If you adore musical theater, love the shows of Rodgers & Hammerstein, miss the Golden Age of Broadway musicals and want to see a splendid cast of local talent — mostly troupers who performed these songs under the tutelage of the late Ron Bright — head over to Paliku Theatre at Windward Community College tonight (Sept. 30) and tomorrow afternoon (Oct. 1).

The attraction is “An Evening of Rodgers and Hammerstein Classics, the first tunefest produced by the I’m A Bright Kid (IABK) foundation since the pandemic shut down Broadway fare and limiting the IABK focus to summertime kid-centric shows.

This one’s a wow. Wow, wow, wow!

This latest concoction collates titles from R&H’s Big Five shows, “The King and I,” “Carousel,” “South Pacific,” “The Sound of Music,” and “Oklahoma!”

The opening first notes and lyrics from “It’s a Grand Night for Singing” featuring the solo voice of the incomparable Michael Bright, provides a chicken skin moment and underlying theme of the production: It was a grand night for listening and reminiscing and applauding.

Directed by Ligaya Stice, IABK executive director, the evening was a concise, luminous, rapturous, and gratifying tapestry from the R&H songbook, filled with familiar melodies staged simply but effectively, minus the usual costumes and storytelling, but periodically embracing choreography and demonstrating a Mr. B trait: family virtues and participation.

The performers include many Brights, including the aforementioned Michael, Mr. B’s younger son and his wife Jade Bright, and a cluster of grandchildren, Caitlin Bright, Colton Bright, Drew Bright, plus another musical Bright, elder son Clarke Bright, in a rare role – drummer in the band of four.

Jade Stice, resident diva of IABK, works her magic.


  • Jade Stice is the undeniable IABK resident diva, who owns whatever she sings. Her best moment is her “Bali Hai” solo, making the mythic island real. She also is radiant  on “Something Wonderful,” and works her magic amid kids on “My Favorite Things.”
  •  Michael Bright is a proven soloist, time after time, and “Younger Than Springtime” validates his vigor;  with wife Jade Bright, “I Have Dreamed” is a sweet anthem of hope, while “People Will Say We’re in Love,” rings true as bona fide romantics.
  • Buz Tennent, rarely seen or heard lately, has an operatic baritone voice, capable of reaching those low, low notes, and he uses it well, notably on the classic “Some Enchanted Evening,” which might be deemed his nighttime hit here, and “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning,” which showcases his eloquence with a sunny stroke.
  • Mary Hicks is entrusted with the inspirational fare, and she makes her soprano glow  on “Climb Ev’ry Mountain,” and is one of the forces on “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” joined by Caitlin Bright, Jade Bright, Caris Leong, Jodi Leong, Jade Stice, and Azaliah Kekuna.
  • Bryce-William Irvine contributes a rhapsodic “If I Loved You,” demonstrating leading man potential and confidence.
  • The teen pendulum swings  engagingly, with Drew Bright and Azaliah Kekuna swapping teen emotions.
  • Two group efforts are fun and charming. “There Is Nothing Like a Dame” is a playful romp, delivered by Colton Bright, Drew Bright, Kainalu Durkin, Bryce-William Irvine, Allan Lau, Damian Mendez, and Devon Nekoba.  The youthful singing ensemble combines rollicking dancing on “Do-Re-Mi,” featuring Caitlin Bright, Colton Bright, Drew Bright, Azaliah Kekuna, Mikaela Freitas, Bailey Fujita, Aniylah Henry, and Jake Sato.

The “Rodgers and Hammerstein” cast takes a final curtain bow.

The staging is spartan yet efficient, comprising a platform designed by DeAnne Kennedy, for musicians So Jin Kimura (piano), Lynell Bright (keyboard), John Kolivas (bass) and Clarke Bright (drums); two staircases boast platforms for singers/dancers.

A dozen background panels enable projection of images (designed by Anna Foster), providing archival images from Mr. B’s past shows.

Clarke Bright (music director)  and So Jin Kimura (vocal director) are multi-tasking musicians.

