Theater options overflow

2018 is shaping up to be chock-full of choices

New Shanghai Circus; photo courtesy the MACC.

New Shanghai Circus; photo courtesy the MACC.

As jam-packed as 2017 was with live theatrical events, 2018 is shaping up to be even busier. The next four weeks will offer more than a dozen local and touring performances, but that’s nothing compared to the eight Maui-produced plays scheduled for March.

Five youth theater productions will be running in March starting with Seabury Hall’s “These Shining Lives” by Melanie Marnich, with performances Feb. 24 through March 4 at the ‘A’ali’ikuhonua Creative Arts Center in Makawao. Baldwin High School’s Performing Arts and Theatre Guild in Wailuku presents the classic 1950’s Broadway musical “Once Upon A Mattress,” from March 2 through 11; and Kamehameha Schools Maui will offer two one-act plays at its campus in Pukalani from March 2 through 11, as well.

Maui OnStage Youth Theater in Wailuku will present two productions in March. For younger kids, “Disney’s Winnie the Pooh,” will be performed March 10 through 18; and for older teens, Stephen Schwartz’s “Godspell,” rocks on stage from March 30 through April 1.

The crowded month of theater will also feature three adult productions: Maui OnStage will present “Cabaret” at the Historic Iao Theater in Wailuku, runs March 2 through 18; ProArts Playhouse at Azeka Place Makai in Kihei walks up “The 39 Steps,” March 2 through 25; and Oh Boy Productions continues to offer classical selections with one of the most famous theatrical comedies, “Tartuffe” by Moliere, at Seabury Hall’s ‘A’ali’ikuhonua Creative Arts Center, March 17 through 25.

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David LeBarron (back) and Shanna Beauchamp in “The Sex Life of Achilles.

David LeBarron (back) and Shanna Beauchamp in “The Sex Life of Achilles.

The first stage play of 2018 is an encore performance of “Robert Angelo as Clarence Darrow.” ActNow! Productions and ProArts Playhouse will present this one-man show with Angelo portraying the legendary defense attorney who recalls his life with courtroom gusto and salty humor as he touches upon his many famous trials, such as the Scopes “monkey” trial and Leopold and Loeb.

* Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 13 and at 3 p.m. Jan. 14 at the ProArts Playhouse. Tickets are $26. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 463-6550 or visit www.pro artsmaui.com.

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The following day the daring acrobats, jugglers, balance artists and contortionists of “New Shanghai Circus” return for their annual engagement where they will astound the audience at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Kahului. Rooted in more than two thousand years of Chinese circus traditions, this event is fun for all ages.

* Performances are at 4 and 7:30 p.m. Jan. 15 and at 4 and 7 p.m. Jan. 16 in Castle Theater at the MACC. Tickets range from $12 to $35 (plus applicable fees). To purchase tickets visit the MACC box office, call 242-7469 or order online at www.mauiarts.org.

Robert Angelo as Clarence Darrow; photo courtesy the artist.

Robert Angelo as Clarence Darrow; photo courtesy the artist.

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Later that week, the eighth annual Maui Fringe Theater Festival commences with eight one-act plays in performance from Jan. 19 through Jan. 21 at the Historic Iao Theater. This year’s festival features performers from New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New Orleans and Maui.

Opening the Fringe Festival is “Too Old To Be This Young,” a new kind of coming-of-age story, about aging, desire, hormones, wanting to stay young and the lengths we’ll go to ensure that we do.

From the award-winning actress of “They Call Me Q” (first place 2013 Maui Fringe) comes the world premiere of “INTRUSION,” written and performed by Qurrat Ann Kadwani. In this play, set 20 years in the future, rape has been eradicated until one woman comes forward with accusations.

New Orleans actress Alison Logan aims to convict every one of her ex-boyfriends through hilarious and heartfelt stories and songs in her one woman musical comedy, “Courted.”

Kumu Kahua Theatre of Oahu presents “Wild Birds,” a lesson on culture clash and disillusionment in the McCoy Studio Theater at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Kahului. Photo courtesy Kumu Kahua Theatre

Kumu Kahua Theatre of Oahu presents “Wild Birds,” a lesson on culture clash and disillusionment in the McCoy Studio Theater at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Kahului. Photo courtesy Kumu Kahua Theatre

From Los Angeles comes “The Sex Life of Achilles” by David LeBarron, a bawdy and heartbreaking retelling of the tragic myth of Achilles.

