There is no Prince Charming in "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," but there is no better word to sum up the current Baldwin production. Baldwin High students have begun a tradition of presenting one kids' show per year. Sets, lights, costumes, all created by young people for young people. The Baldwin tradition is to provide a training ground for all aspects of putting on a show, and the great production values over the past 45 years are truly the achievement of each year's students.
"Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" is a backward theater-in-the-round experience. The audience is the circle and the story revolves around it. That said, prepare to turn around regularly or you'll miss the full experience. Listing entire casts and crews is a wonderful tradition, but as a reader I prefer a look at the entirety of the show.
Carol Weiss' "Snow White" opens with the exposition of Witch Wicked's (Cera Souza) gift of a magical mirror to her sister, the evil Queen (Juliana Scharnhorst). Weiss cleverly gets the kids laughing right away in the Queen's castle via a collection of nincompoops who make up the court: Sir Silly (Alex Hutaff-Bautista), Sir Clumsy (Justyn Haywood), jesters (Jayicka Agasid, Donna Ortiz), ladies in waiting (Tanner Ashlock, Savannah Falkenberger, Brittany Holland), Lady Lucinda (Vida Falan), Lady Mathilda (Ashley Ramos) and Lady Penelope (Lana Cranston). The Mirror (Joshua Eldred) and Sir Pompous (Kenny Komatsu) are particularly funny and strong in kick-starting the show as well as maintaining a level of professional consistency throughout. The sassy Mirror clashes with Scharnhorst's bossy Queen, she becomes jealous of the beauty of her niece Snow White (Sienna Minnock) and a plan is put in place for Sir Pompous to murder the princess. Weiss' "Snow White" is also a musical, and one of her finest numbers is "Run Princess Run" as Sir Pompous' decides to let her go.
Singing “Every Deed You Do' with the Mirror (Josh Eldred) are Ashley Ramos (from left), Lana Canton, Vida Falan, Savannah Falkenberger, Brittney Holland and Tanner Ashlock in Baldwin High School’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”
JEFF SCHARNHORST photo
Surrounded by children on opening night, you could feel their excitement knowing that the Dwarfs were coming. Keeper (TJ Idemoto) is perfectly cast as the Doc-like character, and the Dopey-like Mouse (Lorena Abreu) is heartwarming. Abreu does not speak at all in the show, yet her performance was quite memorable.
"The Mine" song introduces each dwarf: Grinder (Jordyn Clarke), Cutter (Demi Anne Botuyan), brothers Picker (Jamie Long) and Packer (David Ho) and the extremely emotional Woeful (Erica Hirose). Weiss adds a wonderful moral to the tale delivered by Eldred's Mirror. We are all a reflection of our deeds, which is the reason why Snow White is the most beautiful. "Every Deed You Do" is the catchy song you may have in your head on the drive home.
Minnock is so picture-perfect as Snow White she could probably pick up shifts at Disneyland. She is believable, likeable and a wonderful contrast to the big, cartoon quality that surrounds her. The Prince (J.J. Tuliau) has a wonderful singing voice and a developing stage presence. I look forward to seeing him in future musicals.
All of the ensemble musical numbers work well, but "The Funeral" is the most powerful of the production. Musical director and pianist Tana Larson accompanies the cast of 32. Of course, everyone lives happily ever after, well, except for Witch Wicked and the Queen, and Weiss offers a reprise of "Every Deed You Do." Director Linda Carnevale creates an avenue for young actors to learn through experience. The easiest job a future college director could ever have is asking a young actor to turn it down a notch. The best part of Baldwin's "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" are the kids in the front row watching perhaps their very first live show. When a 3-year-old yells out, "That's funny!" you know you're doing a kids' show right.
* Baldwin High School Performing Arts Learning Center and the Baldwin Theatre Guild present "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," based on the story by the Brothers Grimm, through Sunday at the Baldwin High School Loudon minitheater. Book, music and lyrics are by Carol Weiss; Linda Carnevale directs. The final weekend of performances are at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 5 p.m. Sundays with an additional 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday. Tickets are available at the door only, $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, and $6 for 17 and younger. The box office will open one hour prior to show times and seating begins a half-hour prior to the performance.
Also this weekend
Power Up Comedy Show 10 tonight at Casnaova in Makawao: Rising Maui stand-up comic Chino LaForge headlines an evening of comedy with Teresa Sickels, Doug Wyckoff, Jose Solorzano and Dr. Titanium (The Doc). The performances are adult-humor-based, 21 and over only. Tickets are $10 at the door.
MAPA presents "Tales from Here & There," a charming operetta for preschool and elementary schoolchildren. Maui playwright Derek Nakagawa and composer Patrick Brown have constructed a 40-minute musical incorporating three stories from around the world: "The Ant & the Grasshopper," "Urashima Taro" and "Maui & the Sun." The two-man cast of Francis Tau'a and Eric Peterson sing and act using Indonesian-style rod puppets designed by Frank Kane. The show has been touring preschools and elementary schools across Hawaii since August to rave reviews from kids and teachers.
* "Tales from Here & There" will be presented for free at 10 and 11:30 a.m. Saturday in the Steppingstone Playhouse at Queen Ka'ahumanu Center. No reservations are required. For more information about MAPA programs, call 244-8760 or visit mauiacademy.org.
Marc Bumuthi Joseph's "Word Becomes Flesh" a hip-hop-infused spoken-word modern dance piece is a new theatrical form. Described as a fluid choreo-poem, it presents a series of letters to an unborn son with use of poetry, live music, dance and visual art documenting nine months of pregnancy from a father's perspective. Joseph has been honored by the Smithsonian as one of the top young innovators in the arts and sciences. He has also performed on Broadway in the Tony Award-winning "The Tap Dance Kid" and "Stand-Up Tragedy." The performance also features members of The Living Word Project, resident theater company of Youth Speaks in San Francisco. As part of the MACC's "Artist in the Community" program, excerpts from "Word Becomes Flesh" will also be performed for the island of Molokai at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Kalaniana'ole Hall. For more information, contact Colleen Furukawa, vice president of programming, at colleen@ mauiarts.org.
* "Word Becomes Flesh" plays at 7:30 p.m. Sunday in Castle Theater at the MACC. Tickets are $12, $28 and $38 plus applicable fees, available from the MACC box office, 242-7469 or mauiarts.org.
Maui OnStage continues its free theater series, ONO! Monday, with Joel Agnew's original rock 'n' roll comedy "The Rock of Ages." As Agnew explains, a caveman hits his head on a rock (the only word he knows), and is preserved for 12,000 years until he is discovered by New York City sewer workers under Madison Square Garden. The workers and a couple of ditzy groupies think he is a stoned and very lost rock musician and they proceed to lead him backstage to the concert. Cast members include Genie Calagna, Jerry Eiting, Chino LaForge, Jackie Shea, Jessica Tolman, Hana Valle and Tim Wolfe. The evening will also include a performance by folk singer Nevius.
* Doors open at 6 p.m. Monday for "The Rock of Ages" at the Historic Iao Theater. The free ONO! performances are at 6:30 p.m. every second Monday of the month.