’Tis the season at Seabury

Makawao school’s annual holiday concert this weekend

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

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 Sweets” and “Mary Poppins,” to name a few, Maui audiences have filled our theaters to capacity for several weeks in a row.

Yet another upcoming annual event, Seabury Hall’s annual Holiday Performing Arts Concert, a perennial sell-out, features all levels of the school’s performing arts programs this weekend. Seabury will host its 26th celebratory variety show production that is not unlike an old-fashioned television Christmas special.

Guest choreographer Nicole Yezzi plunges the academy’s top dancers, the Seabury Hall Dance Ensemble, into a “Matrix”-like mechanized world of droning electronica with her new piece, “Conflicted Conformity.”

“Nicole has a wonderful way of connecting with our students, bringing a new dynamic to the company’s repertory,” says David Ward, director of dance. “The kids love their experience with her.”

Ward has created a brand-new Flamenco-inspired piece for the company this year, as well as a blues dance piece for the Level C dancers set to Queen Latifah’s tribute to jazz singers. Andre Morissette choreographs the Level A dancers to Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling” from the “Trolls” soundtrack, and Vanessa Cerrito plans a few surprises showcasing the Seabury Ballet students.

From the music department, Randy Soryama and Brandon Barreno will play piano pieces, and audience favorite Innes Asher will take Upcountry to the Scottish highlands with his bagpipes. With just two performances, reservations are essential as students and parents make demand high for Seabury’s most popular event.

* Seabury Hall Performing Arts presents its 26th Annual Holiday Performing Arts Concert, directed by David Ward. Productions will be at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday in the ‘A’ali’ikuhonua Creative Arts Center at Seabury Hall in Makawao. Tickets are $12 in advance or $15 at the door and include complimentary beverages and a dessert buffet with pre-show holiday music by the Maui Brass Ensemble. For reservations or more information, visit www.seaburyhall.org.


Comedian Jim Gaffigan returns to Maui next week in what is sure to be another packed house at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Kahului.

The wildly popular, family-friendly comic frequently travels with his large family and is always armed with uproarious observations from his real-life as a father of five. One of his most popular quotes is, “You know what it’s like having a fifth kid? Imagine you’re drowning, then someone hands you a baby.” Gaffigan recently said that his favorite ride at Disney World was “the air-conditioned bus back to the airport.”

He and wife Jeannie co-produced and wrote “The Jim Gaffigan Show,” but the couple announced in August that the series would not be returning so they could spend more time with their kids. In the series, Gaffigan starred as a stand-up comedian raising five children in a two-bedroom New York City apartment opposite Ashley Williams, who played Jeannie. In one episode, Williams says, “That reminds me, one of us has to bring Elizabeth to a birthday party.” “Cool, when are you going,” asks Gaffigan. “It’s tomorrow morning in Central Park at 8 a.m.,” replies Williams, prompting Gaffigan to question, “A Saturday morning birthday party at 8 a.m.? Who’s throwing it, Al Queda?”

In addition to his semiautobiographical material, Gaffigan frequently takes on food, mocking kale and Hot Pockets. “Hey I got an idea, how about we take a Pop-Tart and fill it with really nasty meat? You could cook it in a sleeve thing, and you could dunk it in the toilet.”

On Christmas traditions, he asks, “The Christmas tree — where did that tradition come from? It sounds like the behavior of a drunk man. I can picture it now. ‘Honey, why is there a pine tree in our living room?’ ‘I like it. Tomorrow we’re gonna decorate it for Jesus.’ “ As well as, “Ever wonder what people got Jesus for Christmas?  ‘Oh great, socks. You know I’m dying for your sins right? Yeah, but thanks for the socks. They’ll go great with my sandals. What am I, German?’ “

* Limited seating remains for “Jim Gaffigan: Fully Dressed” at 8 p.m. Wednesday in Castle Theater at the MACC. Tickets are $59.50 (plus applicable fees) and are available at the box office, by calling 242-7469 or by visiting www.mauiarts.org. This performance is appropriate for all ages.


Comedian Jim Gaffigan will get you laughing at the MACC on Wednesday. Photo courtesy Maui Arts & Cultural Center

ProArts Inc. continues “The Game’s Afoot: Or Holmes for the Holidays” by Ken Ludwig, with direction by Kristi Scott.

It is December 1936 and the nonfictional, highly eccentric Broadway star William Gillette, who starred as Sherlock Holmes for more than 20 years, has invited his fellow cast members to his gothic castle for a holiday weekend of revelry.

When one of the guests is stabbed to death, the festivities in this isolated house of tricks and mirrors quickly turn deadly. It’s up to Gillette himself, as he assumes the persona of Holmes, to track down the killer before the next victim appears. Mystery combined with farce is nonstop in this highly entertaining and surprising Christmas-themed whodunit.

* Final performances are at 7:30 p.m. today, Friday and Saturday and at 3 p.m. Sunday at the ProArts Playhouse in Kihei. Tickets are $26 and are available by calling 463-6550 or visiting www.proartsmaui.com.


The Maui Theatre presents the return of master illusionist Seth Grabel. Best known for his appearances on “America’s Got Talent,” Grabel impressed the judges and quickly became a fan favorite.

The Las Vegas-based magician will showcase his skills in magic and as a performer and comedian with “Magic on Maui,” a production created especially for Hawaii and the Maui Theatre. Grabel’s versatile magic takes audiences on a journey of wonder and excitement, leaving them asking “How does he do that?”

* Ongoing performances will be at 5 p.m. Wednesdays and Sundays beginning this Sunday at the Maui Theatre in Lahaina. Tickets start at $49 for adults and $24.50 children 12 and younger. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 856-7900 or visit www.mauitheatre.com.


King’s Cathedral Maui presents “It’s a Wonderful Christmas: A Christmas Musical Comedy.”

* Performances will be at 7 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday at King’s Cathedral in Kahului. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for children 12 and younger. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 871-7311 or visit www.kingscathedral.com.


The Maui Celebrity Series presents a return engagement by William Shatner plus special guests.

The legendary icon known mostly as Captain Kirk from “Star Trek” will beam into the Historic Iao Theater with Brian Evans performing several of the classic standards that have earned him more than 30 million views on YouTube. Shatner will entertain the crowd in a way only he can, sharing behind-the-scenes comic tales from his storied life that will have you laughing until the moment you leave.

* The performance will be at 7 p.m. Dec. 30 at the Historic Iao Theater. Tickets range from $75 to $206, with VIP meet-and-greet passes available for an additional charge of $224. For more information, call 242-6969 or visit www.mauionstage.com.