The King returns to the Rock

When you think about cottage industry and the logo embossed schwag that goes with it, no other entertainment icon can touch Elvis-biz. Not only has Elvis remained popular more than 35 years after his death, but all-things-Elvisy have made more money than the King did in his lifetime. From countless rereleases of his recordings, movies, the Graceland tours and even commemorative ceramic Jim Beam bottles with a music box inside that plays “Are You Lonesome Tonight,” Elvis is alive and well.

Then there’s the “Elvis-A-Rama” museum in Las Vegas and its massive collection of sparkly jumpsuits, several boat-sized Lincoln Continentals and Cadillacs, thousands of photos and flashy furniture that would make Liberace squeal. After the tour, you are led into a showroom were Elvis impersonators perform hourly. If you present a coupon, which is given out free everywhere in Vegas, you’ll receive a free gift. I had a choice of a sequined, gold-colored Taking Care of Business lightning-bolt necklace or a purple Beanie Baby bear wearing a white cape that said “the King.” It was a win-win scenario.

Because of the film, “Blue Hawaii,” and the epical, “Aloha from Hawaii,” Elvis will always have a deep connection to the islands. His 1973 concert made television history (broadcast live via satellite to more than 1 billion people around the world), and starting this weekend, Maui residents and visitors can see him four nights a week (well, sort of), indefinitely at the Maui Theatre in Lahaina.

This new Maui Elvis show, “Burn’n Love,” retraces the Elvis era in a musical journey through his life and love for the Hawaiian Islands. The Vegas-style show stars Darren Lee, the longest-running Elvis performer in Las Vegas history.

“People may think it was Elvis that gave so much to Hawaii, but it was Hawaii that gave so much to Elvis,” says Lee, who won Memphis’ World Elvis Competition in 1997.

In “Burn’n Love,” he and the cast of dancers and musicians present a tribute to Elvis, featuring hits “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Suspicious Minds,” “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” “Burning Love” and Hawaii singer-songwriter Kui Lee’s “I’ll Remember You,” plus a bonanza of hip shaking with legendary outfits showcasing his lovely Elvis lumps.

Executive Producer Mike Kattawar describes the production as “unlike anything ever seen before. It is not an Elvis impersonation show, but a full-scale live concert production that will captivate audiences of all ages and musical tastes – Elvis fan or not.”

“Burn’n Love” honors the time, place and historical significance of Elvis in Hawaii, as well as the deep love that he had for Hawaii and its people.

“Two things we know about Elvis – he loved Hawaii and he loved giving,” says Kattawar. “In that same spirit, we are giving back to the Maui community by donating a portion of all ticket sales to the Maui Food Bank.”


Also this weekend

The Maui Tropical Plantation will bring back live entertainment after a hiatus. Starting this weekend, “Kama’aina Christmas,” in the style of an old-fashioned TV Christmas special, presents a holiday extravaganza featuring some of Maui’s finest local musical theater talent from recent productions “Les Miserables,” “Shout!” and “RENT.” Dylan Bode, Felicia Chernicki, Charles Cook, Danielle Delaunay, Lia Krieg, Leighanna Locke, Casey Murphy, Kristi Scott, Jacqui Sherwood, Bob Wills and many more will perform classic Christmas hits and kitschy holiday favorites, including “Carol of the Bells,” Ave Maria,” White Christmas,” “Baby it’s Cold Outside,” “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” “Santa Baby” and “Blue Christmas.”

There will be two separate shows from which audiences may choose: a primetime production Saturday night, followed by an all-ages afternoon show Sunday. In the spirit of giving, proceeds from “Kama’aina Christmas” will benefit the Maui Food Bank, the Maui Academy of Performing Arts and Toys for Tots. On Sunday, children who bring a toy to place under the tree will receive a goodie bag. Past Tropical Plantation events have been jam-packed, so advance ticket purchase is highly recommended; seating will be limited to 300 people per show. Holiday flair or cocktail attire is encouraged, and cocktails and refreshments will be available for purchase.

The Maui Tropical Plantation presents “Kama’aina Christmas,” a weekend of song, dance, sharing and celebration. Performances are 7 p.m. Saturday (18 and older) and 3 p.m. Sunday (all ages). Tickets are $20 to $30 Saturday and $15 to $20 Sunday, with $10 tickets for children. Children younger than 5 are free. For tickets or more information, call (855) 364-6622; to purchase tickets, log on to or visit the Plantation Country Store.



Bill Maher returns to ring in the Maui New Year with the TV host’s irreverent brand of comedy during his third annual New Year’s Day show. The performance is at 8 p.m. Jan. 1 in Castle Theater at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center, and tickets are $65.50, $85.50 $150.50 (plus applicable fees). To purchase tickets, visit the MACC box office, call 242-7469 or order online at



Kamp Krazy Tales is back – just in time for the New Year. The “Drama Queen,” aka Kristi Scott, and ProArts Playhouse will present a great drama camp for the keiki of Kihei and beyond this holiday season. Classes will be held at ProArts in Azeka Shopping Center from 9 a.m. to noon Dec. 30 through Jan. 4, with no class on Jan. 1. Kamp Krazy Tales is for ages 5 to 10, with a two-hour afternoon extension available. Tuition is $150, plus $75 for the extended session. Young students will learn fun drama games during the camp, which culminates with a short performance for parents on Jan. 4. Preregistration is required; no previous drama experience is necessary. For more information or to register or sponsor a child for the holidays, call ProArts at 463-6550 or visit