Maui OnStage's latest ONO! (One Night Only!) production, a Valentine's Day event called "Couples," was a fun and cheeky look at the ups and downs of relationships. Featuring five short comedy vignettes, desserts and live music, the free show drew a big crowd to the Historic Iao Theater last Monday night.
The five one-act plays, directed by Lee Garrow, covered the relationship gamut, from romances just begun to marriages decades old; from alliances teetering on the edge to affairs that almost but never were. The writing was tight, witty and at moments, refreshingly realistic. Some of the characters spoke in clipped fragments that were nevertheless loaded with meaning, pointing out that a few words between close friends or lovers can say a lot.
In "So tell me about this guy," a young woman (Shar Lagattuta) dished the news about her new boyfriend to her best friend (Robyn Grahan) over coffee. The show was loaded with innuendo and politically incorrect twists.
Tikki Tikki Tembo (Eric Peterson) urges the Old Man (Francis Tau‘a, not shown) to save his brother who has fallen into the well in MAPA’s production of “The Further Adventures of Tikki Tikki Tembo.”
Maui Academy of Performing Arts photo
Michael Pulliam and Ashlie Welte played high school sweethearts who had lost touch and married other people, only to collide years later in "The Elevator." The strong acting and quirky dialogue made the show endearing, despite its reliance on obvious physical humor and stereotypes for laughs.
In "The Matterhorn," Eric Molina and Robyn Grahn starred as a dysfunctional couple hashing out their marital issues while waiting in line at Disneyland. Molina and Grahn made the most of a clever setup with their great acting and obvious chemistry.
Russ Taft and Ute Finch played a former couple struggling to make their divorce last in "Carnality." The funny, insightful premise made up for the show's slow pace.
Director Lee Garrow saved the best - himself - for last. "The Old Folks," starring Garrow and his wife, Beth, combined riotous physical humor with some perfectly timed quips about sex and love in old age. The audience only stopped laughing long enough to catch the next hilarious snippet of dialogue.
"Couples" was a wonderful evening of theater, proving that entertainment value trumps production value every time. Audiences won't want to miss the next free show in the ONO! series.
***** "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten," shows at 6:30 p.m. Monday, March 14, at the Historic Iao Theater. Tickets and refreshments are free.
"The Further Adventures of Tikki Tikki Tembo": Two free performances of "The Further Adventures of Tikki Tikki Tembo," Maui Academy of Performing Arts' educational theater production, will hit Steppingstone Playhouse on Saturday. The show tours preschools and elementary schools across the state, exposing young kids to the magic of live theater as it teaches a lesson about the consequences of pranks.
Starring Francis Tau'a and Eric Peterson, "Tikki Tikki Tembo" is a lively musical puppet show created by a team of talented Maui artists. Playwright Derek Nakagawa wrote the play and Patrick Brown composed the music. Jack-of-all-trades Frank Kane designed big, playful Banraku-style puppets.
Maui Academy of Performing Arts has brought live, professional theater directly into preschools and elementary schools across the state of Hawaii for the past 30 years. This spring, almost 20,000 students will see "The Further Adventures of Tikki Tikki Tembo" in their schools.
* Maui parents, kids and kids-at-heart can see the show for free at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday at Steppingstone Playhouse. Tickets are free.
PHILADANCO: Philadelphia Dance Company (PHILADANCO) is celebrated for its innovation, creativity and preservation of predominantly African-American traditions in dance for the past four decades. This year's program includes Jawole Willa Jo Zollar's"By Way of the Funk," a new work set to the music of Parliament-Funkadelic that harnesses the energy and culture of funk music.
* PHILADANCO comes to the Maui Arts & Cultural Center's Castle Theater at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Tickets are $12, $28 and $38, plus applicable fees, at the MACC box office, 242-7469 or MauiArts.org.
"Oliver!": Baldwin High School Performing Arts Learning Center and Baldwin Theater Guild present "Oliver!," a musical theater classic based on the novel "Oliver Twist" by Charles Dickens. The story of an orphan boy who runs away from an abusive workhouse only to fall in with a gang of youthful pickpockets, the show features such memorable songs as "Consider Yourself," "Oom-pah-pah" and "I'd Do Anything." Director Linda Carnevale, choreographer Andr Morissette, musical director Bob Wills and orchestra director Stephen Rodrigues team up with the Baldwin theater students to bring the classic story to life.
* "Oliver!" shows weekends, 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays, March 4 through 13, with a special Saturday matinee at 2 p.m. March 12 at the Baldwin Auditorium. Tickets are $12 for adults, $9 for seniors and $7 for kids 17 and under. No reservations are required. Call 984-5656, ext. 315, for more information.
Meow Mix: This "friendraiser" for Maui OnStage and the Maui Humane Society features sneak peeks from "CATS" plus the Kit Kat Club and a cat-themed evening of song with Randall Rosepond, Cassandra Wormser and Genie Calagna and Michael Pulliam. An "adopt a cat" promotion, where audience members can adopt a character from the show, receive tickets to a performance and meet the actor for a photo opportunity onstage, as well as special box seats located on stage will be available for purchase only at "Meow Mix." "Meow Mix" is part of First Friday on Market Street in Wailuku.
* Three sets of performances will begin at 7, 8 and 9 p.m. on Friday, March 4, at the Historic Iao Theater. Tickets are $5 or free with a donation of Kirkland brand cat food. Call 242-6969 for more information.
Auditions for "The Taming of the Shrew": Director Cassandra Wormser will hold auditions for Maui OnStage's production of "The Taming of the Shrew" from 4 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday and from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, March 3, at the Historic Iao Theater. Performers of all experience levels and ages (teens and up) are welcome. A prepared Shakespearean monologue and/or sonnet, current resume, and headshot are requested, but not required. Roles include three female and seven male principals and seven to nine ensemble members. Callbacks may be held during the week of March 7.
* Performance dates for the production are weekends May 13 to 29 at the Historic Iao Theater. Contact Maui OnStage at 244-8680 to schedule a private audition or for additional information.
George Lopez at the MACC: As part of his "I Can Never Do Nuthin'" tour, George Lopez performs live (vivo) in Hawaii. Lopez is one of the top five highest-grossing comedians in the world and has recently brought his stand-up skills to late-night television as host of his own talk show, "Lopez Tonight." His groundbreaking sitcom, "George Lopez," remains a hit in syndication and his 2009 comedy special, "George Lopez: Tall, Dark and Chicano," was the highest-rated stand-up special on HBO in five years. In 2010, he starred in three feature films. Time magazine named George Lopez one of the 25 Most Influential Hispanics in America, and the Harris Poll named him as one of the Top Ten Favorite Television Personalities.
* George Lopez performs 8 p.m. Friday, March 18, at the Castle Theater. Tickets are $42.50 and $57.50, plus applicable fees, available as above.