Lighting designer Janine Myers, sound designer Kings Kalohelani and hair and makeup designers Kevin Murata and Mia Yoshimoto provide stellar tech support…

And that’s Show Biz…


“An Evening of Rodgers and Hammerstein Classics”

A musical revue of Rodgers and Hammerstein evergreens, from “King & I,” “South Pacific,” “Oklahoma!,” “Carousel” and “Sound of Music,” reflecting the favorite titles of the late Ron Bright.

Where: Paliku Theatre, Windward Community College

When: 7:30 p.m. today (Sept. 30) and 4 p.m. Sunday (Oct. 1)

Tickets: Premium, $32; adult, $27; seniors 65+, students up to 13, military, $22’ children 6-12, $17; free, toddlers 2 to 5; babies under 2 not allowed; reservations at https://www.showtix4u.com/event-details/75827 …


Graveside services for Noah Parker will be held at 10:30 a.m. Nov. 3 at Diamond Head Memorial Park, according to his widow, Ellen Parker.

Noah, a colleague from the Honolulu Advertiser days, died last July 3 at age 80,  possibly from complications due to his Merkel cell carcinoma diagnosis.

He was a product of Kalihi, attending Kalihi Waena Elementary School, Kalakaua Intermediate School, and Farrington High School.

Curiously, newspapering was part of life, from his early years. Unbeknown to many, Noah was a newspaper seller at 8 years old; he would hawk the Honolulu Advertiser on street corners, until he was 12.

In his late teens, he solicited subscriptions for circulation district managers on the Neighbor Islands and eventually became a part-time district manager for several years, until he earned a full-time position.

I met him when I was a reporter-columnist at the Advertiser, when circulation headquarters were still at the News Building at Kapiolani Boulevard and South Street.

He was a cordial, chatty sort, easy to befriend, and it was no surprise he served as district manager for more than 30 years. He eventually was promoted to the role of home delivery circulation for 10 more years, before he retired.

Because he resided in Hawaii Kai, where I also own a home, we had numerous off-hour conversations about the news biz, even following both our retirements.

One bonus for me — with an insider buddy in circulation who knew district managers even after his retirement — I was able to regularly receive a preview of the early-run entertainment section (remember those?) on Saturdays preceding the Sunday inclusion of The Advertiser.

Noah Parker discusses The Advertiser with kids during a school visit.

Frequently, Noah would ask about a local entertainer mentioned in my Show Biz column, and cordially provided extra copies to share with the subjects in the column. There wasn’t a performer he didn’t know.

Susan Lam Sinclair, who met Noah in 1986, was an Advertiser morning dispatcher, working a 3 to 7:30 a.m. shift for the circulation department, at the time he was district manager for Hawaii Kai. After her father died in January 1990, “Noah became my ‘office father’ or godfather, as some people called him,” said Lam Sinclair.

He recruited her to volunteer in his community  projects (“I was Icee Bear one year in the Christmas parade”).

When she relocated to the mainland to enter a training program with the Veterans Administration, he encouraged her to pursue her career goals and advised her, “reach for the sky as high as you can go.”

The friendship continued for 36 years with her annual Hawaii visits, for a meal or two, not knowing that  their April 10 get-together would be their last.

“He was my sounding  board, lent an ear when I need someone to listen and always had a shoulder for me to cry on.  He was a very giving man who often fed the homeless. Noah has touched many lives far and wide.  He will be missed sorely by myself and many others.”

“He was more than just a husband and father,” said wife Ellen. “His generosity towards his family and numerous community endeavors was truly never ending.”

She said Noah always recited this quote, “service to humanity is the best work of life.”. For 25 years, Noah organized the Hawaii Kai Christmas Parade along Lunalilo Home Road, and also started up the Hawaii Kai Mountain Ball League and had a hand in the short-lived Hawaii Kai fireworks display at Maunaloa Bay.

