Backstage

March roars along with a variety of stage favorites

Irreverent satire appears to be the theme at the Historic Iao Theater in Wailuku this month with two send-up productions on traditional tales. In the current Maui OnStage Youth Theater production of “Robin Hood and His Merry Men,” cheeky performances by a cast of 29 youths embrace ...

‘Black Comedy’ explodes with color while ‘Willy Wonka’ goes for gold

There is no theater on Maui that pushes the artistic envelope more so than ProArts Playhouse in Kihei, and its current dual one-acts “Black Comedy” and “ ‘dentity Crisis” is the most intrepid offering to date. The second-act play “ ‘dentity Crisis” by Christopher Durang, will ...

The very model of a modern musical

STAGE REVIEW From the moment the first notes float out of the orchestra pit, it’s abundantly clear Maui OnStage’s production of “The Pirates of Penzance” is not your run-of-the-mill operatic experience. Directed by Michael Pulliam, this revision of Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic ...

Ahoy mateys and landlubbers alike

A band of raucous pirates. A pair of star-crossed lovers. And an audacious pirate king. If that sounds enticing, then Maui OnStage’s all-new revision of “The Pirates of Penzance” will have you at “ahoy.” “The Pirates of Penzance” had swashbuckling down to an art long before ...

Winsome, witty winter-themed comedy

STAGE REVIEW I can’t offer enough praise for Seabury Hall Performing Arts’ current production, “Almost, Maine.” This winsome and witty winter-themed romantic comedy is brilliantly written by John Cariani and well-executed by its local teen cast. Set in the non-existent community of ...

Double your fun with two one-act comedies

As we move into the annual spring downpour of local theater, an early theme has emerged — unconventional highbrow comedy, to be immediately followed by a trio of more familiar youth shows in March. Next weekend ProArts opens a double-dose of one-act comedies, “Black Comedy” and “ ...

Raw storytelling latest Seabury theater work

What is a story? If someone tells a story at a party, there is frequently no framework — not always a clear beginning, middle, conflict, resolution and epilogue. The storyteller might tangentially add in how wonderful the food was, what you should order and where to park. That party story is ...

Titillating trifecta of talent takes aim at isle

While local theater and dance take a break as Valentine’s Day approaches, standup comedy takes center stage with three shows for Maui audiences to choose starting next week. If you’re planning a night on the town for Valentine’s weekend, advance reservations are essential. I spoke with ...

Charming huckster and … virtuosic vaudevillian

Frequently billed as “Certified Lunatic and Master of the Impossible,” performing artist Tomas Kubinek describes himself as “fool, clown, visual poet, solo performance artist, multi-talented vaudevillian, comic genius and charming huckster.” His performances are “a one-man show of ...

Flower power reigns in ’70s-inspired ‘Groovy!’ at King Kekaulike

King Kekaulike Drama’s current production of “Groovy!” conjured flashbacks for this child of the 1970s of many personal childhood favorite shows like “The Brady Bunch,” “The Partridge Family,” “The Monkees” and “Free To Be.” “Groovy” certainly mirrors the 1969 ...

Incisive, penetrating

As coordinator of the Maui Fringe Theater Festival for the past nine years, the most common question I receive is, “What is a fringe festival?” The easy answer is that it is the same thing as a film festival but with plays, but that doesn’t accurately explain what fringe is. The best ...

Wild night at ProArts Playhouse

From the top of “It’s Only A Play,” audiences realize that a wild night is in store for them at the ProArts Playhouse. At a Broadway opening night party, the loveable and extraordinarily green, Gus P. Head (Elisha Cullins) has been hired to collect coats. This young, wannabe actor is ...

Get ready for a wild comedy ride

Like “42nd Street” and “A Chorus Line,” Terrance McNally’s “It’s Only A Play” is a behind-the-curtain look at what it takes to put on a Broadway production. Unlike those dramatic musicals, “It’s Only A Play,” which opens at the ProArts Playhouse this weekend, is a wild ...

Master of satire

When I last spoke with David Sedaris, the celebrated humorist and author ended up interviewing me, asking why I became a writer, and what my “process” was. “It’s a test of perseverance,” he advised me. “No one has their hand out for you when you get out of school. The reality of ...

2018 Top 10 Showstoppers

One of my favorite Backstage columns to write is the annual top 10 list of performing arts showstoppers at year’s end. These stage moments are my personal favorites, yet abundant audience enthusiasm is the actual deciding factor in what warrants a look back as we say aloha to 2018. 10. Loose ...

End the year with laughter

There are a few backstage columns that have become a tradition for me, and having my annual chat with Bill Maher always reminds me I’m running out of time to prepare for the holidays. After seven years of New Year’s shows, I realized I have never asked Maher if he had any resolutions. ...

Naughty & Nice

In September, when Kristi Scott, ProArts managing director, announced its 2018-19 season from the ProArts Playhouse stage, she added: “Take your kids to see ‘Elf’ for the holidays, but leave them at home for ‘Naughty Noel.’ ” Scott describes the two-weekend event, which opens at ...

Student performers present must-see holiday favorites

A wealth of holiday performing arts offerings are happening all over the island in the coming weeks. Maui audiences are in for a particularly sweet treat this weekend when the Maui Academy of Performing Arts revives its biennial production of “Nutcracker Sweets” in Castle Theater at the ...

Holiday youth theater

Perhaps the most famous high school in America, Fiorello LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts located near Lincoln Center in Manhattan is simply referred to by its equally famous alumni as “PA.” Those illustrious alumni include Jennifer Aniston, Richard Benjamin, ...

Refreshed ‘Elf the Musical’ charms

I said in 2015 that “Elf the Musical” should never be mounted again on Maui without Ricky Jones as Buddy the Elf. Thankfully Jones has returned and, in fact, surpasses his previous performances. This elaborate production, with an all-new, clean-lined, metropolitan set by Caro Walker, ...