Maui author Amorah St. John will present her original one-act comedy, “When Trump Gets To Heaven.” When Donald Trump arrives at the Pearly Gates for Judgment Day, Heaven will never be the same.

“I Love Myself: The Masturbation Musical,” created and performed by Jaime Summers, is an empowering and insightful solo musical comedy.

The Maui Fringe will also host the world premiere of “Vindication: Scenes from the Life of Mary Wollstonecraft,” by local actress and singer, Lin McEwan. Wollstonecraft produced one of the greatest feminist texts ever written (A Vindication of the Rights of Woman) and gave birth to the mother of science fiction (Frankenstein). “Vindication” follows her life from a turbulent London childhood home to the treacherous streets of Paris during the French Revolution, through love affairs, suicide attempts and encounters with the greatest minds of the age.

Maui’s award-winning Free Range Comedy (second place 2016 Maui Fringe) returns in 2018 with the interwoven, four-sketch comedy show, “Lawyers, Bombs and Death” by Gabby Anderman and Chris Rose.

* Tickets are $15 per show with $75 VIP all-festival passes available by phone. To purchase tickets for any Iao Theater event call 242-6969 or order online at www.mauionstage.com. The Maui Fringe Theater Festival contains adult content and is not appropriate for children.

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That same weekend the King Kekaulike Dramaaticans open “Makin’ It,” by Cynthia Mercati.

This comedy-drama is a story of daily high school interaction. There are jocks, nerds and popular girls, but none of them are stereotypes. There’s the good kid, baffled by high school, yet trying her best to make it through; the girl who wants desperately to look like the models in Seventeen magazine; and the football player who must protect his mother and sister from his abusive father.

There’s the girl who lost weight, yet when she looks in the mirror she only sees her old overweight self; the troublemaker who always lands in detention but has surprising warmth for the other misfits; and a principal who tries his best to navigate the ever-shifting changes of young people.

* Performances are at 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Jan. 19 through 27 and 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 28 in the cafetorium at the King Kekaulike High School campus in Pukalani. Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for students and are available at the door 30 minutes before the show.

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Also in January, ProArts Playhouse opens “The Trip To Bountiful” by Horton Foote, directed by Lina Aiko Krueger. This moving play tells the story of Carrie Watts, an elderly woman, who longs to escape the cramped Houston apartment where she lives with her protective son, Ludie and her authoritarian daughter-in-law, Jessie Mae. Carrie wants to return to her beloved hometown of Bountiful, Texas one final time before she dies.

* Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays Jan. 26 through Feb. 11 at the ProArts Playhouse. Tickets are $26. For tickets or more information, call 463-6550.

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Rescheduled for early February, Oahu’s Kumu Kahua Theatre also returns in 2018 with “Wild Birds” by Eric Anderson. Set in 1839 Honolulu, Amos and Juliette Cooke are deeply honored to be chosen to personally oversee the education of the children of the kings and queens of Hawaii. But how does one enforce rigorous discipline on a sacred alii (royal) child? When is education a form of imperialism?

Inspired by historical events, “Wild Birds” tells the story of intense cultural clashes, the effects of western education on the indigenous monarchy and the ultimate disillusionment of a teacher.

* Performance is at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 2 and 3 in the McCoy Studio Theater at the MACC. Tickets are $28 (plus applicable fees). For more information or to purchase tickets, go to the box office, call 242-7469 or visit www.mauiarts.org.

This week

Maui OnStage continues its free theater series, ONO! (One Night Only) on Monday with “One Acts III,” an evening of short comedic and dramatic one-act plays presented and directed by Vinnie Linares. Selected pieces include Mark Twain’s “The Diary of Adam and Eve,” adapted by David Birney; “The Fifteen Minute Hamlet” by Tom Stoppard; and John Cheever’s “The Swimmer,” adapted by Matt Spangler. “One Acts III” stars Linares, Molli Fleming, Barry Kawakami, Camille Romero, Jennifer Rose, Barbara Sedano and Todd Van Amburgh.

* The free ONO! performances are at 6:30 p.m. every second Monday of the month at the Historic Iao Theater. For more information, call 242-6969 or visit www.mauionstage.com.

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