Maui Academy of Performing Arts brought "Theophilus North," a play by Matthew Burnett based on the novel by Thornton Wilder, to Steppingstone Playhouse last weekend. The play was a refreshing, intellectual romp through the streets and houses of Newport, R.I., and the intimate lives of the people who lived there. Unexpected, multifaceted and rich, the show was a pure delight for the eye, head and heart. The actors glided between places and characters; rooms materialized out of old, repurposed objects; and the backdrop of used props and costume pieces grew and expanded with each scene in an effortless, whimsical flow.
Eric Peterson was the idealistic, outspoken ex-teacher Theophilus North, who quits his job to seek fun and adventure, gets stranded in Newport, and touches the lives of everyone he meets there. Peterson infused every scene with unflagging energy, enthusiasm and charm.
Jackie Shea was the high-strung Myra Granberry, besieged by loneliness, ennui and frustration with her straying husband. Her performance was alternately hilarious and moving, with a compelling emotional core. Shea was also wonderful as the philosophical 14-year-old Eloise Fenwick.
DAVID HESSEMER photo
Char Lagattuta and Nick Batres do the twist at Jack Rabbit Slims in “Pulp Fiction.”
Kathy Griffin will crack up Castle Theater on Sunday.
Mark Collmer was the eccentric old professor Dr. James Bosworth, who longs to see the outside world but is trapped inside the house on his doctor's orders. Collmer portrayed both childlike excitement and deep-seated sadness, making his character sympathetic and engaging. Collmer also played Theophilus' disgruntled father and the excitable gentleman Augustus Bell.
Leighanna Locke was Sarah Bosworth, Dr. Bosworth's controlling daughter who keeps the household under her thumb; and the flighty Diana Bell, who tries to elope with her gym-teacher/boyfriend because her wealthy father disapproves of the match. Both performances were complex and touching.
Kristi Scott was Theophilus' nagging mother, his junkyard-bound car Hannah, and the rich and influential former maid Mrs. Cranston. Scott is a powerful comedic actress who made clever choices in all of her roles.
Steve Hatcher was amusing and believable as the Bosworth's butler Willis, Diana Bell's fiance Hilary Jones, and Mrs. Cranston's friend Henry Simmons. Scott and he created fun chemistry in their scenes together.
Michael Pulliam was the awkward, antisocial 16-year-old Charles Fenwick, whose constant embarrassment Theophilus cures with a few cleverly planned French lessons. Pulliam's excellent acting made it easy to imagine that he was really in the throes of adolescence. Pulliam also played Theophilus' friend Bill Wentworth.
Carolyn Wright was sweet and funny as Myra Granberry's big-hearted maid, Cora Cummings. She was also excellent as Mrs. Fenwick, Charles' worried mother who engages Theophilus' help.
Daniel Welch was great as Myra's husband, George Granberry, and the mechanic Josiah Dexter.
The production team included director David C. Johnston, scenic designer Caro Walker, lighting designers Mark Collmer and Kai Johnson, costume designer Kathleen Schulz and props designer Vicki Sparkman.
Audiences will adore this fresh, lovely and moving production.
* "Theophilus North" plays 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through April 17 at Steppingstone Playhouse. Tickets are $18 for adults and $15 for seniors. Call 244-8760 or visit mauiacademy.org for reservations.
"Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat": Kamehameha Schools Maui Drama Club presents the biblical saga of Joseph and his coat of many colors, which comes to vibrant life in this delightful musical parable. Joseph, his father's favorite son, is a boy blessed with prophetic dreams. When he is sold into slavery by his jealous brothers and taken to Egypt, Joseph endures a series of adventures in which his spirit and humanity are continually challenged. Set to an engaging cornucopia of musical styles, from country-western and calypso to bubble-gum pop and rock 'n' roll, this Old Testament tale emerges both timely and timeless. The play is directed by Camille Romero, with assistant director Lehua Simon, musical director Tana Larson, costume designer Andre Morissette, and set designer Caro Walker.
* "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat" shows 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through April 15 with one matinee performance at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Keopuolani Hale on the Kamehameha Maui campus. Admission is free. For more information, call 573-7285.
"Pulp Fiction": Alley Cats Productions is ready to blow people's minds and touch every emotional string with a production of Quentin Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction" at the Historic Iao Theater. Adapted for the stage and produced by Nicholas Batres and Justin Banek and directed by William Makozak, with sound by Shaggy from Q103.7, the show will be performed by a cast of 24 talented Maui actors.
* "Pulp Fiction" performs 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 10:30 a.m. Sundays through April 17. Tickets are $20. Get $5 off by bringing a nonperishable food item to donate to the Maui Food Bank or dressing like a character fromm the movie. For reservations, call 359-1939.
