Backstage

‘9 to 5 The Musical’ great ending to season of premieres

Set in the late 1970s, “9 to 5 The Musical” gets off to a scintillating start with its well-known title track and transitions wonderfully into “Around Here.” In this introductory number we meet Violet Newstead, an inspired interpretation by Lina Aiko Krueger, and Judy Bernly (Kathryn ...

‘Sesame Street Live!’

There are well over 7 billion people in the world and I’m guessing that if half of us sang “Sunny day, sweeping the clouds away. On my way to where the air is sweet,” most of the other half could reply, “Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street?” The American PBS ...

What a way to make a living

Nine years ago I began reading about Dolly Parton’s musical adaptation of “9 to 5” in “Variety.” The ongoing stories offered mixed reviews of its tryouts in Los Angeles, praising its stars Stephanie J. Block, Allison Janney and Megan Hilty, but suggesting the show was too long and not ...

Grace, beauty and style

June has proven to be a cornucopia of the arts on Maui ranging from vanguard films, to Greek drama, Texas comedy, European cabaret and contemporary American dance. On Friday night I attended Adaptations Dance Theater’s “Bring It Home” at Seabury Hall’s exquisite ‘A‘ali‘ikuhonua ...

Bringing them home

“I love thinking about beginnings,” said the co-founder of Adaptations Dance Theater, Hallie Hunt, when asked how ADT began in 2012. “If I fall back in memory to the first moments that ADT began formation, I remember wanting to continue my professional dance career as a performing ...

‘Red, White and Tuna’ has Texas wit, charm

In “Red, White and Tuna” while playing Didi Snavely, the proprietor of Didi’s Used Weapons, John Williams offers these sage words — “If you can’t get shot in a small town in Texas you’re not trying very hard.” The comedy of “Red, White and Tuna” requires great character ...

Classic Greek tragedy ‘Medea’ still relevant

In his director’s notes in the “Medea” program Vinnie Linares offers, “Euripides skillfully uses the myth of Medea to substantially challenge the notion of harmony and balance — wanting, I believe, to have his audience leave somewhat perplexed, questioning the strong notions of right ...

Texas roots not required

While in college, my drama professor and theater mentor, Donna J. Sparks, instructed me that I would learn more about theater by going to one play a week than I would ever learn in a text book. She also promised her students that if we brought in a ticket stub every Monday morning to prove that ...

Hot times and cool theaters

June will be busting out with classical, artistic activity at Seabury Hall’s ‘A‘ali‘ikuhonua Creative Arts Center in Makawao. Next Saturday Vinnie Linares’ Oh Boy Productions begins a four-show series of classic plays starting with the Greek tragedy “Medea” by Euripides. ...

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 ...