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Elvis is back in the islands

January 20, 2014 - Leah Sherman

On New Year's Eve, I caught a three-song Elvis performance by Darren Lee of Maui Theatre's new show, “Burn'n Love.” I've never really had an opinion regarding Elvis (mainly because I was 1 year old when he died), but I was really impressed and vowed to go see the show.

Turns out that it didn't take me very long to act on that promise — making the trek to Lahaina on Jan. 14 to see what Lee announced toward the end of the performance to be “Burn'n Love's” 15th show.

The show features Lee as Elvis, singing about two dozen of The King's songs. And while the show features Elvis' hits like “Jailhouse Rock,” “Can't Help Falling in Love” (my favorite) and, of course, “Burning Love,” much time is spent on his island-themed songs, including “Blue Hawaii,” “Rock-A-Hula Baby” and “Queenie Wahine's Papaya/Girls!Girls!Girls! Medley.” A large screen on the stage keeps the audience entertained during costume changes for Lee and the crew with video of Elvis' multiple visits to the islands. (Images also are shown on the screen during the song performances and, I'm sorry, the virtual teddy bears during “Teddy Bear” are downright creepy.)

Honestly, I don't know how Lee does it. He sounds just like Elvis and strongly belts out the tunes for about 90 minutes. He must go home hoarse each night.

But, seriously, the show is awesome. Lee's a terrific singer/Elvis impersonator. He's also humorous and does a great job engaging the audience. And his outfits are fabulous. So bedazzling. The King would be proud.

In addition to a group of very energetic dancers, Lee is accompanied by a female vocalist and a four-man band (live band always a plus). All of the cast was truly outstanding, but one man stood out by playing keyboard, saxophone and another instrument that might be a steel guitar — while also singing back up. Bravo to that guy!

“Burn'n Love” performances are at 8 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at the Maui Theatre (home of “‘Ulalena”) in Lahaina. Tickets are available at four price levels — from silver to all-access-pass diamond — and begin at $59.99 for adults ($49.99 with Hawaii ID) and $29.99 for children. The prices are maybe a little high, but a portion of each purchased ticket does get donated to the Maui Food Bank. Validation is available for parking across the street at the Outlets of Maui. Nighttime parking is also available at the Old Lahaina Center (where the theater is located) for a flat rate of $5.

For more information or to purchase tickets, call (808) 856-7900 or see the “Burn'n Love” website (link at right).


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Darren Lee stars in "Burn'n Love" at the Maui Theatre four days per week. Photo courtesy of "Burn'n Love"


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