Backstage

Summer theater is hot

In past summers theatrical events have been sparse on Maui, prompting myself and previous Backstage columnists to write profiles on local performers when few, if any, shows were running. The 2016-17 season has seen more productions than ever before on Maui with no end in sight as eight local ...

A fresh take on ‘West Side Story’

Just after World War II, choreographer-director Jerome Robbins approached composer Leonard Bernstein and writer Arthur Laurents about collaborating on a contemporary musical based on “Romeo and Juliet.” Robbins suggested changing the classic love tragedy to focus upon an Irish-Catholic ...

Trevor Noah

One of the biggest cliches in stand-up is “timing is everything,” a quote originally attributed to William Shakespeare. In the case of South African-born comedian Trevor Noah, a different type of timing has led to his immense success. Noah has hosted Comedy Central’s Emmy and Peabody ...

Dance blooms this spring

Just as Seabury Hall hosts “Dance Showcase” annually, Maui Academy of Performing Arts showcases more than 400 dancers each May in the Castle Theater at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center in Kahului with its “Spring Extravaganza.” Three shows to be performed this weekend will star ...

Marine Corps honor and military mentality on trial

Although rarely as well attended as musicals, when done right, a great drama is considerably more intimate, affective and touchable. Director Rick Scheideman’s minimalist staging of “A Few Good Men” leaves little option other than investing in the dramatic work of this strong local ...

You think you can handle the truth?

Back stories are, in many cases, just as riveting as the final product. Once upon a time there was a young man from Scarsdale, N.Y., who loved theater. His sister Deborah, upon graduating from law school, signed up for a three-year stint with the U.S. Navy JAG corps. Her younger brother was an ...

Performance-filled weekend

Now in its 28th year, Seabury Hall Performing Arts’ Dance Showcase is a culmination of a year’s worth of first-rate dance training. The popular event annually features all levels of the program in a recital of jazz, modern, ballet, world and contemporary dance. For 2017, director of dance, ...

‘Dial M for Murder’

Mysteries, thrillers and horrors are heavily produced in film and all are equally popular when it comes to best-selling nonfiction. Yet suspenseful dramas are a rarity on stage. Two of the most successful plays of this genre were written by the same man, “Wait Until Dark” and “Dial M for ...

Off to see the Wizard

There are three written works that are the most adapted in entertainment history. First is the Bible, second are the plays of William Shakespeare and third is L. Frank Baum’s tales of Oz. A mere two years after “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” debuted, a musical stage version appeared on ...

‘Three Decembers’

Just like the Broadway musical, opera needed to reinvent itself to survive in the 21st century. When baby boomers preferred rock concerts in the late 1960s and ’70s, along came “Hair,” “Godspell,” “Pippin” and the musicals of Andrew Lloyd Webber. When their children and ...

Compagnie Herve Koubi:

On many occasions, I’ve observed several sports-centric, athletic men crippled with an exhaustion they have never known following a lengthy dance rehearsal. Those who are skilled in multitasking but have never danced on stage, have no idea how mind-numbing and physically taxing it can be to ...

Tragedy at the Nogales border

The border between the United States and Mexico has been a tinder box of disputes ever since it was redrawn with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in February of 1848. Less than two weeks prior to the conclusion of the Mexican-American War, James Marshall discovered gold in the American River ...

‘Keep it rare’

Tony nominee and Emmy winner Eddie Izzard is arguably one of the biggest stars in the world — with the exception of the non-cosmopolitan United States. When the Maui Arts & Cultural Center announced a one-night-only performance last month, the British comedian’s fervent fan base lit up ...

‘Scoundrels’ wickedly funny

STAGE REVIEW From its opening number “Give Them What They Want,” Maui OnStage’s “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels: The Musical” is unconventionally charming. If you loved “The Book of Mormon,” than you will absolutely love “Scoundrels.” Fans of both “South Park” and “Family ...

‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’

To date, the 21st century has been the Broadway era of pop movie to musical adaptations, exceptions being award-winning megahits like “Next to Normal,” “Fun Home” and “Hamilton.” New musical adaptations emerge with great fanfare each season, the most anticipated of 2017 being ...

Timely themes in ‘The Crucible’

Two years ago when I profiled the Kamehameha Schools Maui production of “The Crucible,” I highlighted Arthur Miller’s less than subtle political statement by means of his play about the Salem witch trials. When it debuted in 1956, it was blatantly obvious to all that Miller was taking on ...

Ailey II

“The most unique thing is you,” is what legendary dance innovator Alvin Ailey frequently told his students. Troy Powell, artistic director of Ailey II (formerly the Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble), shared that quote with me in a phone interview last week. I had asked Powell why tonight’s ...

‘Cemetery Club’ offers laughs, heart

Ivan Menchell’s “The Cemetery Club” is an incredibly evocative account of three widows striving for contentment amid chapter two of their middle-aged lives. The beautifully crafted script, filled with many very funny one-liners, is in many ways two sides of the same coin: a comical, ...

ProArts presents Maui production of ‘The Cemetery Club’

Ivan Menchell’s “The Cemetery Club” might make you think of “Steel Magnolias,” “Beaches” and the 2014 ProArts Inc. Maui production of “The Dixie Swim Club.” This comedy-drama about three Jewish widows who meet once a month to visit their husbands’ graves debuted on Broadway ...

Moving Performances

With performances by Maui Aerial Arts at the Historic Iao Theater in Wailuku last month, last weekend’s Common Ground Dance Festival, and upcoming appearances by Maui’s Adaptations Dance Theater, Miami’s Rosie Herrera Dance Theatre and New York City’s Ailey II, dance has taken center ...