Backstage

At long last theater lovers

A decade ago, the King Kekaulike high school theater program was in its infancy and nearly non-existent; more a club than a drama program. Since then, Drama Instructor Chris Kepler has distinguished the program as a virtual blueprint of how to succeed in show business without really panicking. ...

Youth theater summer camps offer performing arts fun for all

When I began writing Backstage seven years ago, there were many weeks when no performing arts events were scheduled. That has rarely been the case this season with the expansion of shows at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Kahului, the ProArts Playhouse in Kihei and the Historic Iao ...

‘Godspell’

Alexis Dascoulias, director of the Maui OnStage production of “Godspell,” has helmed the classic 1970s musical on several occasions. That doesn’t include appearing in a New England production where she sang “Day By Day” 25 years ago. “This is my sixth time directing ...

Maui Celebrity Series brings back funny man

Impresario, singer, actor, author and United States congressional candidate for Hawaii, Brian Evans started the Maui Celebrity Series nearly a decade ago in Lahaina. Over the years, Evans has presented such stars as Academy Award-winner Jeff Bridges; Emmy Award-winners Roseanne, William Shatner ...

Moliere’s ‘Tartuffe’ hilarious and still relevant

Can 17th-century farces and ancient Greek tragedies find an audience on Maui? Vinnie Linares, executive producer of Oh Boy Productions, thinks they will, and we’ll have the chance to see when Moliere’s “Tartuffe” opens in the ‘A‘ali‘ikuhonua Creative Arts Center at the Seabury ...

Hitchcock spoof provides non-stop laughter in ProArts’ ‘The 39 Steps’

What makes us laugh? Great comedy does not require a preface, or in some rare cases, exceptional writing. It requires execution by great comics. That is exactly what is happening at the ProArts Playhouse in Kihei over the next three weeks, because “The 39 Steps” is absolutely loaded with ...

‘Come to the cabaret, old chum’

STAGE REVIEW: There is no curtain at the Historic Iao Theater in Wailuku, but moments after the theoretical curtain rises on “Cabaret,” audiences know that they are in for something very, very special. Starting with a drum roll and ending in dead silence, Kalani Whitford’s considerably ...

Changing times of 1931 Berlin at Maui OnStage in … Cabaret

A fitting snapshot of the short-lived art conclave that emerged in Berlin in the 1920s is 1951’s Tony Award-winning “I Am a Camera” by John Van Druten, from which the musical “Cabaret” is adapted. Conveyed through the eyes of Christopher Isherwood, author of the 1939 novel “Goodbye ...

Hitchcock light?

Mel Brooks, the master of parody, took on Alfred Hitchcock, the master of suspense, in 1977’s movie “High Anxiety.” In one scene mocking Hitchcock’s “The Birds,” instead of being pecked to death by a flock of birds, Brooks found himself covered in pigeon droppings. Similarly, ...

School plays, talent for days

One hundred years ago, glow-in-the-dark wristwatches were all the rage — “Made possible by the magic of radium,” bragged one advertisement. Next weekend, Seabury Hall Performing Arts opens Melanie Marnich’s “These Shining Lives,” based on the real-life catastrophe of the factory ...

‘Mana Wahine’

In July of 2013, I featured the touring performance of “KAHA” presented by Atamira Dance Company in Maui Scene’s Backstage. The New Zealand contemporary dance company shared stories of their whakapapa (defined as “the genealogical descent of all living things from the gods to the ...

‘Wild Birds’ lands at McCoy Studio Theater at the MACC

‘Wild Birds’ is a wonderful example of just how powerful and thought-provoking a piece of theater can be, according to Donna Blanchard, executive director of Kumu Kahua Theatre on Oahu. For 47 seasons, since the outset of the 1970’s Hawaiian cultural renaissance and well before the Maui ...

There’s a bounty of talent in ProArt’s ‘The Trip to Bountiful’

When you crave a specific regional cuisine, you can probably find an adequate version at a chain restaurant or grocery store. Although the meal is enjoyable, it often falls short of satisfaction. Maui theater always offers respectable productions, but once or twice each season ideal ingredients ...

Hop on the bus to … ‘Bountiful’

The Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Horton Foote (“The Young Man From Atlanta,” 1995), frequently wrote about small southern towns similar to the one of his birth: Wharton, Texas. Although “The Trip to Bountiful” was a critically acclaimed Broadway hit and a Tony Award-winning ...

Marathon weekend of performing arts

In 1948, theater critic Robert Kemp reviewed several “semi-official” shows that had crashed the arts and cultural festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. Kemp added a page-two supplement in his weekly column with the header “Round the Fringe.” The name stuck and in the coming decades the ...

The curtain rises on Maui’s theater season

In October of 2016, local actor and dramatic coach Robert Angelo presented his solo-show production of “Clarence Darrow” at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Kahului. This weekend he will be reviving that production at the intimate ProArts Playhouse in Kihei. When I last interviewed ...

Theater options overflow

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 ...

Bravo!!

Show business traditionally takes a holiday at the end of the year, and a lot of show people holiday on Maui. Because local stages are relatively dark this time of the year, I borrowed an idea of former Backstage columnist Sky Barnhart from 2011. It has become one of my favorite columns to ...

Ringing in New Year

Just as Bill Maher has made it a tradition to perform on Maui every New Year’s Day for the past six years, interviewing him over the holidays has become a personal tradition and a conversation I thoroughly enjoy. I asked him if there was anything his fans would be surprised to find out ...

Howie Mandel

“I’m constantly amazed that what I used to get expelled and punished for is what I do for a living,” said Howie Mandel. Mandel will perform at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 30 at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center’s Castle Theater in Kahului. It was never his intention to become a comedian. I asked ...