According to playwright and artist Pat Masumoto, "What started out as a 100th year birthday gift to my mom grew into this magical experience for contributors, cast and audience!" Masumoto's mom, Florence Hasegawa, turns 104 this month. She has become quite the celebrity known for micro-blogging on Twitter.
The "what" is Masumoto's fourth annual "My Mama Monologues," staged readings of original stories, songs, poems and films created by children and adults about their own mothers and performed by a Maui cast of professionals and amateurs. This year's authors include Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock and NYC youth members of Urban Word, a nonprofit that hires high school graduates to teach children poetry and music, and provides them with open mic venues.
Masumoto's little idea that started on the internet has grown to multiple "Mama Monologues" in Denver, Oahu, Kauai, California and England. Maui authors include island favorite Lee Cataluna, Pat Masumoto, Wayne "Shakey" Boteilho, Netta Kanoho, Holly Ann Best, Scarlet Wells, Saundra Gaskey, Jaiia Earthchild, Gary Mekarski and student writer Kazu Iinuma.
Wayne “Shakey” Boteilho is held by his mother Sumire. Boteilho will be among the cast of the fourth annual “My Mama Monologues.”
Photo courtesy Wayne Boteilho
This year's readers will include Masumoto, Myrna Fung, Brad Starks, Paige Diep, Barbara Sedano, Scarlet Wells, Luana Mitchell, Wesley Furumoto, Netta Kanoho, Kazutaka Iinuma, Jaiia Earthschild, Doug Wyckoff, Louise Lambert, Marissa Godinez, Marilynn Hirashima, Jill Engledow, Wayne "Shakey" Boteilho, Paul Janes Brown, and Genie Calagna.
Masumoto added, "It takes great courage to share mama stories with the public, regardless of where it fits in listeners' minds and hearts. Yet authors take that risk, because the worthy stories lead to dialogue with the audience and that's very satisfying. Kleenex is customarily passed out at the door."
New to this year's production is a Mother's Day High Tea on stage immediately following Sunday's show catered by Soup to Nuts. Guests are encouraged to bring their own unique teacups & saucers.
* Catch "My Mama Monologues 2012" at the Historic Iao Theater at 7:30 p.m. Saturday May 12 and at 2 p.m. Sunday May 13 immediately followed by a Mother's Day High Tea. Tickets are $18 adults, $12 students 12 & younger and free for mothers 80 plus when accompanied by family member. Admission plus High Tea is $50 with $10 tax deductible donation to "Talking Stories," a local theater group that preserves Hawaii's language and heritage in the performing arts arena. For reservations or more information, call 214-3320 or visit mymamamonologues.com.
In addition to Maui mothers, a Maui daughter and junior at Seabury Hall, Ariella Brandon, has been accepted into the summer dance programs of the Boston Conservatory and The Joffrey Ballet's New York City program. Brandon's many Maui stage performances include Seabury Hall dance showcases, MAPA's "The Music Man" and Maui OnStage's "Cats." David Ward, director of dance at Seabury Hall, offered the highest of praise. "Ariella Brandon is an exceptional young dancer who has helped to set the highest standards of excellence for the Seabury Hall dance program over the past 6 years," said Ward. "In my many years of teaching, I have rarely come across a more passionate or gifted young performer. Participation in a world-class summer dance intensive would offer this bright talented student just the kind of inspiration that could help her reach her dreams of a professional career in the amazing world of dance."
"Dance has been my passion since my first ballet class when I was 11," said Brandon. "I was never quite sure how far I could go with dance, if it would just be a high school hobby or something I'd continue to pursue in college and after. In the last 2 years however, this uncertainty has become more clear and I've discovered something within myself that needs to keep dancing and hopefully dance professionally one day."
In addition to dance, Brandon and Seabury senior Kelsey Greenway recently founded Art with Heart, an organization of Seabury student artists to raise funds for a school in Africa under the UK-based organization Build Africa. Art with Heart also provides services to homeless children here on Maui. In fact, a PSA about Art with Heart won an award from the Clarence E. Ching Foundation for Seabury, Brandon and Greenway. Brandon gave her prize money to Art with Heart.