Cha Thompson, longtime buddy of Noah, received regular phone calls from Noah, and they, too, established a keen friendship, with Cha joining Noah in organizing the Hawaii Kai fireworks show. She said of him, “If he were your friend, you could consider yourself a very lucky person. He would always be there if you needed a favor, but he never expected anything in return. He was everybody’s helper and was loved for it.”

She said they had lively discussions of things in the daily paper; “he would read the newspaper and have an opinion that you would either love or hate,” said Cha.

Noah was an orphan, born June 5, 1943, who ultimately met his birth mother when he was in his 20s. Perhaps his status of being parentless gave him the personality and outlook in his life as a teen and ultimately as an adult.

All his friends know he was a most resourceful soul with the zesty spirit to serve anyone anytime, particular in a moment of need; if you asked him “where is the best place to find such-and-such, he’d tell you he knows someone who has such-and-such, and would deliver the item a day or two later. That’s one of the traits I’ll never forget. …

Noah is survived by his wife of 60 years, daughter Denise Parker Hignight, son Dennis Parker and fiancee Tricia Ezawa, and Dappy Parker, constant companion and family dog. …

And that’s Show Biz. …


It’s a Rodgers & Hammerstein II weekend for the I’m A Bright Kid Foundation and Paliku Theatre at Windward Community College.

IABK is staging “An Evening of Rodgers and Hammerstein Classics,” at 7:30 p.m. Friday (Sept. 29) and Saturday (Sept. 30) with a 4 p.m. matinee Sunday (Oct. 1).

The program will showcase memorable melodies from the Big 5 of the R&H catalogue: “The King & I” (1951),“South Pacific” (1949) “Oklahoma” (1943),“Carousel” (1945) and “The Sound of Music” (1959).

The shows, and select titles from each, are some of the all-time favorites of the late Ron Bright, pictured left, the inspiration for the I’m A Bright Kid Foundation and its mission to perpetuate and preserve Mr. B’s legacy.

Clearly, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II “invented” the Broadway musical we’ve come to know and applaud. The duo’s fingerprints are evident, if you’ve been a fan over the decades.

This column is intended to shed some light and perhaps share some flashpoints in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s legacy. Note: some personal reflection appears here, along with data from Wikipedia.

Rodgers & Hammerstein, in a commemorative postage stamp.

The duo’s first stage musical, “Oklahoma!,” set the template for future shows to come; the show this year marked its incredible 80th anniversary. The songs were composed with specific needs, with every aspect of the play—from the lyrics to the choreography, from the staging to the costuming — integrating key theatrical elements to propel the storytelling. Prior “musicals” featured actors who could sing but not necessarily dance, featured on tunes placed and paced without the innovative storytelling element.

R&H’s legacy include these elements:

  • An overture, a sweeping panorama of the songs to come, prior to the show’s opening scene.
  • A dream sequence, not in every show but launched in “Oklahoma!,” which featured a ballet-type dance moment with integral links to the storyline.
  • Recordings of the entire score, providing a soundtrack for fans to listen at home. The first cast recording was for “Oklahoma!,” with  Decca Records issuing a keepsake that revolutionized the recording industry that provided a bundle of 78 rpm discs that sold for $5 back in the day, with “singles” (also on 78 rpm discs) retailing for 50 cents.

Some questions answered:

  • Did Rodgers & Hammerstein write shows for film?  (“State Fair”)  And television (“Cinderella”).
  • Has the duo won major awards? (Lots: 42 Tony Awards, 15 Academy Awards, two Pulitzer Prizes, two Grammy Awards and two Emmy Awards.)


“An Evening of Rodgers and Hammerstein Classics”

A musical revue of Rodgers and Hammerstein evergreens, from “King & I,” “South Pacific,” “Oklahoma!,” “Carousel” and “Sound of Music,” reflecting the favorite titles of the late Ron Bright.

