Aloha, and bon voyage to Aly Cardinalli! The longtime performer, choreographer and director on Maui will be relocating to Baltimore. Cardinalli has been instrumental in advancing theater arts on Maui since his return home in 2006. Since appearing in "Little Shop of Horrors," he has popped up in more productions than just about anyone on Maui. His specialty being when someone got hurt -"Can you go on in 24 hours?"
In addition to the many shows he has choreographed, Cardinalli is the creator of Maui's "Thriller" dancers who directed the megahit "Cats" for Maui OnStage and "Ruthless: the Musical" for ProArts, both in 2011. His contribution to advancing the skills of Maui dancers and performers will have a long-lasting effect on multiple generations. Cardinalli and fianc Matthew Wilkins were wed on Maui just last week, and the two will be leaving the island later this month.
Because he leaves family and many friends on Maui, Cardinalli's goodbye feels more like until we meet again; chances are a guest director gig is in his future.
Versatile Aly Cardinalli’s extensive resume of work on Maui includes dancing in Maui OnStage’s hit run of “Chicago.”
Alione Fall (clockwise from center left), Eliza Wright, Camri Brown, Keegan Otterson, Josh Elred and Isabelle Mosberger make MAPA’s “Snow Angel” a hit.
Casey Murphy performs at last year’s “Sneak Peek” for Maui OnStage.
JACK GRACE photo
Mahalo, Aly for all your contributions to Maui's theater ohana.
Congratulations to Alison Mikes and her highly successful "Songs For a New World" ONO! production last Monday. "New World" is a modern and sophisticated musical by Jason Robert Brown. Brown's music requires nothing less than phenomenal singing voices, and Mikes was able to enlist Maui's best. In addition to her own powerful voice, the cast included Lia Krieg, Jonna Ahn, Kelsey Greenway, Lisa Paulson, Dale Button, Charles Cook, Steven Dascoulias, Aly Cardinalli and Dylan Bode. Equally impressive was pianist Vania Jerome. The once sparse ONO! productions are becoming the talk of the town with upward of 250 in attendance every month. Future productions include R.K Harper's production of "Fools" by Neil Simon in April and Alexis Dascoulias will present "Annie Get Your Gun" in May.
The question with a lot of youth theater is the script. How can teenagers pull that off? Sally Sefton has found a temporary solution with David Lindsay-Abaire's "Snow Angel." What I love about this MAPA production is the script. Lindsay-Abaire's story involves present-day high school students who speak like today's high school students. That one little thing allows the talented teen cast to connect with their characters and react naturally. "Snow Angel" is about a lot of things, but mostly it is about growth. One productive week can truly allow a group of young people to mature and grow almost overnight.
The catalyst of all this evolution is Eva (Camri Brown). Whether it is Sefton's tutelage, great casting or talent, Brown's acting is quite impressive. She listens and is constantly present; she appears different from everyone else and the mysteriousness she presents aids the ghost story aspect of the tale.
Isabelle Mossbarger as the outcast Frida offers a strong performance as well. Mossbarger's rage is felt, but as the script intends, we also like her. Many times, outsize actions and gestures are a good way to set a scene. Kaitlyn Brunner, Eliza Wright, Kiegan Otterson, Allione Fall and Josie Sullivan are wisely coached to over-act. "Snow Angel" is very funny, and those over-the-top moments help the quiet flirtation of Benny (Kaimana Neil) and Jill (Casey Hearl) work when "Snow Angel" needs some heart warmth.
Also noteworthy is a raw, classic, troubled-youth performance by Brock Ambrose as Crank. In recent months many Maui shows have had a James Dean bad-boy part, but Ambrose subtly plays that same role with a discreet vulnerability that seems very real and very Maui.
The result of the teen cliques and the teen angst is that the enemy of an enemy can become a friend; these new friendships evolve around the idea of doing the right thing. MAPA and Sally Sefton have given Maui a true teen production and it is all the more fitting that you can catch it at the mall.
