Robert Cazimero’s 2023 celebration of the spirit of Christmas – last night (Dec. 9) and this afternoon today (Dec. 20)  at Leeward Community College Theatre–  is the season’s best gift.

Loyalists know that Cazimero, the esteemed artistic director and resident star attraction, will deliver a stupendous production with solemn moments of peaceful joy along with giddy and engaging comedics to touch the soul and bring out the smiles.

So, if you gifted yourself with tickets, it’s money well spent to support Cazimero’s Halau Na Kamalei o Lililehua as well as the host theater, located in a zip code that demands freeway journeys for townies.

The performance, engineered by the singer-kumu hula’s brilliance, includes fresh concepts and content:

— A trio, dubbed Bob’s Boys by Cazimero, provided the music: Richard Heirakuji on bass, Kaipo Hale on ‘ukulele, and Keala Chock on guitar. The gents are seasoned musicians, and Hale is kumu’s best friend, so the support entwines friendship and fellowship as a bonus.

Kalenaku DeLima Parrish (pictured above, with Cazimero) is the lone guest-star singer, with roots with Kapena, where she was vocalist and keyboardist for the family act led by her dad, Kelly “Boy” DeLima. So, she is a veteran performer who brings freshness and form to a new environment.

—  Standby regulars in a Cazimero show include the Ladies of the Royal Dance Company, known for stylish grace, and the irrepressible lads of Na Kamalei, with a few taking alternating solo stints. And since the dancers are also formidable singers as well, there’s always substance and surprises from the ranks.

Cazimero is accustomed to theme his programs, so this one is no different; the first half is themed Green, the second half White, though the palettes are not restrictive.

The show began with “The Angel Medley,” with the entire cast mingling and chiming together in vocals, fronting a simple set of triangular motif “trees” as the solitary backdrop capable of changing hues.

Merriment prevailed with fun tunes like “Ring, Ring, Ring” and “Doodle Doodle Dee Doo” melding into “We Wish You the Merriest Hawaiian Christmas.” A garland of island holiday ditties followed, including “Mele Kalikimaka Ia Kakou,” “Christmas in Paradise” and “Mele Kalikimaka Ei Nei.”

The halau guys showed their versatility, singing “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” (in the Green sector) and also danced “Hawaiian Hospitality.”

Soloist Parrish offered warm vocals in both halves, “Do You Hear What I Hear” in the first act, “Merry Christmas Darling” in the second, and her presence outside of the Kapena circle introduces her to a broader audience.

Unexpected thrills unfolded after intermission:

— The halau bros provided a stunning and inventive moment of blissful talent, building on their acclaimed hula, when each dancer appeared on stage, carrying a chair or a stool, to render “I Love Christmas,” as a hand-clapping dance (pictured above). That is, they sang while clapping hands, doing a variety of motions, and uncorking hidden skills that can be credited to Cazimero’s imaginative choreography.

— There was another joyous moment, when Cazimero sang “Joy to the World,” with halau member Kaipo Dudoit (pictured below,) performing on violin, showcasing breadth and versatility – and triggering a special kind of emotional experience.

— Then there was the whimsy and wackiness, when Cazimero reflected on small-kid-time memories with family and brother Roland, on “My Friend Al,” which segued into “Me and My Dinosaur” (pictured below), engaging the pleasurable vocal and dancing  charms of the halua. And making a guest appearance: a dinosaur figure (identity not known) singing and prancing, like a larger-than-life toy in animation mode.

— And an emotional and spiritual wave, with Cazimero rendering “Go to the Light,” with the entire ensemble joining in, with halau dude Nick Lum also soloing.

Cazimero had several prime moments from his piano, but his artistry and perspective in creating a holiday package is his key talent, his overview tapping elements as diverse as his followers, from the young to the elderly. His “From Our House to Your House” tune reflected his notion of sharing and caring

Finally: this event included a rare “hana hou” by Cazimero, who appeared centerstage after the curtain fell (pictured above), sharing – again, in the spirit of the season – a special treat for the Leeward Theatre gang. He returned to his piano and put his vocal imprint on “The Christmas Song,” the Mel Torme evergreen composition, which clearly is the gift that keeps giving.

Merry Christmas. …

And that’s Show Biz…


Wayne Newton’s debut last night (Dec. 8) at Blue Note Hawaii was largely reflective and revealing, offering more chit-chat than crooning.

He’s headlining two more nights at the Outrigger Waikiki venue, at 6:30 p.m. today (Dec. 9) and tomorrow (Dec.10). The earlier announced 9 p.m. performances have been canceled.

Opening night was a near-sellout.

“Mr. Las Vegas,” as he’s widely known, remains a cordial trouper, but in this stage of his career, he appears to be more conversational than crooner. (Lest you forget, Newton also is known as the Midnight Idol).

He’s still got his chops, but the voice is not as potent and precise as his Vegas era.

Perhaps that’s why he’s utilizing vintage video (two screens, one on each side of the stage) that captures his enterprising early years, often singing along (in the darkened stage) with the filmed versions. It’s like he’s in his living room, showing clips of his accomplishments, with a retinue of dear friends.

The Honolulu audiences don’t seem to mind this format.

Opening with “Viva Las Vegas,” an anthem to Sin City,  Newton was backed by a pianist, a bassist, and a drummer, not the large orchestras he was accustomed to in his heyday as a kingpin of the strip.

