Maui’s summer theater camps deliver the goods

Fans of live productions still have a chance to see entertaining shows

Carver Glomb, Calilynn Salzer, Elias Tokuoka, Dakota Welch, Jena Mukai, Shandon Obregon, Preston Summit and Caitlynn Campbell in Maui Academy of Performing Arts’ production of “Disney’s Frozen JR.” Peter Swanzy photo

Stage Reviews

A busy weekend of summer camp youth theater productions provided something for audiences of all ages last week.

The lavish production of “Disney’s Frozen JR.” is a feast for the eyes featuring 61 youth performers, an impressive rotating set by Jamie Tait, superb costumes by Kathleen Schultz and marvelous makeup design by Assistant Director Logan Heller.

A large Saturday afternoon crowd included dozens of young children who enthusiastically responded to the popular and modern musical fairy tale.

The fast-moving one-act musical engages audiences early when Young Anna (Mikaela Petrilli) and Young Elsa (Khloe Martinez) sing “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?,” which segues into Middle Anna (Milan Welch) and Middle Elsa (Aliyah Cabebe) continuing the familiar tune.

The cast of “Disney’s My Son Pinocchio JR.,” Maui OnStage’s summer youth theater camp at the Historic Iao Theater. Jack Grace photo

The bond between sisters fractures when Elsa’s wintery magic injures her beloved sister, and their parents, King Agnar (Shandon Obregon) and Queen Iduna (Caitlyn Campbell) choose to isolate Elsa for her own well-being.

Three years later, after the death of their parents, Elsa (Jena Mukai) is crowned Queen of Arendelle. At the ceremony, Anna (Dakota Welch) meets Prince Hans (Carver Glomb) and explains she’s, “Not the heir, but the spare.”

The couple connect immediately and offer an impeccable duet with “Love is an Open Door.” Welch is remarkable in the role, offering all the humor, spunk and quality movement and vocals necessary to carry the well-known character. Glomb equally impresses with his vocals and dramatic character complexities.

After Elsa flees the kingdom and Anna seeks to bring her home, the production hits its comedic peak with the arrival of Kristoff (Preston Summit), his reindeer Sven (Calilynn Salzer) and Olaf the snowman (Elias Tokuoka). Welch, Summit, the beyond cute Salzer and the hysterical Tokuoka offer perfect stage chemistry and advanced comic timing.

With a cast so large it’s difficult to acknowledge every contribution, but the anticipated number, “Let It Go,” is not to be overlooked with excellent lead vocals by Mukai and the complementary well-executed choreography by the Snow Chorus (Campbell, Obregon, Riley Agpalo, Halia Ball, Analea Calder, Tabitha Kinney, Emily McCargar, Jaelynn Morton, Sophia Preiser, Gianina Salzer, Elizabeth Thomas and Makeda Wilmeth).

Chloe Chin (center in red suit) led 53 youths in Theatre Theatre Maui’s production of “Legally Blonde JR.” on the island’s westside. Ray Chin photo

Director Hoku Pavao Jones has offered Maui a “Frozen” that meets all expectations and states in her program note, “This is what theater is about. A place for all dreams and dreamers to share and be heard.”

* Maui Academy of Performing Arts concludes “Disney’s Frozen JR.,” original music and lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, book by Jennifer Lee, directed by Hoku Pavao Jones, assisted by David C. Johnston, choreographed by Kathleen Schulz and under the musical direction of Beth Fobbe-Wills. Performances are at 7 p.m. Friday; 4 and 7 p.m. Saturday; and 1 and 4 p.m. Sunday in the ‘A’ali’ikuhonua Creative Arts Center on the Seabury Hall campus in Makawao. Tickets range from $10 to $15 (plus applicable fees). To purchase tickets, visit www.mauiacademy.org.

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Maui OnStage’s smaller in scale “Disney’s My Son Pinocchio JR.” features 16 youths in an adorable production based on the classic Disney film. Many of the noticeably younger cast members portray numerous characters allowing for the mostly elementary school-aged children to be showcased in large featured roles.

Anuhea Hale, as Geppetto, leads the ensemble of Ethan Baysa, Trey Baysa, Kanoa Goring, Kapono Goring, Audrey Heinlein, Caitlyn O’Brien, Olivia Robinson, Lucia Romero, Kahealani Salter and Leilani Vares on the cheery “Toys.” The young Hale has a naturally gifted singing voice, most notable on “Empty Heart” and “Since I Gave My Heart Away.”

Lina Aiko Krueger (from left), Ellen Peterson and Marsi Smith continue the laughs in Maui OnStage’s “Mamma Mia!” Jack Grace photo

Equally memorable was the performance of her sister Poli’ahu Hale as Pinocchio. The familiar tune,“I’ve Got No Strings,” with Poli’ahu alongside marionettes Robinson and Romero is an early vocal highlight, as is Ethan Baysa’s comical performance as the nefarious Stromboli on “Bravo Stromboli.”

