King Kekaulike Dramaaticans sparkle like perfect diamonds
in classic comedy ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’
“In looking for a high school show, you’re looking for a number of things — literary merit, reputation, popularity, range in the number and variety of roles, and a challenging yet entertaining script for teenagers,” says Chris Kepler, King Kekaulike drama instructor and director of its season opening production, “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.”
“Though the title is a bit unfortunate in today’s diverse society, ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’ checks all the boxes, and is also appropriate humor for all ages,” explains Kepler.
Though more than 90 years have passed, the novel of the same title by Anita Loos was thoroughly modern when it debuted during the Roaring ’20s. The King Kekaulike students, who refer to themselves as “Dramaaticans” will embark into a world of flappers, diamonds, luxury liners and the jazz era this weekend.
“It is quite fun for the students studying the 1920s era. One of the characters considers taking a ‘flying machine’ to Europe, but decides on a steamship instead. Commercial air travel was just beginning,” says Kepler.
When originally published, the novel rivaled “The Great Gatsby” in popularity; was the second bestselling book of 1926; and was dubbed by writer Edith Wharton as “the great American novel.” According to Loos, she got the idea after watching “a sexy blonde turn intellectual H.L. Mencken into a love-struck schoolboy.”
In her novel, Miss Lorelei Lee (Nicole Fatheree) intends to wed wealthily, armed with the philosophy that “diamonds are a girl’s best friend.” Lee, a dazzling blonde, and her sensible brunette friend Dorothy (Kaya Greene), plan to complete their education by going to Europe for the summer. They’ll “improve their minds” by day and reserve evenings for their main interest — dates with wealthy men.
At Seabury Hall in Makawao, the entire performing arts program will unite for their 27th annual Christmas Party Performing Arts Concert.
“This year we will be incorporating a mini-musical revue, ‘The Best of Broadway,’ into the holiday show,” says director David Ward who also choreographs, with vocal direction by Molly Schad. “The songs are from the first decade of the Tony Awards for Best Musical and includes great American classics like ‘Kiss Me Kate,’ ‘South Pacific,’ ‘The King and I’ and ‘My Fair Lady.’
“This is the perfect material to match up with a strong dance program for an exuberant evening of song and dance. These kids are amazing and I have had a blast working on this classic material,” Ward continues.
Other highlights will include “Downpour,” a new work by choreographer Andre Morissette with live music performed by two talented Seabury freshmen, Jonathan Merchant and Kala’i Anderson.
“I am interested in bringing together different disciplines to create unusual artistic experiences,” says Morissette. “The collaboration between live music and dance fosters the artistic abilities of our students while creating a link between the dance and music programs in an original format.”
Ballet mistress Vanessa Cerrito choreographs two new pieces — “Clockwork,” a look at the playful and mechanical workings of clocks, and “Eight” a new fast-paced neo-classical work.
* Performances are 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. For reservations or more information, visit www.seaburyhall.org.
Baldwin Performing Arts Learning Center & Baldwin Theatre Guild presents “Holly Jolly Christmas Show” under the musical direction of Tana Larson. The Baldwin High School drama students will show-off their vocal chops as they perform Christmas classics like “Santa Baby,” “Blue Christmas,” “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” as well as lead an audience sing-along.
* Performances are at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Loudon Mini-Theatre in back of the Baldwin High School campus in Wailuku. Tickets are $5 (with a family special of $15 for four or more) and are available at the door 45 minutes before the show or may be reserved by phone at 727-3297.
ProArts Playhouse presents “The Frog Prince,” written and directed by Derek Nakagawa. This original fractured fairy tale performed by adults for children stars Vinnie Linares, Juliet Moniz, Scott Spring, Francis Tau’a and Heidi Turner.
* Performances are at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturdays and 10 a.m. and noon Sundays through Dec. 23, with an additional performance at 7 p.m. Dec. 22 at the ProArts Playhouse in Kihei. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for students 16 and younger. For more information or to purchase tickets for any ProArts event, call 463-6550 or visit www.proartsmaui.com.
Maui OnStage concludes Ian Fleming’s “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” directed by David Kaye, choreographed by Erin Kowalick and under the musical direction of Steven Dascoulias.
* Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with matinees at 2 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at the Historic Iao Theater in Wailuku. Tickets range from $20 to $40 and are available by calling 242-6969 or by ordering online at www.mauionstage.com.
Maui OnStage continues its free, one-night-only theater series ONO! on Monday with a staged reading of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” starring Mark Collmer as Ebenezer Scrooge. The free ONO! performances occur every second Monday of the month at the Historic Iao Theater in Wailuku. For more information, call 242-6969.