"Driving Miss Daisy": ProArts presents the Pulitzer Prize-winning classic "Driving Miss Daisy" by Alfred Uhry, the timeless, searing, funny, and ultimately hopeful meditation on race relations in America, told through the complex relationship between two of popular culture's most enduring characters. When Daisy Werthan, a widowed 72-year-old Jewish woman living in Atlanta in the '50s is deemed too old to drive, her son hires Hoke Coleburn, an African-American man, to serve as her chauffeur. What begins as a troubled and hostile pairing, soon blossoms into a profound, life-altering friendship that transcends all the societal boundaries placed between them. From its landmark Off-Broadway production in 1987 to the remarkable success of the Oscar-winning film version (four Academy Awards, including Best Picture), "Driving Miss Daisy" has become one of the most beloved American stories of the late 20th century.
* "Driving Miss Daisy" shows at 7:30 tonight, Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at the ProArts Playhouse in Kihei. Thursdays are kamaaina nights with reduced rates for Hawaii residents. Reserved tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students 18 and younger and kamaaina at tonight's performance. Call 463-6520 for tickets and information.
"Aloha Shorts" auditions: "Aloha Shorts"' producers are looking for readers for the upcoming live taping of a Maui edition of the HPR original program "Aloha Shorts" at the Historic Iao Theater in Wailuku. The programs taped May 1 will be heard on KIPO 89.3 Honolulu and KIPM 89.7 Waikapu. Maui residents who meet any of these descriptions are welcome to audition: Local/Hawaiian male (25 55 years old); Hawaiian woman (25 - 55 years old); Asian-American male (voice should read 18 25 years old); male or female, any ethnicity, kamaaina (45 70 years old). Audition pieces may be downloaded at www.facebook.com/alohashorts or TinyURL.com/alohashorts. If cast, readers must be available to attend a rehearsal Saturday, April 30, and the live taping from noon to 5:30 p.m. Sunday, May 1. Auditions will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday on a first-come, first-served basis at the Maui Economic Opportunity office, Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Family Center, 99 Mahalani St., Room 1, Wailuku. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Auditions for MAPA's "Aristocats Kids" and "Honk, Jr.": Maui Academy of Performing Arts invites young performers ages 8 and older to audition for this summer's musical theatre camps. The camps will culminate in full-scale productions of two musicals at Steppingstone Playhouse in Queen Ka'ahumanu Center. The younger performers will present "Disney's Aristocats Kids" and the teens will perform "Honk, Jr." Auditions are open to all students entering grades 3 to12 next school year. No experience is necessary. Please wear comfortable clothes and be prepared to stay until 5 p.m. Auditions will be held 12:30 to 5 p.m. Sunday. To register for auditions, please download a registration form at www.mauiacademy.org/ sumr.asp and email the form in advance to friendsofmapa@ mauiacademy.org. For more information, call 244-8760.
Auditions for MAPA's "Damn Yankees": Maui Academy of Performing Arts also invites actors to audition for the musical comedy "Damn Yankees." The show has a cast of up to 35 actors, singers and dancers. Auditions are open to all performers, ages 16 to adult. Rehearsals begin in late May. The show will be performed outdoors at Maui Tropical Plantation's Field of Dreams at 7:30 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, Aug. 5 through 21. Auditions will be held 6:30 p.m. Friday at the MAPA studios in Wailuku and 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Steppingstone Playhouse in Queen Ka'ahumanu Center. To schedule a 10- minute audition slot, email MAPA production manager Mark Collmer at mark@mauiacademy. org or call 244-8760, ext. 224.
Kathy Griffin at the MACC: Kathy is a two-time Emmy Award winner (for "My Life on the D-List" reality show), Grammy Award nominee (for Best Comedy Albums "For Your Consideration" and "Kathy Griffin Does the Bible Belt") and a New York Times best-selling author (for "Official Book Club Selection: A Memoir According to Kathy Griffin"). She's coming to Hawaii and no one in Hollywood is safe. Celebrity blunders and Tinseltown gossip are fuel for the hilarious sketches that have kept audiences laughing for years. A portion of the proceeds from Kathy's show will benefit Women Helping Women Maui. Special packages for the 14th annual Women Helping Women's Elegant Afternoon Tea "Eat Pray Love Laugh" in Yokouchi Pavilion with tickets to see Kathy Griffin are available. Kathy Griffin performs 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Castle Theater. Tickets are $36, $46 and $56, plus applicable fees, available from the MACC box office, 242-7469 or MauiArts.org.