Last weekend Seabury Hall presented its annual Christmas Party/Performing Arts Concert. Very few things make me feel older than the realization that a child performer I've known for years is getting ready for college. The sold-out weekend of song and dance had many a highlight, but my favorites were the performances of Ariella Brandon, Kelsey Greenway and Isabelle Olivet, particularly in Andre Morrisette's "Flight 75" dance. The kitschy number featured retro Pan Am stewardesses and passengers choreographed to classic Sinatra tunes. Also of note was the "Catching Sleep" dance choreographed by alumnus Amelia Nelson and performed by the Seabury dance ensemble to the music of Chet Baker. Nelson also performed "Cry Me a River" with accompanist Toby Couture. The talented duo was so entertaining that I'd love to see them perform regularly at a local club.
The much-anticipated "Ruthless! The Musical" opens Friday at the ProArts Playhouse in Kihei. Never heard of it? It was a huge off-Broadway hit in the early '90s and if you love parody and classic campy films you won't want to miss this one. Creators Joal Paley and Marvin Laird do to "All About Eve," "Gypsy," "Valley of the Dolls" and "Mommie Dearest" what Mel Brooks did to Westerns and science fiction.
Led by the Pan Am stewardesses of “Flight 75,” the dancers at Seabury Hall’s Christmas Party/Performing Arts Concert took sold-out audiences flying last weekend.
ERIC ROLPH photo
The original production spawned the career of Laura Bell Bundy as Tina Denmark, the child from hell. Tina is a little bit Baby June and a lot Baby Jane. Bundy went on to play Amber Von Tussle in "Hairspray" and Elle Woods in "Legally Blonde." Bundy's understudies through the "Ruthless!" run were Natalie Portman and Britney Spears. Seventeen-year-old newcomer Heidi Turner takes on the role in the ProArts production.
Producer Jonathan Lehman has pulled out all the stops in assembling one of the most talented teams of musical stars on Maui. Director/choreographer Aly Cardinalli ("Cats") makes his ProArts debut directing the amazing all-star cast: Lina Krueger ("Sweeney Todd"), Kristi Scott ("Damn Yankees"), Dale Button ("Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum"), Alison Mikes ("Chicago") and Rose Roselinsky ("Cabaret"). Anne Durham and Marti Kluth co-direct the music and the colorful retro costumes are designed by Sarah Loney.
Described by the New York Times as "a spoof that has enough absurd plot twists and multiple identities to fill several old movies," "Ruthless!" is a nonstop slaughter of every sacred cow and musical theater cliche you can conjure up. It all starts when Tina accidentally hangs the lead in her school play, "Pippi in Tahiti." When her crime is discovered she is sent away to the Daisy Clover School for Psychopathic Ingenues. Bad seed Tina becomes increasingly deranged throughout the show until finally realizing "there's no money in theater we're moving to L.A. we'll do a sitcom!"
Although I desperately wish I could have seen Britney Spears verify that life imitates art 16 some years ago, the next best thing will be seeing Aly Cardinalli's supercast showing off their musical comedy skills.
* "Ruthless! The Musical" by Joal Paley and Marvin Laird opens Friday and runs through Dec. 18 at the ProArts Playhouse in Azeka (Makai) Place in Kihei. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 18. Reserved seats for adults are $25, students 18 and younger $20. After a holiday hiatus, "Ruthless!" returns weekends Jan. 6 to 15. Ask about the ProArts $20 Kama'aina Nights with valid Hawaii ID. For reservations or more information, call 463-6550 or visit proartspacific.com. "Ruthless! The Musical" contains mild adult content.
Also this weekend
Power Up Comedy returns with two evenings of stand- up comedy hosted by Chino LaForge and featuring Teresa Sickels, Doug Wyckoff, Jose Solorzano and Dr. Titanium (The Doc). The holiday-themed comedy show will be at Casanova in Makawao tonight and at Stella Blues in Kihei
Saturday. Both shows begin at 10 p.m.; tickets are $10 at the door.
Kihei Charter High School's Drama Club presents "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas," directed by Josh Franco. The Grinch inspired original variety show includes dancing and singing performances by the Whos of Whoville. Performances are at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 5 p.m. Sunday in the Kihei Charter High School auditorium. A donation of $5 is suggested for adults. For more information, contact Vicki Nelson, the drama club administrator, at 874-3423.
Maui OnStage presents "A Christmas Carol," Charles Dickens' classic holiday story with music, adapted by Tom Frey, continuing through the weekend. Alexis Dascoulias directs, Robert E. Wills is the musical director and Mark Collmer stars as Ebenezer Scrooge. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at the Historic Iao Theater.
* Tickets are $40, $22, $15 and $10 for children 12 and younger. For details, contact the Maui OnStage box office at 242-6969 or visit mauionstage.com.
Maui OnStage continues its monthly free theater series ONO! with "Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some)" by Michael Carlton, Jim FitzGerald and John K. Alvarez. "Every Christmas Story " is a ridiculously silly sendup of everything from Rankin Bass puppetoons to the Grinch, Scrooge and "It's a Wonderful Life."
* It plays at the Historic Iao Theater on Monday; doors open at 6 p.m., this show at 6:30 p.m. The event is free; for more information about ONO! call 244-8680 or visit mauionstage.com.
Christ the King Youth Ministry presents "Once An Angel," an original Christmas play written by Faye Couch Reeves. Tara Ann Pacubas plays Gracie Brown, who pleads for angelic help to her save an old beloved church from closing down. Gracie questions if God really cares. Does he really listen to our prayers? The arrival of a loopy Christmas pageant director, played by Paris Sensano, and a reluctant teenage Christmas pageant cast test Gracie's teetering faith even more.
"Once An Angel" premieres at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 20, and repeats Wednesday, Dec. 21, at the Historic Iao Theater.
* Tickets are $10, children 5 and younger are free. For reservations or more information call Christ the King Church at 877-6098.
Kamp Krazy Tales is back at the ProArts Playhouse in Kihei. The Drama Queen and Miss Marti present a winter-break drama-and- music camp for ages 5 though 10- plus. Young students will learn fun drama games and music techniques.
Tuition is $150, preregistration required. The weeklong course runs from 9 a.m. to noon Monday, Dec. 26, through Friday, Dec. 30. No previous experience is necessary. On Friday, at the end of camp, students will present a short performance of the plays they learned for parents, and camp will finish with a certificate presentation and a party. The ProArts Playhouse is located in the Azeka Makai side of the center, next to Taco Bell. To reserve, call Marti Kluth at 276-4847.