Backstage

Cursed for eternity

Since Vinnie Linares’ Oh Boy Productions presented last summer’s “Medea,” he and frequent collaborator Jennifer Rose have been motivated to produce additional thought-provoking plays on Maui. “There is an audience for this type of material, but they have been denied because this is ...

Iliza Shlesinger

Comedian and actress Iliza Shlesinger has been quietly establishing herself as one of the best and hardest-working comics in America for the past half-dozen years. Never heard of her? Millennials certainly have, and her latest comedy special “Elder Millennial” debuted last week on ...

Mini Stage Reviews: Youth theater shines

Lahaina’s Theatre Theatre Maui’s current production of “Oliver!” is a bold choice, armed with many standout performances in an unconventional setting, which moves the classical tale by Charles Dickens from Victorian London to an unspecified post-apocalyptic British future. Director ...

Discover the ‘Circle of Life’

While visiting the Maui Academy of Performing Arts summer theater camp last week, I noticed their lessons concluded with the 63-member youth cast gathered in a circle, hands clasped, singing “Goodbye, farewell to you my friend. So long, farewell, until we meet again.” “In one summer a ...

Makin’ a splash at Historic Iao Theater

STAGE REVIEW Overflowing with accomplished special effects courtesy of set designer Caro Walker and lighting designer Amy Lord, Maui OnStage’s “Singin’ in the Rain” is making quite a splash at the Historic Iao Theater in Wailuku. The two-hour romantic musical comedy is faithful to ...

Summer theater programs keep Maui kids entertained

Many a summer, the Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Kahului has hosted “Sesame Street Live” at the Castle Theater. This year, for parents of young children who may be seeking something new to share as a family, the pups of “PAW Patrol” are coming to Maui. “PAW Patrol Live!” is ...

Jovial hijinks abound

While a member of the Friars Club of California, I had the great honor of chatting with several silver screen legends who regaled me with tales of Hollywood’s golden era. One of those greats was the late Cyd Charisse, who imparted the story of how the classic movie “Singin’ in the Rain” ...

Trust in the beauty of dance

Just as theater has blossomed with new production companies popping up on Maui over the past decade, so has dance — most prominently by means of Adaptations Dance Theater. The once diminutive contemporary dance company has expanded every year since its beginnings in 2012, and will present ...

Three pivotal decades endearingly deconstructed in ‘Same Time, Next Year’

ProArts Playhouse’s most virtuous contribution to Maui Theater is its devotion to consistently presenting established, well-written academic plays. ProArts’ current production, “Same Time, Next Year” by Bernard Slade, is an ideal example of its commitment to offering stage standards ...

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 ...