"Shout!: The Mod Musical will be upbeat, but certainly not mindless. The entire British '60s scene was about being carefree and forgetting about the hardships of post-WWII London. However there is something from that mod era that I'm willing to bet very few of you know. Super bubblegum pop queen Dusty Springfield may have changed the world. Okay, I'm exaggerating a bit, but I've got your attention.
Fifty years ago, Springfield had a huge following in South Africa, but she insisted that if she toured there, it must be for a non-segregated audience. The story goes that she peeked out at the audience before the concert, and if there were no black faces, then there would be no show. There weren't, and Springfield put the concert on standby until that changed. It was the first interracial entertainment event in South Africa's history, and a teen queen pop idol made that happen.
Springfield was later arrested and deported. "Shout!" is about five young women, not unlike TV's Mary Richards, who set out to make their lives less ordinary and change the world. Set amongst the backdrop of London during the swinging '60s, each modern-thinking woman shares her journey through the music of Springfield, Lulu, Petula Clark, Nancy Sinatra, the Seekers, Shirley Bassey and many more familiar chart-topping pop stars.
Jonna Ahn (from left), Lina Aiko Krueger, Alison Mikes, Danielle Delaunay and Felicia Chernicki of Maui OnStage will get groovy and channel the swinging ’60s in “Shout! The Mod Musical,” opening Friday at the Historic Iao Theater. The show will run through March 17.
JACK GRACE photo
Its instant popularity when it opened in London in 2000 lead to a lengthy New York run in 2006, as well several international tours. The production is essentially a revue with some dialogue and the no-name characters (listed simply as Red Girl, Blue Girl, etc.) seek the advice of columnists who pen for the London 'zine, Shout!.
I used to think that Mary Tyler Moore's character, Mary Richards, would be the coolest mom ever. As I got older, I realized that all of the '60s and '70s young mothers were in the same boat - I just didn't get to watch them on TV. It's a bit passe in the 21st century to think that there is anything extraordinary about a woman who can "turn the world on with her smile" and will inevitably "make it after all." It's probably campy to tell "Georgy Girl" to "bring out all the love you hide and, oh what a change there would be." Those ideas are slightly laughable now, but I can easily remember those days when my mom was a little too "mod" for the moms that voted for Nixon. "Shout!" is reminiscent of many modern young women of the era with a dash of "That Girl" too.
In time, Marlo Thomas decided "That Girl" sent the wrong message to women. Richards got fired, Springfield moved to Memphis and recorded a blues album, and "Georgy Girl" married a much older rich guy that she didn't love. The focus of "Shout!" is on the youthful hopefulness of the early '60s, unfettered by things to come, framed in colorful fashions (think Twiggy) and pop music.
In Minneapolis, there is a bronze statue of Richards tossing her famous beret in the air. At the unveiling, Moore was asked what that image represents. She said, "an indomitable sprit. She believes, as everyone can, in possibilities. She does not take no for an answer." In the summer of 2012, "Shout!" premiered in Cape Town, South Africa, featuring an interracial cast performing for a packed interracial audience.
* Making its Maui premier, Maui OnStage presents "Shout!: The Mod Musical," Friday through March 17. Show will begin at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays at the Historic Iao Theater. The show is co-created by Phillip George and David Lowenstein, directed by Kalani Whitford and starring Jonna Ahn, Felicia Chernicki, Alison Mikes, Lina Aiko Krueger and Danielle Delaunay. Reserved seating tickets range from $17 to $28 and dinner packages are available with the Old Wailuku Grill. For tickets or more information, call 242-6969 or purchase online at www.mauionstage.com.
Seabury Hall shows are incredibly difficult to provide commentary on, and here's why. Starting with the costumes of "Hello, Dolly!", Andre Morissette and Vanessa Cerrito have outdone themselves. What you will see is the type of quality one would expect from an award-winning Mainland regional theater company.
Then there are the sets - the lighting and all things technical are regularly designed by Todd Van Amburgh. His work, particularly on "Dolly," is equal to a professional Maui Arts & Cultural Center production. The musical direction and band, lead by Stephen Haines is equal to, if not superior to Maui Academy of Performing Arts, Maui OnStage and ProArts. Then there's director/choreographer David Ward, who has put all these pieces in place and maneuvers the multifaceted three-hour musical masterfully.
The problem is the contrast of beginning actors consumed by all that skilled excellence.
Mikela Wesson as Dolly Levi finds what Dolly should be in the second act with "So Long Dearie," which worked quite well. Another musical number that works nicely was "Elegance" with Jeremy Morton, Carter Umetsu, Elle Bega and Sabrina Futch. Bega as Mrs. Malloy and Futch as Minnie Fay are the highlight of the production. Both appear more secure in playing adults and have many charming moments throughout the show. Two chorus members of noteworthiness were Olivia Olivet and Aaron Candelaria. Both struck me as college quality, with their consistent clean and crisp movement. In particular, Candelaria has panache, that if properly developed, could lead to a possible professional chorus career. Development is the key word at Seabury, and it's possible that there is nowhere else in the state of Hawaii that possesses the luxuries to develop young talent more so than at this school.
* "Hello, Dolly!" continues through March 4 at Seabury Hall's A'ali'ikuhonua Creative Arts Center. Performances begin at 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays. Show features music and lyrics by Jerry Herman, book by Michael Stewart, and directed by David Ward. Tickets are $15 for adults, $13 seniors, and $8 students. For reservations or more information, call 573-1257or buy online at www.seaburyhall.org.
Also this weekend
Deaf, blind and mute 12-year-old Helen Keller was a wild animal. Scared out of her wits, but still murderously strong, she clawed and struggled against all who tried to help her. Annie Sullivan, half-blind herself, but blessed with fanatical dedication, began a titanic struggle to release the young girl from the prison of eternal darkness and silence.
The Baldwin High School Performing Arts Learning Center and Thespian Troupe will present Keller's story in "The Miracle Worker," by William Gibson and directed by Linda Carnevale.
* Performances are Friday through March 10, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 5 p.m. Sundays in the Loudon Mini-Theatre, at the back of the Baldwin High School campus. Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 students 17 and younger, available at the box office 45 minutes prior to show time.
There will also be the Gala Night dessert and silent auction fundraiser on March 9 at Loudon Mini-Theatre's Starlight Cafe. Gala ticket prices are $18 for adults, $16 students ages 11 to 17, and $10 children 10 and younger, which includes a ticket to the show, early seating, pre-show entertainment, desserts and beverages. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for ticket holders to this special event. Proceeds from the silent auction will go towards scholarships for the theatre seniors. For reservations for the gala only, call 984-5656, ext. 315.
The King Kekaulike beginning acting class presents "Up the Down Staircase" by Christopher Sergel, based on the book the book by Bel Kaufman, and directed by Chris Kepler.
"Hi, Teach!" are the first words to greet new teacher Sylvia Barrett. Students pour into the classroom testing and challenging her. There's a blizzard of paperwork, contradictory orders, and indecipherable instructions. Frantic, Sylvia begins to fear she's not cut out for the job.
An experienced teacher assists: "Keep on file in numerical order" means throw in wastebasket. "Let it be a challenge" means you're stuck with it. "Interpersonal relationships" means a fight between kids and "It has come to my attention" means you're in trouble. Soon Sylvia finds herself involved in the heartbreaking problems of her students.
* Performances are Friday through March 10, beginning t 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays in the King Kekaulike High School cafetorium. Tickets are $6 for adults, $4 students, available at the door a half hour before the show. There will be no performance on Saturday, March 2.