Where: Paliku Theatre, Windward Community College

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday (Sept. 29) and Saturday (Sept. 30) and 4 p.m. Sunday (Oct. 1)

Tickets: Premium, $32; adult, $27; seniors 65+, students up to 13, military, $22’ children 6-12, $17; free, toddlers 2 to 5; babies under 2 not allowed; reservations at https://www.showtix4u.com/event-details/75827

Broadway grosses, week ending Sept. 24

With the closure of several shows over the past few weeks, the grosses on the Great White Way are somewhat static – oldies are goldies, with one exception – the arrival of “Merrily We Roll Along,” making its debut on the charts:

The week’s Top 10:

1 – “The Lion King,” $1.911 million.

2 –“Hamilton,” $1.744 million.’

3 – “Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” $1.530 million.

4 – “MJ, the Musical,” $1.379 million.

5 – “Wicked,” $1.321 million.

6 –“Merrily, We Roll Along,” $1.304 million.

7 – “Aladdin,” $1.166 million.

8 – “Moulin Rouge,” $1.093 million.

9 – “Back to the Future, the Musical,” $1.036 million.

10 – “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” $936,561.

Here’s the complete list, courtesy The Broadway Guild:

And that’s Show Biz. …


I purchase specialty papers quite often, because I like to create note cards that have a burst of color and originality.

So, I discovered a small stash of paper – I believe they were intended to be gift-wrapping paper – at both Foodland and at Ben Franklin.

The unique designs were the attraction, and a friend wanted to buy some notecards, so voila …
New paper, new note cards, as depicted here.

The bottom line: you never know when you’ll run into a roll of paper or gift-wrapping paper.

Or when inspiration will get you into the craft mood.


“Mamma Mia!,” with a story and plot fueled by the music of the Swedish band ABBA, is widely considered comfort food for theater fans. Critics rarely give the show a thumb’s up

I loved the Broadway version, which ran at the Winter Garden in New York for 12 years and transferred to the Broadhurst Theatre for two more years.

First, a disclosure: I like comfort food and I adore the nostalgia of “Mamma Mia” in the early 2000s, because it’s a jukebox musical that chugs with ABBA melodies, boasts family virtues, amplifies the disco beat, and treasures girl and boy bands.

“Mamma Mia!,” the first show of the 2023-24 season at Diamond Head Theatre’s new facility, seems to have a disconnect problem, at least at Saturday night’s (Sept. 24) production I saw. The generally faithful audience seemed distant, sitting on their hands in the early moments of the show, and even the cast appeared to be somewhat disengaged, lacking chemistry.

It was discomforting, disturbing, disappointing that something was off kilter – like the feeling you get when you drop a quarter in the jukebox and it struggles to deliver the songs.

So, Act 1, which contains key ABBA tunes, was a see-sawing struggle to get into the groove. By Act 2, the audience and the cast seemed to separately find their mojo, right down to the longish final curtain call. So, the vehicle started, albeit a bit tardy.

The production, directed by Michael Ng in his DHT debut, offers lots to like. He brings vigor in his effort to rekindle ABBA’s moods, music, and manners.

His two female leads, Teagan Staslawicz as Sophie Sheridan and Alison Aldcroft as Donna Sheridan, project strong and luminous voices, as daughter and mother, respectively, living on a Greek island on the eve of the nuptuals of Sophie, 20, who wants her unknown dad to give her away, something her single mom, who independently operates a taverna, doesn’t know about and wouldn’t approve Sophie’s motives.

Teagan Staskawicz as Sophie, center, flanked by best buds Olivia Manahan as Ali and Marie Chiyo Staples as Lisa, in “Mamma Mia!”

Sophie peeks into Donna’s diary and discovers one of mom’s three beaus previous lovers two decades ago might be her dad, so she shoots off invites to each, who simultaneously arrive but not bearing gifts like those famous wise men.

At previous performances I’ve seen, the spectators spontaneously bounce to the rhythms, even sing and clap along, but not so here. Awkward.

Weary from rehearsals? A backstage issue? An off night?

One can wonder, but the reality is, the cast – singers and dancers – soldiered on and had to earn the applause. Might’ve happened somewhere between Donna and the company’s ensemble embrace of “Money, Money, Money” or Donna’s and Sophie’s romp on the title song with the three gents (Jeff Andrews as Harry Bright, Kirk A. Lapilio Jr. as Bill Austin and Kalani Hicks as Sam Carmichael) .

