18 and younger), available online at www.mauiacademy.org, by calling MAPA at 244-8760 or by visiting the Customer Service Kiosk at Queen Ka’ahumanu Center.
Maui OnStage presents the Tony Award-winning “Hollywood Arms,” by Carrie Hamilton and Carol Burnett, April 26 through May 5.
Set in a dingy one-room apartment in 1941 and 1951, “Hollywood Arms,” is the autobiographical portrayal of three generations of women living on welfare. Based on the Burnett autobiography, “One More Time,” the play was adapted from the book by Burnett’s late daughter, Hamilton, and completed by Burnett upon her daughter’s passing.
This Maui OnStage production is the Hawaii premier and stars Cat Hayes, Kristin Jones, Julianna Scharnhorst and Marley Mehring. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays at the Historic Iao Theater. Reserved seating tickets range from $17 to $28. For tickets or more information, call 242-6969 or purchase reserved seats online at www.mauionstage.com.