Only one chance each month to see . . . ONO! at Historic Iao Theater

ONO! at the Historic Iao Theater in Wailuku presents “12 From 21: The Music of 21st Century Broadway” at 6:30 p.m. Monday starring: Laura Cole (in photo), Lia De Souza, Casey Hughes, Ricky Jones, Leighanna Locke, Lin McEwan, Francis Tau‘a, Stephen Webb and Dakota Welch. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.mauionstage.com. Jack Grace photos

Since 2009, Maui OnStage has been presenting free monthly theatrical performances at the Historic Iao Theater in Wailuku.

Dubbed ONO!, the acronym for one-night-only, the 10-plus years of performances have ranged from Neil Simon and Woody Allen comedies, dance recitals, youth theater showcases, music concerts such as the Maui Community Band and Frank Sinatra birthday tributes, to powerful dramas by Arthur Miller and David Mamet, as well as 21st-century works by Pulitzer Prize-winners David Lindsay-Abaire and Tracy Letts.

On Monday, the series resumes at 6:30 p.m. with a concert revue, “12 From 21: The Music of 21st Century Broadway.”

The series provides Maui OnStage and Maui audiences the chance to experience productions that may not translate into a successful multi-week run. Additionally, ONO! gives local talent the opportunity to perform without the lengthy rehearsal schedule required to stage a full-scale production, and community producers a forum to showcase diverse entertainment at no charge.

Minimalist suggestions of costumes, props, set pieces, lighting and sound design merely allude to atmosphere, placing the focus on the content and the performances.

Lia De Souza

As host of many ONO!s over the years, I can share that in its beginning, the cast frequently outnumbered the audience. In recent years, the free performances regularly approach the Iao Theater’s capacity with, at times, hundreds of patrons lining up and down Market Street in Wailuku, awaiting the doors opening 15 minutes prior to curtain. With musical ONO!s being considerably more popular on Maui, prepare for a long line on Monday night.

Longtime, and now departing, Executive Director of Maui OnStage Alexis Dascoulias clarified the genesis of the series.

” ‘One Night Only’ started as ‘Bare Essential Theater,’ and was originally funded by a grant through the Hawaii Tourism Authority,” said Dascoulias. “After two years, the HTA could no longer support BET — which has become ONO! — and Ms. Leslie Granat stepped in to fund the free play-reading series. She proclaimed her support immediately following the ONO! at which the loss of funding was announced to the audience. Unfortunately, Granat passed away in December, 2015, and so ONO! went unfunded for a little over two years. 

“The Maui OnStage board and staff felt it was such an important part of the MOS mission of providing affordable and accessible theater that (it) continued to fund the program. This past winter, Russ Taft stepped forward and has generously pledged to sponsor ONO! for the next 10 years!”

The waiting list to present an ONO!, which is open to the public, is typically six to eight months, with shows currently scheduled into 2019.

Casey Hughes

“One-Night-Only has been such a wonderful gift to the community, our audiences and our actors,” added Dascoulias. “ONO! provides everyone an opportunity to experience theater that may not otherwise be available on Maui — and it provides free performing arts experiences to Maui audiences.”

“12 From 21,” a revue created by its cast, stars some of Maui’s most lauded musical theater performers.

The production stars Laura Cole (“The Producers,” “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”), Lia De Souza (“Chicago,” “Les Miserables”), Casey Hughes (“Chicago,” “Legally Blonde”), Ricky Jones (“Elf,” “Miss Saigon”), Leighanna Locke (“The Sound of Music,” “Les Miserables”), Lin McEwan (“The Addams Family,” “Cabaret”), Francis Tau’a (“Evita,” “Spamalot”), Stephen Webb (“Guys and Dolls,” “Cabaret”) and youth-performer Dakota Welch (“The Little Mermaid,” “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”).