A gentle reminder here:  “Mamma Mia!” has a built-in exclamation point, for positivity! Lest you forget, the show was created by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus, the ABBA composers (with material contributed by Stig Anderson), with book by Catherine Johnson.

Quibble all you want, but the songs rarely describe the precise moments nor suit the performers. But this compilation is a quilt work of 20-plus ABBA numbers, and they made the cut, wherever there was a need.

Here’s where director Ng has found his niche. He enlists Dwayne Sakaguchi, also a first timer choreographing a DHT production, and Sakaguchi brings sass, swagger and inventive moves to energize the cast, including one hilarious number with the gents flinging arms and hands, with legs kicking to and fro, dancing with scuba gear flippers on.

Such body language of the choreographics enlivens the audience, since the production numbers are plentiful, providing action and reaction to Jenny Shiroma’s lively musical direction.

Alson Aldcroft, center, in blue, as Donna Sheridan; Alison Maldanado, left, in green, as Rosie Mulligan; and Laura Brucia Hamm, right, in purple, as Tanya; in “Mamma Mia!

And finally, the DHT stage is filled with scenics, designed by Deanne Kennedy, that fill the space and the eye. The main sets are a pair of tavernas, resembling Mediterranean stucco edifices, augmented by occasional windows dropped from the fly space, to suggest bedroom activities, and a shimmering curtain. The latter effect enables lighting designer Dawn Oshima to add a stunning circular ball of lights to enhance the effects of a nightlife scene and add dangling lights beneath the stage proscenium. And can’t forget the iridescence of the rainbow hues for the entr’acte that kicks off Act 2

Aiko Schick’s hair and makeup design captures disco ‘dos, to complement Emily Lane’s ‘70s costume retro gear, with obvious fun and freedom to dress Donna and the Dynamo’s ABBA-inspired garb of dated scalloped sleeves and platform shoes – a girl band to the max.

Of course, the trio of beaus also have the opportunity to be ABBA-fied in those gawd awful gear from the past.

Kerri Yoneda’s sound design had some issues in Act 2, notably with Donna’s miking, too soft on volume. Surely, the fine-tuning has been completed by now.

The score is not exactly stuff you’d chirp with your paramour; you know ‘em all, don’t ya, complete with repetitious titles like “Honey, Honey,” “Money, Money, Money,” “Gimme, Gimme, Gimme,” and “I Do, I Do, I Do.”

One substantial, endearing and comical number is “Take a Chance on Me,” when Alison Maldanado as Rosie (one of Donna’s BFF) pursues the available Lapililo (Bill), trying to get him to commit (he does, by the finale). It’s a rare instance when the song fuels the action.

The wedding guest list includes Olivia Manayan (Ali) and Marie Chiyo Staples (Lisa), Sophie’s best friends, and their “Honey, Honey” effort was one of those hollow, distancing vocals, despite their physical girly hugs and cheer, at the Saturday performance.

Donna’s buds’ collaborative tunes, with the aforementioned Maldanado (Rosie) and Laura Bruci Hamm (Tanya), include “Chiquitita” and “Dancing Queen.” Logic is not the operative word in this one.

If you know the plot, you know that Sophie’s choice is to call off the wedding, but one is ultimately staged for a happily-ever-after “I Do, I Do” finish.

Cynics should stay home, but if you’re willing to take a chance (if you can secure tickets), you’ll likely sing, or clap, or tap along to the frivolity and fun. And finally admit you’ve been  closeted ABBA admirer for years. …

And that’s Show Biz. …

“Mamma Mia!”

A musical with music and lyrics by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus, with  contributions from Stig Anderson

Where: Diamond Head Theatre

When: 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays ; 3 p.m. Saturdays Oct. 1 and 7; 4 p.m. Sundays Oct. 1, 8 and 15; special performance at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 4 to benefit Maui wild fire victims. Note: most performances sold out

Tickets: $37 to $62, at www.diamondheadtheatre.com or (808) 733-0274