As Geppetto searches for the way-ward and mischievous Pinocchio, he is aided by Madison Cordeiro as the Blue Fairy along with her three fairy interns Sue, Viola and Rosa played respectively by Madison Klingen, Rachel Robinson and Shaylah Sanchez. This quartet of young singers delight with “When You Wish Upon a Star.” An additional crowd pleaser is “Satisfaction Guaranteed,” lead by the comical performances of the Goring brothers.

In her directorial debut, Brianna Kenar ably provides an uplifting experience for both the cast and audience alike, as well as an entertaining and brief theatrical adventure tailor-made for very young children to enjoy as their first live play.

* Maui OnStage Youth Theater concludes “Disney’s My Son Pinocchio JR.,” music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, book by David Stern, directed by Brianna Kenar, choreographed by Jessica Nelson and under the musical direction of Sara Jelley. Performances are at 11 a.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday at the Historic Iao Theater in Wailuku. Tickets are $10 for adults and $6 for children. To purchase tickets for any Iao Theater event, call 242-6969 or order online at www.mauionstage.com

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The 54 youths of Theatre Theatre Maui concluded their one-weekend run of “Legally Blonde JR.” on Sunday in what was their most rollicking, upbeat musical-comedy to date.

In the challenging lead role, Chloe Chin offered a commendable performance as Elle Woods, a role that placed her onstage and in the action for more than 90 percent of this high-octane production.

This abbreviated version opened with the infectious “Omigod You Guys,” well-performed by Chin and her Delta Nu sorority sisters (Madison Goldsmith, Riley Mather, Olive McCloud, Kira Newton, Hannah Pasco, Laney VanQuaethem, Jaylee Vierra and Megan Utrillo).

Another large-scale raucous number was “What You Want” featuring the entire company as Elle presents her case to enter Harvard University. Elle has followed her ex-boyfriend, Warner (Landon Long), to the prestigious law school in order to win him back from her new rival, Vivian (Rory Delaney).

Seeking solace at the Hair Affair salon, Elle finds an unlikely ally in the feisty beautician Paulette (Tessa Chin). The younger sister of Chloe, Tessa excels in both comic delivery and robust vocals specifically with her solo number “Ireland.”

A third triple-threat cast member is Ella Briggs as fitness queen Brooke Wyndham who is soon to face trial for murder. Briggs’ athleticism is a perfect fit for the role and its demanding showcase number, “Whipped Into Shape.”

Long, as Elle’s ex, and Noah Schwartzlow, as her new beau Emmett, offer prominent performances, as does Jacob Jerome in the role of Professor Callahan, Elle’s mentor.

The company of Westside youths delivered an incredibly fun summer show brimming with energy, and as Director Kristi Scott pointed out in her program notes, “The campers were given a chance to see who they wanted to emulate and what kind of character they want to be in real life. That is one of the great things about theater. We learn about ourselves and, through bringing characters to life, we learn the kind of person we want to be offstage.”

Also this week

Maui OnStage continues “Mamma Mia!,” music and lyrics by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus, book by Catherine Johnson, directed and choreographed by Kalani Whitford, under the musical direction of Kim Vetterli.

* Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays through Aug. 4 at the Historic Iao Theater. Tickets are $20 to $40. To purchase tickets for any Iao Theater event, call 242-6969 or order online at www.mauionstage.com.

Upcoming

Oh Boy Productions presents the Hawaii premiere of “Tortilla Curtain” by Matthew Spangler and Benjamin Evett, based on the novel by T.C. Boyle, directed by Vinnie Linares.

* Performances are 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 3 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday; and 3 p.m. Sunday, running Aug. 1 through 4 in the McCoy Studio Theater at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Kahului. Tickets are $30 for general admission and $20 for students (plus applicable fees). For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the box office, call 242-7469 or order online at www.mauiarts.org.

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Adaptations Dance Theater presents Bring It Home 2019, Aug. 2 to 4 at Seabury Hall’s ‘A’ali’ikuhonua Creative Arts Center in Makawao.

For its fourth annual residency and dance concert, ADT brings home guest artists Kelsey Greenway, Nathaniel Hunt, Ashley Krost, Madi McGain, Ali McKeon and Emily McKeon who join resident artists Alannah Andersen, Jessica Bartlett, Julia Cost, Amelia Couture, Cady Cox, Jen Cox, Lexi Hughes, Hallie Hunt, Katie Istvan, Yasmine Lindskog and Randi Lonzaga (ADT apprentice).

* Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $30 for adults and $15 for youths/ students (with valid ID). To purchase tickets or for more information, visit www.adaptationsdancetheater.com.