With a focus on Tony Award-winning musicals from the past 10 years, musical selections will include songs from 2015’s Best Musical “Fun Home”; 2016’s “Waitress” with music and lyrics by Sara Bareilles; Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s multi-Tony Award-winner “The Book of Mormon”; 2013’s Best Musical “A Gentleman’s Guide To Love and Murder”; 2015’s “Bright Star” by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell; 2016’s Best Musical mega-hit “Hamilton” by Lin-Manuel Miranda; last year’s Best Musical “Dear Evan Hansen”; Stephen Schwartz’s renowned “Wicked” and a surprise inclusion from a 2018 Tony-nominated musical. The songs will be preceded by synopses of the modern musicals and context of each musical number.

Also this week

Ricky Jones

ProArts Playhouse in Kihei concludes its production of “You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown” by Clark Gesner, directed by Ally Shore, with musical direction by Kim Vetterli.

This whimsical musical-comedy transforms nostalgia into a comic strip come to life. The timeless characters of Charles M. Schulz’s “Peanuts” are played by Dale Button, John Galvan, Logan Heller, Kathryn Holtkamp, Lina Krueger and Kiegan Otterson.

* Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and at 3 p.m. Sunday at the ProArts Playhouse in Kihei’s Azeka Place Makai. Tickets are $28 for adults, $16 for students. To purchase tickets for any ProArts event, call 463-6550 or visit www.proartsmaui.com.

*****

Maui OnStage concludes John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men,” directed by Alexis Dascoulias.

Leighanna Locke

In this powerful production, George (Don Carlson) and Lennie (Francis Tau’a) are two displaced farm workers during the Great Depression. Lennie is a hulking strong man and a hard worker, yet mentally disabled. George is a “brother’s keeper,” serving as Lennie’s friend, caregiver and conscience.

After being hired at a ranch, the duo is confronted by Curley (James Reid), the hostile son of the Boss (Frank Hayes), who maltreats Lennie. Their troubles continue by means of Curley’s beautiful and flirtatious wife (Lia De Souza).

* Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Historic Iao Theater. Tickets range from $20 to $40, with $10 student tickets available. To purchase tickets for any Iao Theater event, call 242-6969 or order online at www.mauionstage.com.

*****

The Baldwin High Performing Arts Learning Center and Baldwin Theatre Guild continues its annual “Variety Show Extravaganza.”

Lin McEwan

The original revue is created by the Baldwin students, and features singing, dancing and skits.

“This is a truly original one-of-a-kind show. The students always come up with a wide range of ideas, whether Broadway, film, movies or TV — this show always promises to be totally new, fun and entertaining,” says director Linda Carnevale.

* Performances are at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday in the Loudon Mini-Theatre at back of the Baldwin High School Campus in Wailuku. General admission tickets are $5, and are available at the box office 30 minutes prior to show time.

Upcoming

ProArts Youth Theater presents its inaugural teen production of “Hamlet: Abridged” by William Shakespeare, co-directed by Kristi Scott and Francis Tau’a.

* Performances are at 7 p.m. May 18 and 19 at the ProArts Playhouse in Kihei. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children 12 and under. For information or to purchase tickets for any ProArts event, call 463-6550 or visit www.proartsmaui.com.

*****

The Maui Chamber Orchestra presents a concert performance of “Crazy For You” based on the 1930 musical, “Girl Crazy,” and featuring music and lyrics by George and Ira Gershwin, directed by Ally Shore.

* Performances are at 7:30 p.m. May 25 and 26, and 3 p.m. May 27 at the Historic Iao Theater. Tickets range from $27 to $55. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 242-6969 or order online at www.mauionstage.com or www.mauichamberorchestra.org.

Francis Tau‘a

Stephen Webb

Dakota Welch. Brett Wulfson photo

Lia De Souza (left) and Francis Tau‘a shine in John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men” concluding Sunday at the Historic Iao Theater in Wailuku. Jack Grace photo

Lina Krueger (left) and Logan Heller keep the laughs coming at the ProArts Playhouse production, “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” which concludes this weekend. Jack Grace photo

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