Backstage

Summer theater sizzles

Not long ago, summer theater productions were few and far between, prompting many a Backstage columnist, including myself, to create profile features on local performers throughout the entire month of June. Last summer, eight productions opened between June and August, and this year nine are ...

End of theater season . . . bestows accolades for stand-out performances

For the past six years, I have included a yearly Tony Awards mini-guide for Backstage readers. This year, there are three clear favorites that could sweep their categories: “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two” in the original play categories; “Angels in America” for ...

Classic tale, creatively told

Alexander Academy Performing Company, the little dance company that could, has been offering professional dance instruction Upcountry for 28 years. After needing to relocate from the old Kula Community Center last summer, the academy has since settled into their new home in Haliimaile. ...

Toe-tapping time with Gershwin

There have been a handful of turning-point moments on Broadway since the first musical debuted in 1866. One was the success of 26-year-old George M. Cohan’s “Little Johnny Jones” in 1904. Cohan, universally regarded as the “King of Broadway,” kicked open the door for American ...

‘Alas, poor Yorick . . .’

William Shakespeare wrote his most frequently produced play, “Hamlet,” over 400 years ago, and this weekend Maui’s south side middle school students will present an abridged version in the inaugural ProArts Youth Theater production at the ProArts Playhouse in Kihei. Just as “Hamlet: ...

Only one chance each month to see . . . ONO! at Historic Iao Theater

Since 2009, Maui OnStage has been presenting free monthly theatrical performances at the Historic Iao Theater in Wailuku. Dubbed ONO!, the acronym for one-night-only, the 10-plus years of performances have ranged from Neil Simon and Woody Allen comedies, dance recitals, youth theater ...

Depression-era drama tugs at heart

A spectacular drama not only lingers in the hearts and minds of an audience immediately following its conclusion, but also remains with us subconsciously for a lifetime. Maui OnStage’s “Of Mice and Men” is an overpowering, uncommon and essential production flooded with prodigious artistic ...

‘Peanuts’ gang is guilty pleasure

We all have slightly mindless, guilty pleasures. They might range from “I Love Lucy” re-runs to reality shows that star a Kardashian. It provides us with a respite, a chance to turn off our to-do list and just enjoy the brain candy. ProArts Playhouse’s “You’re A Good Man, Charlie ...

Plight of migrant workers …

For roughly 80 years, John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men” has been widely accepted as one of the greatest American stories ever written. Its prestige has certainly been aided by English teachers for three generations, but perhaps user-friendliness is why this unsophisticated and ...

Good grief! It’s Charlie Brown

The first theatrical event that I ever performed in was “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown.” Many stage performers that I’ve known have appeared in that show in their youth. Maui makeup designer Rachel Deboer’s first stage role was as Snoopy; “The Addams Family” lighting designer ...

At long last theater lovers

A decade ago, the King Kekaulike high school theater program was in its infancy and nearly non-existent; more a club than a drama program. Since then, Drama Instructor Chris Kepler has distinguished the program as a virtual blueprint of how to succeed in show business without really panicking. ...

Youth theater summer camps offer performing arts fun for all

When I began writing Backstage seven years ago, there were many weeks when no performing arts events were scheduled. That has rarely been the case this season with the expansion of shows at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Kahului, the ProArts Playhouse in Kihei and the Historic Iao ...

‘Godspell’

Alexis Dascoulias, director of the Maui OnStage production of “Godspell,” has helmed the classic 1970s musical on several occasions. That doesn’t include appearing in a New England production where she sang “Day By Day” 25 years ago. “This is my sixth time directing ...

Maui Celebrity Series brings back funny man

Impresario, singer, actor, author and United States congressional candidate for Hawaii, Brian Evans started the Maui Celebrity Series nearly a decade ago in Lahaina. Over the years, Evans has presented such stars as Academy Award-winner Jeff Bridges; Emmy Award-winners Roseanne, William Shatner ...

Moliere’s ‘Tartuffe’ hilarious and still relevant

Can 17th-century farces and ancient Greek tragedies find an audience on Maui? Vinnie Linares, executive producer of Oh Boy Productions, thinks they will, and we’ll have the chance to see when Moliere’s “Tartuffe” opens in the ‘A‘ali‘ikuhonua Creative Arts Center at the Seabury ...

Hitchcock spoof provides non-stop laughter in ProArts’ ‘The 39 Steps’

What makes us laugh? Great comedy does not require a preface, or in some rare cases, exceptional writing. It requires execution by great comics. That is exactly what is happening at the ProArts Playhouse in Kihei over the next three weeks, because “The 39 Steps” is absolutely loaded with ...

‘Come to the cabaret, old chum’

STAGE REVIEW: There is no curtain at the Historic Iao Theater in Wailuku, but moments after the theoretical curtain rises on “Cabaret,” audiences know that they are in for something very, very special. Starting with a drum roll and ending in dead silence, Kalani Whitford’s considerably ...

Changing times of 1931 Berlin at Maui OnStage in … Cabaret

A fitting snapshot of the short-lived art conclave that emerged in Berlin in the 1920s is 1951’s Tony Award-winning “I Am a Camera” by John Van Druten, from which the musical “Cabaret” is adapted. Conveyed through the eyes of Christopher Isherwood, author of the 1939 novel “Goodbye ...

Hitchcock light?

Mel Brooks, the master of parody, took on Alfred Hitchcock, the master of suspense, in 1977’s movie “High Anxiety.” In one scene mocking Hitchcock’s “The Birds,” instead of being pecked to death by a flock of birds, Brooks found himself covered in pigeon droppings. Similarly, ...