The Joffrey and Boston Conservatory summer programs are great opportunities for Brandon to study with well-known dancers. These include Desmond Richardson, founder and artistic director of Complexions Ballet Company, and one of the principals of the New York City Ballet. In Boston, she will be working with among others, Tamas Geza Moriscz, who performed with the famed Frankfurt Ballet under the great innovator William Forsythe. Brandon has enough for her airfare, but the tuition, which includes room and board totaling $6,000 remains to be obtained. Anyone who would like to contribute to help Brandon study in Boston and New York this summer can go into any branch of American Savings Bank and donate to the Ariella Brandon Fund.
"Lesser Ahi," created by Francis Tau'a and Derek Nakagawa, and directed by David C. Johnston has been extended for two additional performances at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 11 and Saturday, May 12 at the Steppingstone Playhouse in Queen Ka'ahumanu Center.
Due to the popularity of this show, MAPA anticipates that these performances will sell out, so purchase your tickets early. Tickets are $16 adults, $14 seniors and $12 students. For reservations or more information, call 244-8760, visit mauiacademy.org or go in person to Queen Ka'ahumanu Center's customer service kiosk.
Baldwin High Theater Guild's third annual "Variety Show Extravaganza," featuring both students and alumni, continues through May 13 at the Baldwin High School Loudon Mini-Theatre. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and at 5 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $10 adults, $8 seniors and $7 ages 17 and younger. The box office opens one hour before show time.
Maui OnStage's ONO! returns with Irving Berlin's "Annie Get Your Gun" at 6:30 p.m. Monday May 14. The classic American musical will feature Charles Cook, Tyler Charbonneau, Lina Aiko Krueger, Bob Wills, Alison Mikes, Lisa Paulson and Alexis and Steven Dascoulias as Annie Oakley and Frank Butler. The free theater series happens every second Monday of every month. For more information visit mauionstage.com.
ProArts, Inc. presents "And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little" by Paul Zindel, directed by Mark Collmer May 18 through June 3 at the ProArts Playhouse.
"And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little" is the story of three sisters who have grown up in a house dominated by their recently deceased mother.
Simmering resentments of many years burst alive and are exacerbated by the intrusion of a well-meaning but boorish neighbor couple, whose unexpected arrival impels the action towards its shattering conclusion in which all the pathos, humor and searing honesty of the play combine with overwhelming effect.
The Maui cast includes Kristi Scott, Martha Siefken, Sarah Loney, Andy Howansky, Lisa Teichner, Jett Batoon, and Nathan Galusky.
* Performances of "And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little" will be at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays at (beginning May 18) and at 3 p.m. Sundays. There will be no performance Sunday May 20. Ask about the ProArts Kama'aina Nights Saturday May 19 and Thursdays May 24 and 31. Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for students 18 and younger. For reservations or more information call 463-6550 or visit proartspacific.com.
"Side Shows: A Festival of One-Act Plays," Seabury Hall Performing Arts ends its season with its17th annual Side Shows - a wild array of 10 plays in 10 minutes or less!
This year's crop of plays includes pieces by professional contemporary playwright David Ives, local author Paul Wood, and Seabury student playwright Laura Mayron.
This year adult directors Alan Hodara, Tina Kailiponi, Marsha Kelly, Kay McLeod, Ryan Walsh, and Scott Winham are joined by student directors Celina Bekins, Ryan Noufer, and Gregory Saydah.
"The one-act festival has proven to be an ideal experience for students and audiences!" says Co-Festival director Todd Van Amburgh.
* "Side Shows: A Festival of One-Act Plays" performances will be at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday May 18 through 19, at the Seabury Hall Performing Arts Studio. Ticket prices are adults $9, seniors $8, students $4. For more information and reservations call 573-1257.
The "Maui Fringe Festival 2012," sponsored by Whole Foods Maui, runs May 24 though 27 at the Historic Iao Theater. The 2012 participants include three California productions, original Maui plays, Power Up Comedy, glow-in-the-dark burlesque by the Ultraviolets, excerpts from "My Mama Monologues," and "Lesser Ahi," performances by Vinnie Linares, Brian Connolly, Jor-El Elkin and the King Kekaulike Dramaaticans.
Additional 2012 events include two all-inclusive gala parties and live late night music by Maui Underground.
* Limited edition passes entitle the holder to attend every "Maui Fringe Festival 2012" performance and party with a guest for $50. The production happens May 24 through 27 at the Historic Iao Theater. Tickets for individual performances are available at the door for $10. For reservations or more information call 242-6969 or visit mauionstage.com.