The Maui theater ohana said goodbye to a beloved family member last week. " 'Ulalena" crew chief Adam Pruitt, died on March 6 of a heart attack from a severe reaction to a bee sting. He was 37.
Pruitt was praised by all who knew him for his professionalism and aloha. The longtime " 'Ulalena" team member was in many ways responsible for all the jaw-dropping effects that bring audiences back to Maui Theatre year after year.
A theater lover since childhood, Adam went on to attain a theater degree from University of Washington. In 1997 he showed up at Oahu's Diamond Head Theatre, looking for work. After volunteering for a week, he was hired to help in the scene shop and join the show crew. After hearing about the upcoming " 'Ulalena" project, he relocated to Maui, where he met his love, Lizette, at Hali'imaile General Store. Adam's dedication to the production showed, and after the " 'Ulalena" installation was completed he was hired to run the automation of the show.
Adam was also known for his concern for the safety of all performers, and that awareness always kept the actors, acrobats and crew members safe since " 'Ulalena's" opening in 1999.
Adam Pruitt continues to look after others; his liver has already found new life with someone in desperate need in Hawaii and his kidneys and pancreas are on their way to his alma mater, the University of Washington, to extend life to others.
Adam is survived by his longtime love, Lizette Pleasanton; their sons, Evon Reef Pleasanton-Pruitt and Jegt "Remy" Remington Pleasanton-Pruitt.
Fellow " 'Ulalena" veteran Lia Krieg offers this tribute: "This (the theater) is where you loved to be, and then your boys were born and made your life even richer. The love, laughter, and compassion flowed effortlessly to all you attended to. I know you will be watching over us, and your spirit will surround us whenever the " 'Ulalena" rain falls ... A hui hou, Adam."
Congratulations to ProArts and Maui OnStage for their highly successful sold-out runs of "The Mousetrap" and "Grease." ProArts has added two additional performances of "The Mousetrap" this weekend, but both performances are sold out as well. Generally speaking the best time to get walk-up tickets to a show on Maui is opening weekend. It's always wise to make theater reservations several weeks in advance as ProArts and Maui OnStage had to turn away several dozen patrons if not more in recent months.
The Maui Academy of Performing Arts' 16-member advanced teen acting troupe opens its production of "Snow Angel" Friday under the direction of Sally Sefton. "Snow Angel" is the story of several teenagers listening for snow-day school closings over the radio. Just as they begin to celebrate school being closed, their teacher announces a special a journal assignment over the snow day.
Frida Jenson, the outcast of the group, starts writing stories in her journal about mysterious encounters with a girl named Eva. After finding Frida's journal, the rest of the teens begin writing about their own Eva sightings. Eva, as it turns out, disappeared in the last big blizzard to hit Deerpoint, Vt., some 100 years prior. Is she a ghost?
"Snow Angel" is the creation of Pulitzer prize-winning playwright David Lindsay-Abaire, author of the stage and screen versions of "Rabbit Hole." That 2006 Broadway hit featured Tyne Daly and Cynthia Nixon of "Sex and the City." Nixon went on to receive the Tony that year, and in 2010 Nicole Kidman received an Academy Award nomination reprising the role of Becca Corbett. Lindsay-Abaire has also written the book and lyrics for the Broadway hit "Shrek: The Musical," and the book for a musical version of "High Fidelity."
I asked Sefton how she came to choose this little-known show.
"It is a challenge to find well-written scripts that are intended for a teenage cast," she said. "This is a great script by David Lindsay-Abaire and I'm a big fan of his play 'Rabbit Hole.' This is an all-teen character show with mixture of short monologues and interaction, and I was excited about doing a snow show too."
Unfamiliar with the tale, I asked Sefton what it was about.
"It tackles bullying and isolation. Frida gets picked on a lot. As a teacher I see the effects of isolation and loneliness and how it impacts a teen's life. Eva is an idea, people become immersed in ideas and fantasies, so they all buy into Eva, not unlike 'The Emperor's New Clothes.' "
Sefton also noted the irony and humor of doing a snow show on Maui.
