Backstage

Jena Mukai is Mulan in The Maui Academy of Performing Arts presentation of “Disney’s Mulan Jr.” • Peter Swanzy photo

Disney theater popular summer fare

In the early 1960s, a trumpet player named Ron Logan was hired to play for the Dixieland Band at Disneyland. Thirty years later he had risen to become an executive in the Disney organization and founded Walt Disney Theatrical. He had the idea to bring staged adapted musicals of Disney animated ...

Kathryn Holtkamp (from left on floor), Lina Aiko Krueger and Lia Krieg-DeSouza bond with a doobie after a bad day at the office in Maui OnStage’s season finale   production of “9 to 5 The Musical.” 
• Jack Grace photo

‘9 to 5 The Musical’ great ending to season of premieres

Set in the late 1970s, “9 to 5 The Musical” gets off to a scintillating start with its well-known title track and transitions wonderfully into “Around Here.” In this introductory number we meet Violet Newstead, an inspired interpretation by Lina Aiko Krueger, and Judy Bernly (Kathryn ...

Elmo and his “Sesame Street” pals have to help Jenny the Music Teacher when her instruments go missing in “Sesame Street Live! Elmo Makes Music.” Performances are at 6:30 p.m. July 21, 10:30 a.m., 2  and 5:30 p.m. July 22; and 1 and 4:30 p.m. July 23 in the Castle Theater at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Kahului. Tickets range from $15 to $75 (plus applicable fees). For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the box office, www. mauiarts.org or call 242-7469. Photo courtesy Sesame Workshop

‘Sesame Street Live!’

There are well over 7 billion people in the world and I’m guessing that if half of us sang “Sunny day, sweeping the clouds away. On my way to where the air is sweet,” most of the other half could reply, “Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street?” The American PBS ...

Lina Aiko Krueger (clockwise from left), Lia Krieg-DeSouza and Katherine Holtkamp teach boss Jerry Eiting how to treat his secretaries in Maui OnStage’s premiere of “9 to 5 The Musical.”  Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 3 p.m. Sundays July 14 through August 6 at the Historic Iao Theater. “9 to 5” contains some adult material and may not be appropriate for children. Tickets range from $20 to $40. Call 242-6969 or visit online at www.mauionstage.com. Brett Wulfson photo

What a way to make a living

Nine years ago I began reading about Dolly Parton’s musical adaptation of “9 to 5” in “Variety.” The ongoing stories offered mixed reviews of its tryouts in Los Angeles, praising its stars Stephanie J. Block, Allison Janney and Megan Hilty, but suggesting the show was too long and not ...

Ali McKeon (left) and Nathaniel Hunt display incomparable athleticism in “Wet.” Ajja DeShayne photo

Grace, beauty and style

June has proven to be a cornucopia of the arts on Maui ranging from vanguard films, to Greek drama, Texas comedy, European cabaret and contemporary American dance. On Friday night I attended Adaptations Dance Theater’s “Bring It Home” at Seabury Hall’s exquisite ‘A‘ali‘ikuhonua ...

Nicole Yezzi falls into the arms of fellow Adaptations Dance Theater performers during a rehearsal for “Bring it Home,” which will be presented at the ‘A‘ali‘ikuhonua Creative Arts Center on the Seabury Hall campus in Makawao this weekend. Ajja DeShayne photo

Bringing them home

“I love thinking about beginnings,” said the co-founder of Adaptations Dance Theater, Hallie Hunt, when asked how ADT began in 2012. “If I fall back in memory to the first moments that ADT began formation, I remember wanting to continue my professional dance career as a performing ...

John Williams (left, first and second photo) and Bill Hubbard bring small-town Texas to life as they portray 22 individual characters, or roughly 10-percent of the population of Tuna, the third smallest town in Texas using costume changes and different voices. Victoria McGee photo

‘Red, White and Tuna’ has Texas wit, charm

In “Red, White and Tuna” while playing Didi Snavely, the proprietor of Didi’s Used Weapons, John Williams offers these sage words — “If you can’t get shot in a small town in Texas you’re not trying very hard.” The comedy of “Red, White and Tuna” requires great character ...

William Makozak (top photo from left) as Jason and Jennifer Rose as Madea show that Euripides classic tale of the scorned woman is still fresh after 24 centuries. (Below), the full cast of Madea, wearing masks, takes the stage.
• Jack Grace photo

Classic Greek tragedy ‘Medea’ still relevant

In his director’s notes in the “Medea” program Vinnie Linares offers, “Euripides skillfully uses the myth of Medea to substantially challenge the notion of harmony and balance — wanting, I believe, to have his audience leave somewhat perplexed, questioning the strong notions of right ...

John Williams (left) and William Hubbard in the ProArts Playhouse production of “Red, White and Tuna.” Performances are 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays opening Friday through July 2 (no performance this Sunday) at the ProArts Playhouse in Kihei. Tickets are $26 and available by phone at 463-6550 or online at www.proartsmaui.com.
• William Hubbard photo

Texas roots not required

While in college, my drama professor and theater mentor, Donna J. Sparks, instructed me that I would learn more about theater by going to one play a week than I would ever learn in a text book. She also promised her students that if we brought in a ticket stub every Monday morning to prove that ...

Jennifer Rose is “Medea” in Euripedes classic Greek tragedy. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 3 p.m. Sundays beginning June 10 through 18 at the ‘A‘ali‘ikuhonua Creative Arts Center on the Seabury Hall campus in Makawao. Tickets are $20 at the door only. 
Brett Wulfson photo

Hot times and cool theaters

June will be busting out with classical, artistic activity at Seabury Hall’s ‘A‘ali‘ikuhonua Creative Arts Center in Makawao. Next Saturday Vinnie Linares’ Oh Boy Productions begins a four-show series of classic plays starting with the Greek tragedy “Medea” by Euripides. ...

