At Saturday night's "Sneak Peek," guests were treated to multiple excerpt performances from five productions chosen for Maui OnStage's 2014-15 season. Songs included Rickey Jones' "Sparklejollytwinklyjingley," and Dale Button, Felicia Chernicki, Steven Dascoulias, Lee Garrow, Jason Wulf and Brett Wulfson sang of a needing "a taste for death" but no need for "sunshine, glee, country music and Tennessee." Alexis Dascoulias announced Casey Murphy ("Chicago," "The Wedding Singer") will be playing the role of Elle Woods in July's "Legally Blonde," and Lina Krueger and Jerry Eiting argued in song about who could sing louder, softer and sweeter before finding common ground that neither could bake a pie.
The shows are, in chronological order, October's "Wait Until Dark," Frederick Knott's 1966 suspense thriller, later immortalized by the Audrey Hepburn film version. Susy Hendrix is a blind Greenwich Village housewife who becomes the target of three con-men searching for a heroin-filled doll, which her husband unknowingly transported from Canada as a favor. In its final scene, the entire theater is in complete darkness (with a few lighting tricks) as Susy must fend for herself, smashing all the lights so the drug dealers (and the audience) are now blind as well.
For the holidays, MOS will present the Maui premiere of "Elf: the Musical," based on the 2003 Will Ferrell film, with music by Matthew Sklar ("The Wedding Singer") and book by Thomas Meehan ("Annie," "The Producers," "Hairspray"). The tale of "Buddy the Elf," a baby who accidently crawls into Santa's bag and is raised at the North Pole, will open the day after Thanksgiving. Buddy discovers he's a human being and heads to New York City in search of his father, who doesn't believe in the spirit of Christmas. A popular aspect of the 2010-13 Broadway run was casting a familiar face as Santa Claus, who narrates the story to the audience. Previous Santas have included George Wendt (Norm from "Cheers") and Wayne Knight (Newman from "Seinfeld").
Brett Wulfson (from left), Jason Wolf, Felicia Chernicki and Steven Dascoulias offer “The Addams Family” preview
JACK GRACE photo
The annual spring 2015 musical will be Irving Berlin's "Annie Get Your Gun," the comical retelling of Annie Oakley's rise from backwoods sharp shooter to star of "Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show." This classic Broadway show features such familiar favorites as "There's No Business Like Show Business" and "Anything You Can Do."
Neil Simon's "Brighton Beach Memoirs" is slated for May 2015. Set in 1937, the coming of age comedy is the first chapter of Simon's immensely popular play trilogy ("Biloxi Blues," "Broadway Bound") and is based on his life, as related by the 14-year-old fictional version of himself, Eugene Morris Jerome, a role originated by a young Matthew Broderick 30 years ago.
In July 2015, MOS will close next season with Gomez, Morticia, Wednesday, Pugsly, Lurch, Uncle Fester and the Hawaii premiere of "The Addams Family," with music by Andrew Lippa ("The Wild Party," "Big Fish") and book by Marshall Brickman ("Annie Hall," "Jersey Boys"). The musical version of the ghoulish family centers around a graveyard, where family members "living, dead and undecided" are enlisted to help Wednesday, who has has invited her new "normal" boyfriend and his parents to a meet-the-family dinner. While torturing 12-year-old Pugsley on a rack, Wednesday discovers love is pulling her in a new direction. This 2010 Tony-nominated musical was popularized by such luminous cast members as Nathan Lane, Bebe Newirth and Brooke Shields. Because the Broadway national tours will not be coming to Hawaii, Maui OnStage was able to obtain the rights to both "Elf" and "The Addams Family."
* Don't miss the world premiere of "The Worthmores" by Tom Althouse, directed by Lisa Teichner. In this comedy of errors, things are not always what they seem and society is turned on its ear. Althouse's manners comedy will premiere will full pomp, plumage and pageantry. Fake magistrates, stimulated housewives and impassioned young lovers bumble through a conundrum of miscommunication and create a topsy-turvy world where no one is safe, nothing is sacred and the servants rule the roost. Starring Steven Dascoulias, Kristi Scott, Brett Wulfson, Jeff Brackett, Hoku Pavao Jones, Ricky Jones, Kepa Cabanilla-Aricayos, Dale Button and a special cameo by Mayor Alan Arakawa. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays, this weekend through April 13 at the Historic Iao Theater in Wailuku. Tickets range from $18 to $22. Call 242-6969 or order at www.mauionstage.com.
* Catch Seabury Hall's production next weekend of "Winnie the Pooh," a musical version directed by Marsha Kelly and based on A. A. Milne's classic. Shows are 7 p.m. Friday, 3 and 7 p.m. Saturday, April 11 and 12, in the A'ali'ikuhonua Creative Arts Center on the Seabury Hall campus in Makawao. Admission is free.
* Children of all ages will enjoy "James and the Giant Peach," based on the book by Roald Dahl, dramatized by Richard R. George, with original music by David Delaney. Join James Henry Trotter as he escapes his zany and wicked aunts to embark on a journey in the Giant Peach with his insect friends. This all-youth production boasts songs that will keep you humming long after you leave. Performances are at 2 p.m. April 12 and 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. April 19 at the Historic Iao Theater. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for children. Call 242-6969 or visit www.mauionstage.com.
* Comedienne Anjelah Johnson is coming to Maui. Johnson became an Internet sensation with her viral video, "Nail Salon," and was featured on MadTV, along with being cast in "Alvin & The Chipmunks: The Squeakuel." Don't miss an unforgettable night of comedy as she shares countless stories about life, love and family. Performance is 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 18, in Maui Arts & Cultural Center's Castle Theater. General admission tickets are $33.50 (plus applicable fees). Visit the MACC box office, call 242-7469 or visit www.mauiarts.org.
* Seabury Hall Performing Arts presents its 25th annual "Dance Showcase 2014," with two weekends of performances under the direction of David Ward. The 25-year retrospective will feature choreography by Ward, Andre Morissette, Vanessa Cerrito and guest artists Kumu Kahula Maolo and Julane Stites. Performances are 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays, April 25 through May 4, in the A'ali'ikuhonua Creative Arts Center. Tickets are $12 adults, $10 seniors and $5 students. Call 573-1257 or visit www.seaburyhall.org.
* "God of Carnage," by Yasmina Reza and directed by Jonathan Lehman, is an edgy adult comedy-drama starring Kisha Milling, Jennifer Rose, William Makozak and Don Carlson. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays, April 25 through May 11, at the ProArts Playhouse in Kihei. Tickets are $22, with kamaaina discounts available for Hawaii residents. Call 463-6550.