Congratulations to MAPA and Maui OnStage for their recent immensely popular summer musicals. This past weekend marked the end of the 2011-12 theater season, and what a jam-packed year of quality shows it was!
I thoroughly enjoyed my "Once Upon a Dream" experience last weekend at the MAPA children's production of "Sleeping Beauty." Equally entertaining as the beyond cute performances of the 7-to-12-year-old actors, was watching the faces of the three-and-four-year-olds in the audience.
Co-directors, Kathleen Schulz and Ricky Pavao Jones did an outstanding job of getting the most out of their very young cast of 31. Several stand-out performances included Ashley Pokorski's Princess Aurora, Gabriel Elfman-Hansons's Prince Phillip and Mia Daly's Maleficent. The three lead fairies played by Natalie Harris, Barryne Rosario and Eve Tade were impressive as well.
The Three Fairies, Fauna (Barryne Rosario), Flora (Eve Tade) and Merryweather (Natalie Harris), from left, devise a plan to hide Princess Aurora (Ashley Pokorski, 2nd from right) in the forest in MAPA’s production of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, which ended last week.
DAVID HESSEMER photo
Ultimately what made this little show for kids by kids work so well was a shared responsibility by all. These young actors shined by singing and dancing as an assembly with a limited amount of solo responsibilities. Be it the very familiar "Once Upon a Dream," "Maleficent!" or "A Little Magic Now," all "Sleeping Beauty's" group musical production numbers, under Kirsten Otterson's direction, sounded rich and accomplished. As was Schulz's simple and playful choreography, cleanly and consistently performed by the young cast. The junior version of the classic Disney adaptation was only 50 minutes, which made it absolutely perfect for the very little ones in the audience. The entire MAPA team should be commended for presenting pre-teen theater at its highest level.
As we embark on the upcoming 2012-13 season, I'd like to wish a fond aloha to several departing Maui thespians. Maui's Scrooge, Actor/director Mark Collmer returns to his home state of Pennsylvania, and dancer Hana Valle will be furthering her dance education in Pittsburgh. Mark Bolden, "Shoeless" Joe Hardy from last season's "Damn Yankees," is fittingly headed to the Washington D.C. area. The immensely talented Jackie Shea is also headed to the Mainland, where she will continue to pursue an acting career in Los Angeles. As for the rest of us, a new theater season is just around the corner, which means there are plenty of opportunities for classes and auditions. The Maui Academy of Performing Arts and Maui OnStage are first up this year with two productions that share a definite nod to Britain this Fall.
Maui OnStage will present London's longest running comedy "Run For Your Wife," by Ray Cooney, the farcical tale of cab driver John Smith. Smith has two wives, two lives and a very precise schedule for juggling them both.
Trouble brews when he is mugged and ends up in hospital, where both of his addresses surface, causing the police to investigate. Having upset his schedule, Smith becomes hopelessly entangled in his attempts to explain himself to his wives and two suspicious police officers. Auditions have already passed for this comedy, to be directed by Dale Button, but you never know if a role or two still hasn't been filled.
In addition, volunteer crew positions are available. Interested parties can call Maui OnStage at 244-8680. "Run For Your Wife," performances will be Fridays through Sundays, October 5 through 14. Additional details can be found on the mauionstage.com website.
If you're looking for something a little more dramatic, MAPA will be holding open auditions for Shakespeare's tragedy "Macbeth," from 6 to 8 p.m. tonight and from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at the MAPA studios in Wailuku. Just make sure not to mention the title of the play inside a theater, which is traditionally bad luck. Just call it "the Scottish play."
MAPA Executive and Artistic Director David C. Johnston will direct. Rehearsals will begin in late August and Shakespeare's spookiest play will open just in time for Halloween. The show will be performed at the Steppingstone Playhouse Fridays through Sundays, October 26 through November 11. Sorry kids, this one is for performers age 18 and up only. Actors should prepare a short Shakespearian monologue or sonnet two minutes or less. It is preferred that actors schedule a ten minute audition slot by contacting MAPA Production Coordinator Tina Kailiponi at 244-8760.
MAPA will also be holding auditions for "Nutcracker Sweets" on Saturday, September 8. This is an abbreviated version of the classic Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky ballet, "the Nutcracker." The auditions will be broken down by the following age groups: 4 to 5 years old from 1:15 to 1:45 p.m.; 6 to 7 years old from 1:45 to 2:30 p.m.; 8 to 9 years old from 2:30 to 3:15 p.m.; 10 to 12 years old from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.; and 13 to adult from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., in addition to adult dancers from 5:30 to 6 p.m.
It is advised to show up at least 15 minutes early to register, but appointments are not necessary. If you've never been to a dance audition before make sure to wear comfortable clothing and bring a towel and water.
There is a $95 per dancer fee to participate in this production. Rehearsal will happen every Saturday from September 22 to December 1, with a final dress rehearsal on Friday December 7. The performance will be in the Castle Theater at the MACC on Saturday December 8 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Children and adults alike are welcome to audition for MOS's "The Wizard of Oz." The official date has not been announced yet, but it will happen the first week of October.
This particular "Oz" production features the classic music and lyrics by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg, adapted by John Kane for the Royal Shakespeare Company and based on the 1939 MGM film. This version, first presented in London in 1988, was adapted to follow the famous motion picture even more closely than any other previous adaptations. The Maui OnStage production will also feature state-of-the-art special effects. Rehearsals for "Oz" begin in mid October with performances Fridays through Sundays, November 23 though December 9.
Volunteer positions are almost always available with every Maui theater company, including the high school productions. If you've ever had any interest in set building or working on the technical side of live theater, you'll find a welcoming ohana regardless of which theater you may contact. Volunteer ushers are always needed as well, which is a great way to see the shows at no charge. Best of luck, or break a leg to Baldwin, Seabury, King Kekaulike, Kamehameha, ProArts, Maui OnStage, MAPA and the MACC on a successful 2012-13 season.
The 36th Annual "Shower of Stars" and Hawaii's oldest ongoing amateur talent show happens at the Historic Iao Theater at 6:30 p.m. Saturday. The annual talent show will feature 14 different local performance groups and individual performers competing for a cash prize of $2,000 in two separate age categories. The event is always a sell out, so purchase your tickets as soon as possible by calling 242-0073.
Maui OnStage's ONO! returns at 6:30 p.m. August 13 with "The Owl and the Pussycat" by Bill Manhoff. Not to be confused with the children's story, "The Owl and the Pussycat" is the tale of book worm Felix Sherman who is awakened in the middle of the night by neighbor, Doris Waverly, whom he has had removed from the building for operating the oldest profession. This edgy romantic comedy is intended for mature audiences. Starring Charles Cook and Genie Calagna. The free theater series happens every second Monday of every month. For more information visit mauionstage.com.