BRETT WULFSON photo

Summer theater is hot

In past summers theatrical events have been sparse on Maui, prompting myself and previous Backstage columnists to write profiles on local performers when few, if any, shows were running. The 2016-17 season has seen more productions than ever before on Maui with no end in sight as eight local ...

The Maui Chamber Orchestra presents “West Side Story in Concert.” Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Historic Iao Theater in Wailuku. Tickets range from $27 to $55 and are available by calling 242-6969 or online at www.mauionstage.com. ALLY SHORE photo

A fresh take on ‘West Side Story’

Just after World War II, choreographer-director Jerome Robbins approached composer Leonard Bernstein and writer Arthur Laurents about collaborating on a contemporary musical based on “Romeo and Juliet.” Robbins suggested changing the classic love tragedy to focus upon an Irish-Catholic ...

Trevor Noah entertains Maui audiences with two shows in Castle Theater at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Kahului on May 25. Seats still remain for Noah’s 10 p.m. performance, but are sold out for his 8 p.m. show. Tickets range from $79.50 to $99.50 (plus applicable fees) and are available at the box office, by calling 242-7469 or online at www.mauiarts.org. Photo courtesy the artist

Trevor Noah

One of the biggest cliches in stand-up is “timing is everything,” a quote originally attributed to William Shakespeare. In the case of South African-born comedian Trevor Noah, a different type of timing has led to his immense success. Noah has hosted Comedy Central’s Emmy and Peabody ...

Ella Direnfeld (left) and Maia Taketa perform in last year’s Maui Academy for Performing Art’s “MOVES.” The 2017 Spring Extravaganza showcase returns Saturday and Sunday to the Castle Theater at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center in Kahului. Tickets range from $17 to $22 (plus applicable fees). To purchase tickets or for more information, visit the MACC box office, call 242-7469 or visit www.mauiarts.org. Peter Liu photo

Dance blooms this spring

Just as Seabury Hall hosts “Dance Showcase” annually, Maui Academy of Performing Arts showcases more than 400 dancers each May in the Castle Theater at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center in Kahului with its “Spring Extravaganza.” Three shows to be performed this weekend will star ...

Robert E. Wills (from left) Ricky Jones, Cameron Keys, David Tuttle, Rueben Carrion, Megan Caccamo and Neil Sullivan bring the drama of Aaron Sorkin’s “A Few Good Men” to Maui. Jack Grace photo

Marine Corps honor and military mentality on trial

Although rarely as well attended as musicals, when done right, a great drama is considerably more intimate, affective and touchable. Director Rick Scheideman’s minimalist staging of “A Few Good Men” leaves little option other than investing in the dramatic work of this strong local ...

Reuben Carrion (from left), Ricky Jones and David Tuttle put military mentality and the Marine code of honor on trial at the Maui premiere of Aaron Sorkin’s “A Few Good Men.” Performances are 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 3 p.m. Sundays, April 28 through May 14 at the Historic Iao Theater in Wailuku. Tickets range from $20 to $40. Call 242-6969 or order online at www.mauionstage.com. Brett Wulfson photo

You think you can handle the truth?

Back stories are, in many cases, just as riveting as the final product. Once upon a time there was a young man from Scarsdale, N.Y., who loved theater. His sister Deborah, upon graduating from law school, signed up for a three-year stint with the U.S. Navy JAG corps. Her younger brother was an ...

The Seabury Hall Dance Ensemble dazzles in “Spanish Nights” as part of the Seabury Hall Performing Arts’ Dance Showcase 2017 in the ‘A’ali’ikuhonua Creative Arts Center on the school campus in Makawao at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. The seats are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and $5 for students. For tickets, visit www.seaburyhall.org. Jack Grace photo

Performance-filled weekend

Now in its 28th year, Seabury Hall Performing Arts’ Dance Showcase is a culmination of a year’s worth of first-rate dance training. The popular event annually features all levels of the program in a recital of jazz, modern, ballet, world and contemporary dance. For 2017, director of dance, ...

Jim Oxborrow and Marsi Smith appear in ProArts Inc.’s production of “Dial M for Murder.” Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays beginning Friday through April 30 (no performance on Sunday) at ProArts Playhouse in Kihei. Tickets are $26 and available by phone at 463-6550 or online at proartsmaui.com.
* Richard Vetterli photo

‘Dial M for Murder’

Mysteries, thrillers and horrors are heavily produced in film and all are equally popular when it comes to best-selling nonfiction. Yet suspenseful dramas are a rarity on stage. Two of the most successful plays of this genre were written by the same man, “Wait Until Dark” and “Dial M for ...

Glinda the Goodwitch (Danyelle Contreras) and Dorothy (Erin Tsue) discuss how to get back to Kansas as Baldwin High School Performing Arts Learning Center and Baldwin Theatre Guild present “The Wizard of Oz.” Performances are at 7 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays beginning tonight through April 16 in the auditorium at the Baldwin High School campus. There will be no performance on April 8; there will be an additional 2 p.m. performance on April 15. Tickets are $12 for adults; $10 for seniors; $7 for students 12 to 17; and $5 for children 11 and younger, and are available at the box office 45 minutes before showtime.
• Ray-Anne Dela Cruz photo

Off to see the Wizard

There are three written works that are the most adapted in entertainment history. First is the Bible, second are the plays of William Shakespeare and third is L. Frank Baum’s tales of Oz. A mere two years after “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” debuted, a musical stage version appeared on ...