What makes certain cartoons timeless and enjoyable for all ages is humor on two levels: one level for the kids and an "over-their-head" set of one-liners for the adults, like "Rocky and Bullwinkle." This combination has been a quite successful for ProArts Playhouse in the past. The most popular of their fractured fairy tale productions inspired by "Rocky and Bullwinkle" thus far has been "Cinderella." The first version was presented in the Steppingstone Playhouse in 2009 and when ProArts opened its own Kihei theater in 2010, the production was revived with most of the original cast. Next weekend many members of that same cast will return to present the popular production once again.
It's been almost a year since ProArts has offered a children's show. Recently the Kihei-based production house has been offering more adult fare, but ProArts fairy tales are not just for kids. Previous hit kids shows by the company include "Sleeping Beauty" (2009, 2010), "The Emperor's New Clothes" (2010), "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" (2010) and "Rats! The Pied Piper Musical" (2011). Most of these public-domain tales are tweaked, crafted, updated, and directed by ProArts co-founder Jonathan Lehman, who even arranges music and composes new lyrics.
"I write the scripts from scratch" said Lehman. "Most of the jokes are written, but there is an ad-lib rehearsal process and Doug Kendrick (the production's original director) contributed a lot as well."
How did she do that? Casey Murphy’s transformation from floorsweep to princess will be just one of the things convincing youngsters in the audience that theater is magic in ProArts’ reprise of “Cinderella.”
And how does he create the songs?
"The opening number, 'Once Upon a Time,' is an old recital piece I played as a child and I added original lyrics. The cast is guilty of adding lyrics too. In the love song 'Something About You,' the Prince began singing to the shoe and changed a line to 'something about shoe.' "
Other jokes have been added or updated for the 2012 production - a 2009 Brittany Spears joke is now a Kim Kardashian joke.
"We're still in rehearsals, so this version is still evolving," said Lehman, who had just ordered 300 magic wands to give away to the keiki.
"This is a great show for little kids, too. There's nothing scary like an evil queen. The scariest thing is seeing Dale Button in drag."
The very funny and vocally gifted Casey Murphy ("Chicago") takes on the title role this time around where she reunites with Mark Bolden ("Damn Yankees"). Bolden and Murphy last played opposite each other in 2010's "The Wedding Singer." Reprising previous roles are Dale Button as the hideously unattractive stepsister Gautine opposite Kristi Scott as stepsister Pudgina. Rose Roselinsky returns as the evil stepmother along with Bill Schnitzer as King Reginald and Vinnie Linares as Percival the Page.
Joining the "Cinderella" veterans are Dylan Bode ("The Mousetrap") as Morgan the Mouse and Sarah Loney ("Cats") as the Fairy Godmother. One of the finest moments in the ProArts production is the magical transformation of Cinderella from before to after, it's quite an impressive piece of theater magic that makes the kids gasp and say "How did they do that?" "Cinderella" is a great Easter weekend family outing, especially if you sit on the floor with them up close to the action.
* ProArts presents "Cinderella," produced and directed by Jonathan Lehman ("Driving Miss Daisy"), April 6 through 22 at the ProArts Playhouse in Kihei. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Fridays; 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, April 12 and 19; 4 p.m. Saturdays; and 1 and 4 p.m. Sundays. "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.
Speaking of royalty and gala events, catch the Na Alii of Comedy Friday night in Castle Theater at the MACC. Hawaii's legends of comedy Frank De Lima, Ed Ka'ahea, Mel Cabang, Andy Bumatai and Augie T are coming together 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 over 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 and $35 VIP (includes artist meet-and-greet), plus applicable fees, available from the MACC box office, 242-7469 or mauiarts.org.
Visit "Coconut Island" Friday at the Maui Tropical Plantation. Come fly with the Kit Kat Club Cabaret as they take you on an exotic, fantasy-inspired journey, from the inside of a romantically stylized airplane, through a comedic Bermuda Triangle, then onto an exotic tropical island where go-go dancing stewardess encounter feisty pirates, sinister mermaids and wish-granting genies.
* Preshow cocktails, hors d'oeuvres and VIP hookah lounge begin at 6:30 p.m. Friday at the Maui Tropical Plantation in Waikapu. Arrive at sunset for happy hour specials before the show starts at 7:30 p.m. and bring a beach blanket for the late night bonfire. There's a $15 cover at the door;18 and older only.
Our nation's former poet laureate, Haiku resident W.S. Merwin, will be making a free appearance at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in McCoy Studio Theater at the MACC. Merwin has been a force in American poetry for 60 years, receiving nearly every major award for poetry, including two Pulitzer Prizes (1971 and 2009). In 2010, he was appointed by the Library of Congress as its 17th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry. In honor of this appointment, Merwin has been appointed 2012 recipient of the Dan and Maggie Inouye Chair in Democratic Ideals at the University of Hawaii.
Unfortunately, there is no more available seating in the limited space of McCoy Theater for this rare appearance.
Don't miss George Lopez's April 20 appearance in Castle Theater at the MACC. Lopez is one of the most popular comics in America with a career that encompasses television, films and stand-up.. His last Maui stand-up performance was a huge sold-out success inspiring this return engagement featuring all new material. The performance is intended for adults and contains mature content.
* Tickets are $43.50 and $58.50, plus applicable fees, available from the MACC as above.
Join Maui Academy of Performing Arts for a murder mystery party to benefit the educational performing arts programs at MAPA. "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! Period attire is highly encouraged. Costume rentals are available through MAPA by calling in advance. "Murder at the Juice Joint" will be at the Maui Country Club in Sprecklesville from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on 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 mauiacademy.org.
Also upcoming from MAPA is the much anticipated original play "Lesser Ahi," created by Francis Tau'a and Derek Nakagawa and directed by David C. Johnston. Tau'a and Nakagawa will play 20 characters, offering a local take on "Greater Tuna" set in a small Hawaiian town.
"It's pidgin to the max," says Nakagawa, "it will help if you've lived in Hawaii for awhile."
The world-premiere of "Lesser Ahi" opens April 20 and runs through May 5. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays at the Steppingstone Playhouse in Queen Ka'ahumanu Center.
* Tickets are $16 adults, $14 seniors and $12 students. For reservations or more information, call 244-8760 or visit mauiacad emy.org.
Due to unusually high demand, Maui OnStage has begun the audition process for this summer's "The Producers" by Mel Brooks, directed by Jennifer Rose. Auditions and callbacks are being scheduled over the week of May 7; specifics and additional details can be found at mauionstage.com.