"Who are you?" the jaunty pirate asked the crowd of children gathered on the carpet at Kihei Public Library.
"The pirate crew!" the keiki shouted gleefully in response.
The event was the kickoff of the library's "Be Creative" Summer Reading Program, and the play was "Crossroads," an original children's show written and performed by Tom Althouse.
Heart Tours photo
The “Crossroads” crew lands with lots of laughs for the little ones.
Maui OnStage photo
The women of “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” will celebrate the upcoming production with a Texas Ho Down fundraiser Friday.
Althouse as Captain Quagmire, his talking parrot Crackers and John Ziegler as first mate Snags kept the young audience enthralled throughout the 45-minute tale of two bumbling pirates in search of treasure. As the "pirate crew," the kids weren't just sitting and watching; they had an important role to play. Every choice the clumsy Captain and Snags had to make was voted on by the keiki. Should they take the path of the slippery slope or the rickety bridge? Was that the Captain trailing Snags on the bridge, or was it a 300-pound gorilla?
Fun surprises and goofy physical comedy kept the play full of giggles for the little ones, and the dialogue even had the adults chuckling ("We go to sea to plunder" the Captain began. "You mean 'to respect other people's property,' " Snags reminded him. "That's what I meant!" the Captain spluttered.)
"Crossroads" is the latest offering from Heart Tours, a children's theater touring company founded by Althouse last year. The first production from Heart Tours, "Farlington Rabbit," featured Althouse as a little bunny with big plans to be famous, who later discovers that true friends are more important than fame.
"Crossroads" has a similar message, incorporating the values of teamwork and making good decisions along life's path. That ties in with Heart Tours' mission to inspire children and encourage their imaginations to fly."We dream of seeing children create their own works, and we tell them at talkbacks (held after every show) that we look forward to seeing their shows someday!" Althouse says.
The pirate costumes created by Yuana Garvin are eye-catching and detailed, adding color to the treasure map backdrop painted by local artist Alexis Ziegler. Using only simple props, Althouse carries the show with sheer energy and enthusiasm, and the rest is up to the children's eager imaginations.
Standing on one leg, with one hand over their eyes, the keiki are instructed to "shake your pegleg and say 'arrrrr!' " A rousing chorus of "arrrrr!" fills the normally quiet library - and a summer of creativity begins
"Crossroads" is recommended for children in preschool to 4th grade. The next public performance is the Keiki Kokua Free Pizza on the Beach on Saturday, Aug. 8, at Baldwin Beach. To book a performance or for more information, visit www.heart-tours.com or call 276-0662.
In preparation for its upcoming production of "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas," Maui OnStage presents a Texas Ho Down fundraiser at the Historic Iao Theater at 6 p.m. on Friday. The Texas theme carries over into entertainment by the Kit Kat Club and the Haiku Hillbillies, and even the Texas barbecue pupu by Bev Gannon. "Best Little Whorehouse" opens July 10, directed by Kristi Scott and featuring a large local cast. Tickets to the Ho Down are $40 (attendees must be 21 or older); available by calling 242-6969 or online at www.mauionstage.com.
It's a big weekend for Maui keiki, as all their favorite monsters from Sesame Street are coming to town. Cookie Monster, Big Bird, Bert and Ernie, Oscar the Grouch, Elmo and the gang will give six performances of "Elmo Makes Music" at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center's Castle Theater. The lively musical production is full of familiar songs and relevant lessons for the little ones. Showtimes are 7 p.m. Friday; 10:30 a.m., 2 and 5:30 p.m. Saturday; and 1 and 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $10, $20 and $33 ($48 Gold Circle). Sunny Seat packages for Friday's show are $73 (available only at the MACC box office, which includes VIP seating, show program, and Elmo pre-show "meet and greet.")
Applicable fees are added to tickets for all MACC shows, available at the MACC box office, by calling 242-7469 or online at www.mauiarts.org.
Forty-nine students from Maui Academy of Performing Arts' Sum'R Musical Theatre Camp are hard at work preparing for "Disney's Mulan Junior." The show about a spirited girl fighting the Hun invasion in ancient China opens July 9 and runs two weekends at Steppingstone Playhouse at Queen Ka'ahumanu Center. Director Kathleen Schulz is also designing the elaborate costumes, with choreography by Barry Brinker Jones and musical direction by Marti Kluth. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $12 for adults, $8 for kids 12 and younger; available at the mall's Customer Service Kiosk, online at www.mauiacademy.org or by calling 244-8760.
Professional Artists of the Pacific LLC will hold open auditions for "Cabaret" this weekend at Steppingstone Playhouse. Auditions for principal actors and singers are from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday; and for singers and dancers, including master of ceremonies, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. Applicants (18 and older only) should prepare a two- to three-minute vocal selection and bring sheet music, a current resume and headshot. Rehearsals begin Aug. 24, and performances are from Oct. 23 to Nov. 15.For an audition appointment or more information, call 875-4367.
Building on the success of its winter and spring break drama camps this past year,MAPA is running a weeklong drama camp for keiki starting on Monday and wrapping up Friday, July 3. "Theatre Arts Splash!" will be held at the MAPA building in Wailuku from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. Guided by drama teacher Eva Sikes,young actors age 5 to 9 will explore creative drama, movement, characters and improv, ending with a performance for family and friends on the last day of camp. The cost is $175. To register or for more information, visit www.mauiacademy.org or call 244-8760.
Maui OnStage announces a new class for aspiring musical theater performers (age 13 and older) as choreographer Aly Cardinalli and director Alexis Dascoulias present "Broadway Rocks!" The class will explore character development, singing and dancing while rehearsing a contemporary Broadway piece, culminating in a Sept. 4 performance during Wailuku's First Friday event. Sessions take place from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays for the next 10 weeks beginning June 30, at Judy's Dance Studio in Wailuku. All skill levels are welcome. The cost is $150. To register or for more information, call 244-8680.
* Contact Sky Barnhart at firstname.lastname@example.org.