Last year was quite banner for performing arts on Maui. Armed with success, the Maui theater schedule is only growing in productions for 2014. All this is good news for the producers, but is Maui beginning to overbook itself? I will begin to face this dilemma in February. There will simply be too many shows running on the same weekends for me to be able to attend and review them all. The only fair option is to squeeze a paragraph or two in for all of them, but just as with restaurants and nightclub concerts, there is now too much stage entertainment on Maui to cover in one weekly column.
The other good news is: There is more opportunity for performers. The bad news is -attendance may be split as a result. In December, this didn't seem to affect houses. I was told more than 1,200 people attended "Burn'n Love" over three days, more than 2,000 people attended shows at the Historic Iao Theater over the holidays, "Spelling Bee" is a hit for ProArts, and several hundred each night attended Seabury Hall's Christmas show, "Kama'aina Christmas," along with "Willie Kalikimaka" and FirstLight. I chose a dozen performances to showcase, all of which are opening over the next few weeks (with many more to be listed in future columns).
If you missed last year's "Intergalactic Nemesis: Book ONE," don't fret, the graphic novel plays have a conflict and resolution, so you should be able to jump right into "Intergalactic Nemesis Book TWO: Robot Planet Rising" without any background information. Its creators
“Bad Boys of Dance”
Violetta Beretta in “One Hot Winter’s Night”
La Cage Aux Folles
present "A live-action graphic novel that's a mashup of a 1930s radio play and comic book." The artwork is projected panel-by-panel on a huge screen, while three actors voice all of the characters, one foley artist (a 2013 highlight of the show) creates hundreds of sound effects and a keyboardist performs the score. "Book TWO" is the story of a prize-winning reporter, her bumbling research assistant and a mysterious librarian who travel to Zygon to face robots from outer space.
* Catch "Intergalactic Nemesis Book TWO: Robot Planet Rising" at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 16 in Maui Arts & Cultural Center's Castle Theater. General admission tickets are $28 (plus applicable fees). Call 242-7469 or order online at www.mauiarts.org.
The team that brought you "One Hot Winter's Night" is back with another 1940s style burlesque revue that features live performances by Maui's top entertainers, such as the Kit Kat Club Cabaret, international burlesque sensation Violetta Beretta, Charles Cook, Bethany Garboski, Lia Krieg, Casey Murphy and many others, all accompanied by Iao Orchestra. "One Hot Winter's Night" is an adult- themed nostalgic burlesque and Vaudeville tribute and is not appropriate for children younger than 17.
* Performance is 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 17 at the Historic Iao Theater. Tickets are $17 to $28 for reserved VIP seats. For tickets to any Iao Theater event call 242-6969 or purchase online at mauionstage.com.
On Sunday, Jan. 19 "Broadway Pops" returns to Maui Arts & Cultural Center with Joan Hess and Kirby Ward who will bring their "Dancing and Romancing" program to the Maui Pops. This tribute to the 1930s era features the music of Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, Jerome Kern and George Gershwin, plus song and dance inspired by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Maui Pops will be in full swing and will also perform a few of its own Broadway favorites.
* "Broadway Pops" performance will be at 3 p.m. Jan. 19 in Castle Theater at the MACC. Tickets range from $15 to $50 with half-price tickets available for those 18 and younger (plus applicable fees). Call 242-7469; visit the box office or surf online at www.mauiarts.org.
The fourth annual Maui Fringe Theater Festival begins Jan. 31 and runs through Feb. 2 at the Historic Iao Theater in Wailuku. This year's weekend long marathon of performing arts will include Maui's "Adaptations Dance Theater," along with two world-premiere one-act plays: "War Stories" by Anthony Pignataro and "The Maple Street Militia" by Teresa Salyer. Additional guests include renowned San Francisco Kathak performing artist, Antara Bhardwaj, plus original comedic, dramatic and musical showcase performances.
* General admission tickets as well as festival passes go on sale later this month. For further details about Maui Fringe Theater Festival, visit www.mauionstage.com.
On Feb. 6, you may catch the "Bad Boys of Dance," whose mission is to push the boundaries of dance to deliver the most exciting dance shows in the world, featuring athletic jumps, endless turns and individuality.
* "Bad Boys" takes the stage at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 6 in Castle Theater. Tickets range from $12 to $42 (plus applicable fees).
Also that weekend is Kumu Kahua Theatre's production of "Flowers of Hawai'i," a new work of 10 humorous playets by author, journalist and Baldwin High alumnus Lee Cataluna.
* Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Feb. 7 and 8, in McCoy Studio Theater. General admission tickets are $28 (plus fees). Call 242-7469.
That same night, Kihei's ProArts Playhouse opens "The Play's the Thing," written by Ferenc Molnar and adapted by P.G. Wodehouse. Two playwrights have brought the script of their latest operetta to an Italian castle to present it to the show's star, the beautiful and spoiled Miss Ilona Szabo. They've also brought her fiance, Albert Adam, the composer, along for the weekend. A farcical romance ensues when compromising conversation is overheard requiring quick thinking to mend the situation, reunite the lovers and save the operetta.
* Performances are weekends, Feb. 7 though 23. Tickets are $22 with kamaaina discounts for Hawaii residents. Call 463-6550.
King Kekaulike High School does Shakespeare in February with "The Tempest." Set on a remote island, Prospero, a magician and rightful duke, plots to restore his daughter Miranda to her royal standing using illusion and manipulation.
* "The Tempest" is at 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays, Feb. 21 to March 2 in King Kekaulike campus cafetorium in Pukalani. Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for students at the door one half hour before shows.
Also on Feb. 21, Maui Academy of Performing Arts opens "Fiddler on the Roof," music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, book by Joseph Stein, and direction by David Johnston. The classic musical set in 1905 Tsarist Russia is based on "Tevye and his Daughters" and other tales by Sholem Aleichem. Performances are weekends through March 16 in Steppingstone Playhouse at Queen Ka'ahumanu Center.
* Tickets range from $18 to $24. For further details, visit wwwmauiacademy.org.
The following weekend, Seabury Hall will present "The Diviners," by Jim Leonard, directed by Sally Sefton. This poetic tale set in depression-era Indiana, involves a mentally-challenged boy whose sweet nature touches most people he meets. Performances are at 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, with a closing 3 p.m. Sunday matinee, Feb. 28 through March 9, in the A'ali'ikuhonua Creative Arts Center.
* Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, and $5 for students. For more details or for tickets, call 573-1257 or visit www.seaburyhall.org.
Baldwin High School presents its annual spring event with "High School Musical."
* Performances are Feb. 28 through March 9 in Baldwin High School Auditorium. Get tickets at the door one hour prior to showtime.
Last but not least, Maui OnStage opens "La Cage aux Folles." Music and lyrics are by Jerry Herman, book is by Harvey Fierstein and direction is by Alexis Dascoulias. Georges (Bob Wills) is the manager of a Saint-Tropez nightclub featuring drag entertainment, and Albin (Steven Dascoulias) is his romantic partner and the star attraction. Farcical adventures ensue when Georges's son, Jean-Michel (fathered during a one-night fling), brings home his fiance's ultra-conservative parents to meet them.
* Performances are weekends Feb. 28 through March 16 at the Historic Iao Theater.