There's nothing straight-edge about Professional Artists of the Pacific's "Sleeping Beauty" redux at their nifty new digs in Kihei. Pro-Arts' fractured fairy tales poke fun at the platitudes in our familiar favorites, while paying loving homage to the sweet sentiment which lies at their heart. Every member of the family will find something to love in its short, sweet, seriously twisted "Sleeping Beauty."
Sure, it's essentially the same show Pro-Arts brought to the Steppingstone Playhouse early last year, but this version's chock full of updated kitschy pop references and some over-the-top performances by several new cast members. Kristi Scott and Jett Battoon are the shlameel-shlamazel good fairies, Laverne and Shirley; Rose Roselinsky is the blousy, boisterous narrator, Lady Edna, and Tom Althouse is the egomaniacal, Jim Carey-esque Prince John. Paul Janes-Brown and Barbara Sedano return as King Thurston and Queen Lovey (names and characters which spawn seemingly endless, unapologetically anachronistic "Gilligan's Island" jokes), and, of course, no one could ever replace Dale Button as the critically creepy, product-placing Evilessence.
The audience suspects, before the show even begins, that this is not your momma's "Sleeping Beauty." Characters mingle with kids and adults-Laverne and Shirley douse patrons with protective fairy dust to ward off Evilessence's toxic mojo; debonair King Thurston kisses hands and commits kiddies' names to memory so he can personally invite them to dance later in the show; Lady Edna breaks the ice with some silly small talk. Then they all saunter seamlessly onstage for the jaunty opening number, "Once Upon a Time."
Professional Artists of the Pacific photo
Cameron Sparks is Buzz (left) and Dale Button is Evilessence in this fractured “Sleeping Beauty.”
The show's rapid-fire peppering of vintage and contemporary pop culture detritus - "Happy Days," Costco, eBay, Craigslist, Kim Kardashian, the "Twilight" series, Pantene, Mr. Bubble, "Home Alone," "American Idol"-wears a little thin early on, but Evilessence's imbedded Spinning Wheel infomercial ("It's from Remco it's annnn-tique!") is seriously funny.
Tom Althouse's Prince John is equally hysterical. Althouse takes a character whose shining moment is traditionally reduced to a simple pucker and gives him a Paul- Lynde-meets-the-Cowardly-Lion comic makeover. It's slapstick, plain and simple, but it works. Prince John's silly-putty facial expressions and puffed-up self-importance steal the last act. After banishing Evilessence and her sycophantic sidekick, Buzz-the-Henchbird, to the nether regions of Fairy Land, the dim-witted John has to ask for audience input when the moment comes to awaken Briar Rose. The kids offer some creative suggestions.
"Stick something up her nose!"
He does. And the whole crazy, campy, gender-bending, media-saturated bunch live happily ever after.
* Pro-Arts' "Sleeping Beauty" runs through Sunday, June 27, at the Pro-Arts Playhouse in Kihei. Friday performances are at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 4 and 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 1 and 4 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for ages 10 and younger and 62 and older. For information or reservations, call 875-4367 or log on to www.proartspacific.com.
Maui Academy of Performing Arts' Youth Sum'R Musical Theatre Camp transforms the Steppingstone Playhouse into the the exotic, mysterious alleys of old Arabia when the colorful production of "Disney's Aladdin Jr." opens on July 1. Don't miss Maui's talented keiki - decked out in harem pants and spangly vests- as they showcase their talent in this Disney favorite. Tickets are available now at the Queen Ka'ahumanu Center service kiosk. Call 244-8760 for more information.
MAPA also offers an enchanted evening under the stars with its hotly anticipated production of "South Pacific" at Maui Tropical Plantation. Directed by David Johnston and starring Leighanna Locke, Kathy Collins and Steven Dascoulias, the show opens July 9 and runs through July 17. Tickets are available now. Call 244-8760 for more information about this "don't miss" musical featuring favorites like "Wash that Man Right Outa my Hair," "Bali Hai" and "Happy Talk."
Maui OnStage goes, like, totally '80s when "The Wedding Singer" opens on Friday, July 9. The stage version of the popular Adam Sandler/Drew Barrymore film features all the painfully catchy '80s music you can handle, along with an endearingly funny story. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 3 p.m. Sundays through Aug. 1. Call 242-6969 for more information.