"It's funny with the play taking place in a cold climate. Most of the cast knows nothing about cold weather or snow days, the way you have to walk in the snow. Many have never even seen snow. I had to explain how to make a snow angel."
* MAPA presents "Snow Angel" by David Lindsay-Abaire, a funny and eerie play about teen angst, opening Friday night and running through March 25 at the Steppingstone Playhouse in Queen Ka'ahumanu Center. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays with one 3 p.m. matinee on Sunday, March 25. Tickets are $8 for students 18 and younger, and $12 for adults. For reservations or more information call MAPA at 244-8760.
Fractured fairy tales return to the ProArts Playhouse with an encore production of "Cinderella," produced and directed by Jonathan Lehman ("Driving Miss Daisy"), April 6 through 22. Several cast members return from past "Cinderella" productions including Bill Schnitzer, Vinnie Linares, Rose Roselinsky, Dale Button, and Kristi Scott along with newcomers Casey Murphy (in the title role), Mark Bolden, Sarah Loney and Dylan Bode.
* "Cinderella" plays at 7:30 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Thursdays, April 12 and 19; 4 p.m. Saturday, April 14; and 1 and 4 p.m. Sundays, April 15 and 22. "Cinderella" is intended for all ages. Tickets are $15 for reserved seating or $10 for the keiki floor seating. For reservations or more information call 463-6550 or visit proartspacific.com.
Be the first to get a glimpse at the 2012-'13 season at Maui OnStage's second annual "Sneak Peek" fundraiser, Saturday, March 31. The event is an all-inclusive dinner party at the home of Hal Jobe and Gary Mohrlang in Wailuku Country Estates. Cocktails are at 5 p.m., followed by dinner buffet and peeks at 6 p.m., and the season announcement, dessert and music at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $125; for more information call 244-8680 or visit mauion stage.com.
George Lopez tickets will go on sale to the general public at 10 a.m. Friday for his April 20 appearance in Castle Theater at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. Lopez is one of the most popular comics in America with a career that encompasses television, films and stand-up comedy. He hosts "Lopez Tonight," and co-created, wrote, produced and starred in the groundbreaking hit sitcom "George Lopez." His Maui stand- up performance is intended for adults and contains mature content.
* Tickets are $43.50 and $58.50, plus applicable fees, available from the MACC box office, 242-7469 or mauiarts.org.
ProArts will be holding auditions for "And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little" by Paul Zindel from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday at the ProArts Playhouse in Kihei. The show, directed by Mark Collmer, will open May 18 and run three weekends through June 3. Auditions are for actors 17 and over. The characters in the play are Anna Reardon, 30 to 40; Catherine Reardon, 30 to 50; Ceil Reardon Adams, 30 to 50; Mrs. Pentrano, open age; Fleur Stein, 30 to 50; Bob Stein, 30-50; and a delivery boy, 16 to 18.
Auditioners should bring a current resume and head shot and be prepared to read from the script, which will be available when calling to reserve an appointment. A stipend is paid to all participants. For more details or an audition appointment, call 463-6550.
Maui Academy of Performing Arts invites young performers entering 3rd grade and higher in the 2012-13 school year to audition for MAPA's summer 2012 Musical Theatre Camps. The camps culminate in full-scale productions of two musicals at Steppingstone Playhouse in Queen Ka'ahumanu Center.
Auditions will be held Sunday, April 1, at MAPA's studios in Wailuku. Students entering grades 3 through 7 will audition for the youth Musical Theatre Camp from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and students entering grades 7 to college will audition for the teen Musical Theatre Camp from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. (Those entering 7th grade may attend either audition.)
No previous experience is necessary. Those trying out should wear comfortable clothes and be prepared to stay the full two hours. For more information or to register in advance visit mauiacademy.org or call 244-8760.