Congratulations to all the winners and contestants at last weekend's "Shower of Stars." In the youth category first place went to singer, Ashley Pokorski, second place, singer Jena Mukai, and third place to dancer, Gabriel Frampton. The 18-and-older winners were ukulele and bass trio Axel Menezes, Brad Bordessa and Travis Orozco in first place. Second place went to singer Fern Young, who performed her own original song and accompanied herself on piano. Third place went to dancer Joel Suarez.
This month marks one year of writing Maui Backstage. My first column last year was about the dedication and tireless work of Maui volunteer Steve Hatcher.
There are no official theater awards on Maui and maybe that is a Maui thing. Perhaps it's more about recognizing unsung heroes. One of those people is Maui OnStage's Steven Dascoulias. Yes he is immensely talented on stage, but the majority of his day is spent building every Maui OnStage set and fine tuning all things technical which can range from being 100 feet in the air fixing a light or over seeing any and all sound requests from rock bands to live orchestras.
Francis Tau‘a appears in a scene from MAPA’s “Lesser Ahi.”
Photo courtesy MAPA
Typically, Steven works about 65 hours a week, not counting rehearsals. Equally as busy as Dascoulias this past season was Francis Tau'a. When he wasn't performing in a dress, Francis delivered a masterful performance in ProArts' "The Mousetrap," co-wrote MAPA's "Lesser Ahi," all the while teaching classes daily at the MAPA studios and coaching the young actors in three separate MAPA youth productions.
Lia Krieg, possibly the most talented person on Maui, spent time on stage every week in 'Ulalena, played Rizzo in "Grease" at the Iao Theater, and wowed many a crowd when in appearance with the Kit Kat Club Cabaret.
In addition, Krieg co-created, produced, promoted and performed with "the Sirens of Song" at the Maui Tropical Plantation.
Few realize Maui's most talented have a day jobs, too. Krieg teaches Biology 40-plus hours a week at Baldwin High and still found time to volunteer at King Kekaulike High as the choreographer on "Huckleberry Finn."
Theater angel Judy Halip ran the box office for every ProArts and Maui OnStage production, that is, when she wasn't ushering at every MACC event last season.
Mary Jean Bega volunteers at the concession stand for both Seabury and Kamehameha shows, helping out where needed like so many other parents at their children's shows.
Kristi Scott directed ProArts' "Social Security" and "The Mousetrap" as well as Theater Theater Maui's "the Wizard of Oz." In addition she appeared in three ProArts productions and taught Kamp Crazy Tales with Marti Kluth during the Fall, Winter and Summer breaks.
The point is, maybe Maui's Tony should be a Pono award for all the people that work so tirelessly to keep live theater thriving on Maui. Without the hard work of all these individuals and countless others, there would not be 20 or 30 shows a year on Maui. Mahalo to everyone that donates their extra time keeping theater alive on Maui. They keep me looking forward to the next show.
Maui OnStage's ONO! returns at 6:30 p.m. Monday, with "The Owl and the Pussycat" by Bill Manhoff. Not to be confused with the children's story, "The Owl and the Pussycat" is the tale of book worm Felix Sherman who is awakened in the middle of the night by neighbor, Doris Waverly, whom he has had removed from the building for operating the oldest profession. This edgy, romantic comedy is intended for mature audiences. Starring Charles Cook and Genie Calagna. The free theater series happens every second Monday of every month. For more information visit mauionstage.com.
Power Up Comedy presents "Return of the Chino," Saturday, August 18 at Stella Blues Cafe. Popular Maui comic Curtis "Chino" La Forge returns home after his summer tour of comedy clubs on the Mainland. The "Star Wars" themed night will be hosted by Sunny Dennis and also features local comics Doug Wyckoff, Teresa Sickels, Doc Titanium and Jason Strahn. PG performance at 8 p.m., R rated at 10 p.m.. Tickets are $20 for both shows, $10 online at powerupcomedy.com, $15 at the door (per show), or free if you come dressed as your favorite "Star Wars" character.
By popular demand, Augie T's "Summer of LOL" returns to the McCoy Theater at the MACC, Friday August 24. Special guest Jose Dynamite will open. Performances at 7:30 p.m., tickets $20 general, $35 premium with a special post show meet and greet included. To purchase tickets visit the MACC box office, call 242-7469, or order online at mauiarts.org.
Don't miss the 24th Annual Garden Party, a benefit for MAPA's educational and performing arts programs, Sunday Sept. 9. Celebrate great food, wine and the arts on the beautiful Yokouchi Estate in Wailuku. Tickets are $75 in advance, or $85 at the door. The all-inclusive event includes talented Maui singers performing songs from MAPA musicals, top island artists creating fresh art on site, plus a silent and live auction. Open bar with fine wines by Whole Foods Market and local beer from Maui Brewing Co. This year's restaurants will be Saigon Cafe, Bistro Casanova, Cafe O'Lei, Duke's, Flatbread Co., Maui Tacos, The Melting Pot, Monkeypod Kitchen, Three's Bar & Grill Vineyard Food Co. and Waterfront Restaurant. On site artists include Allan Robin Bones, Jackie Pias Carlin, Michael Clements, Joseph Fletcher, Jack Hamilton, Jamie Roth, Steve Turnbull. Tickets may be purchased in person at the MAPA office, the Nail Shop in Kihei, the Queen Ka'ahumanu customer service counter and at the Whole Foods Market customer service counter. For more information visit mauiacademy.org or call 244-8760.