* MAPA presents "Snow Angel" by David Lindsay-Abaire, a funny and eerie play continuing through Sunday at the Steppingstone Playhouse in Queen Ka'ahumanu Center. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with a 3 p.m. matinee Sunday. Tickets are $8 for students 18 and under and $12 for adults. For reservations or more information call MAPA at 244-8760.
Speaking of eerie, later this month the SyFy Channel will be investigating the claim that the Historic Iao Theater is haunted. A Hollywood crew from "Haunted Collector" will be taping an upcoming episode to find out if the Iao's resident ghost "Emma" is real or paranoia-based. In addition, "Haunted Collector" will be seeking out a catalyst or haunted item that may shed light on the mystery as well as opening a supposed time capsule from the late 1920s. Keep posted for the results. The nationally televised production will air later this year.
Gala and fundraiser season is here. No fewer than six separate lavish parties will be held at some of Maui's most picturesque locations over the coming weeks. Hal Jobe and Gary Mohrlang offer their home for Maui OnStage's second annual "Sneak Peek" on Saturday, March 31. Guests will be the first to find out Maui OnStage's 2012-13 season after enjoying cocktails at 5 p.m., dinner buffet at 6 p.m. and dessert at 7:30 p.m. The menu will feature four buffet stations offering Brazilian, Mexican, Mediterranean and local cuisine. Spirits by Pau Vodka and Sammy Hagar's Beach Bar Rum, fine wines by Whole Foods and local beers by Maui Brewing Co. Sneak Peeks from each show will be performed at the party throughout the evening with a special after-hours performance by Benoit JazzWorks.
* Maui OnStage's "Sneak Peek" happens Saturday, March 31, in Wailuku Country Estates. Directions will be provided upon ticket purchase. At press time the event was close to sold out; to inquire about last-minute tickets, call 244-8680 or visit mauionstage.com.
The Maui Academy of Performing Arts has a clever new theme party planned. "Murder at the Juice Joint" is set amidst the glitz and glamour of the roaring 1920s. The party will include fabulous entertainment, delicious food and drinks and a murder game! You can simply sit back, relax and enjoy the intrigue or you can join in the fun by participating in the drama, searching for clues and trying to guess the identity of the murderer. Period attire is highly encouraged. Costume rentals are available through MAPA by calling in advance.
* "Murder at the Juice Joint" will take place at the Maui Country Club in Sprecklesville from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, April 14. Tickets are $150 for a "Speakeasy Pass" or $2,000 for an exclusive "Mugs & Molls table" (reserved seating for eight, butler service, VIP parking and more). For reservations, costume rental or more information, call 244-8760 or visit mauiacade my.org.
Na Alii of Comedy are coming to Maui on Friday, March 30, in Castle Theater at the MACC. Hawaii's legends of comedy are teaming up on one stage for the first time. Frank De Lima has been entertaining with family-friendly, local-style humor for 36 years. Ed Ka'ahea is the last surviving member of the iconic comedy trio "Booga Booga" and has more than 30 years in the entertainment business. Mel Cabang has been a comic and TV actor in Hawaii for 40 years. Andy Bumatai, a comedian for 30 years plus, has traveled as a headliner in comedy clubs across the U.S. and has opened for some of the biggest acts in the industry. Augie T. performs live and on TV for audiences here in the islands as well as across the Mainland.
* Tickets are $22.50 standard, $35 VIP (includes artist meet-and-greet), plus applicable fees, available from the MACC box office, 242-7469 or mauiarts.org.
"Cinderella" returns to the ProArts Playhouse in Kihei from April 6 to 22. Several cast members return from the previous ProArts fractured fairy tale 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.
Performances are 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, as well as Thursdays, April 12 and 19. There will be one 4 p.m. Saturday matinee, April 14, and Sunday matinees at 1 and 4 p.m. 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.