He was a namedropper, too, with a purpose: so many show biz veterans have had his back over the decades, principally Jack Benny, who “discovered” him and booked Newton on his TV show, and Jackie Gleason, who saw that show, and gave him a break by enlisting his talent as his opening act.

One particular secret unveiled: he became buddies with Bobby Darin, who produced Newton’s albums for seven years, and the “Mack the Knife” singer “gave” Newton a tune that was supposed to be recorded by Darin, who wanted Newton to have a hit song: “Danke Schoen.”

Strangely, “Danke” was one of four of his biggest hits, but Newton performed it as a sing-along with a taped version, a formula he utilized with three other chartbusters: “Red Roses for a Blue Lady,” “Summer Wind,” and “Daddy, Don’t You Walk So Fast” with LP covers displayed on the video screens.

Of the titles he sang, “Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” and “Help Me Make It Through the Night” were no-fuss highlights.

His vignettes were often fascinating, like how he met Elvis Presley at the Paramount studios, while they were filming separate projects; how he befriended Rat Packers Frank Sinatra, who became a lifetime friend till his passing; his takes on Dean Martin (“he smokes a lot”) and Sammy Davis Jr. (“he comes up to here,” referencing his short height); and  Bob Hope (“he brings happiness to your soul,” for his well-documented tours to the war fronts, namely Vietnam).

Newton plays 13 instruments, a feat he demonstrated in his Vegas shows, but at Blue Note, he only displayed his prowess on guitar, violin and steel guitar. On the latter, he played “Lovely Hula Hands,” in homage to Hawaii.

He didn’t mention earlier island ties, however, that he married, but divorced Elaine Okamura, a Honolulan who was a flight attendant, and he played – well before his Vegas fame – at the Dunes supperclub and the Royal Hawaiian Hotel’s Monarch Room.

His final song, “My Way,” often attributed to Ol’ Blue Eyes since the lyrics, written by Paul Anka for Sinatra, reflected the highs and lows of life, which resonates as an anthem by many entertainers.

So: If you’ve been a Newton fan from the early years, you’ll find the stories he shares fascinating, and you’ll mark him as a survivor of the roller-coaster ride of a seasoned trouper….

And that’s Show Biz…

Wayne Newton

Where: Blue Note Hawaii, Outrigger Waikiki resort

When: 6:30 p.m. today (Dec. 9) and tomorrow (Dec. 10);  doors open at 5 p.m.

Tickets: $125 (premium seats) and $85 (loge and bar zone), at and (808) 777-4890.


 Robert Cazimero will be  in Santa Claus mode, minus the red suit and white beard, this holiday season, making the rounds at two venues.

He has two separate shows – a pair of major performances, with his hula halau involved, at Leeward Community College this weekend (Saturday night and Sunday afternoon – Dec. 9 and 10) – plus five more intimate performances, when he’s at the piano at Chef Chai Dec. 13 to 17.

“‘Tis the season,” Cazimero said, in an email from Tokyo. “I can’t believe the Christmas concert is almost here. I’ve been working on it since July.”

 He added, “I’m excited for it (the Leeward production) and nervous at the same time. What makes things solid for me is the fact that I am surrounded with great people. The crew at Leeward Community College, my cast of dancers, singers, and musicians, as well as good friends and family members never go unappreciated. It is my life, and I am loving it.”

The theater at the Leeward campus, has been a viable showcase for his singing from his keyboard and spacious enough for his singing/dancing Hālau Nā Kamalei o Līlīlehua.

“The concert will be full of wonderful things that most people would expect. Great singing, dancing, fun things, surprises, and opportunities to reflect on gratitude and wonder.” 

The key to the annual Kalikimaka spectacle – besides kumu hula Cazimero—is the versatile ensemble of male dancers who can sing beside dance and also play drums.

Another watchable element is the array of costumes –  ancient and contemporary Hawaiian as well as casual attire, dependent on the ‘olelo – and if you’re seated near the stage, a photo op for sure.

Because it’s the Christmas season, the concert will engage familiar carols.

Cazimero is keen on themes, so the first half is themed Green, the second half is White.

As for the Chef Chai shows, the format is casual and commonly unscripted. His gig here usually is one-nighter, themed Full Moon Concert, with two hula dancers. But because of demand, the booking was expanded to five nights.

It’s a dinner show, so plan to eat while watching.

“A Robert Cazimero Christmas”

What: A celebration of the holidays, featuring Hawaiian and holiday music and dance

When: At 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9 and 2 p.m. Dec. 10

Where: Leeward Community College Theatre

Tickets: $30 to $55, available at the Leeward box office at (808) 455-0385 or online

“Full Moon Christmas Concert”

What: a casual show with Robert Cazimero at the keyboard.

When: Dec. 13 through 17, with dinner from 5:30 p.m., show at 6:30 p.m.

Where: Chef Chai

Tickets: $99, includes a hearty meal, at or (808) 585-0011

Meanwhile, on Broadway, the ‘Lion’ roars

Looks like “The Lion King” will be king of the Broadway jungle, as it continues to occupy No. 1 on the weekly gross compilation, courtesy The Broadway League.

The top 10 grossing shows:

1—”The Lion King,” $2,399 million.
2—”Wicked,” $2,109 million.

3—“Hamilton,” $1,972 million.

4—”Merrily We Roll Along,” $1,833 million.”

5—“MJ The Musical,” $1,643 million.”

6—”Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,”

7—”Aladdin,” $1,499 million.

8—”Moulin Rouge! The Musical,” $1,402million. 

10—“Back To The Future: The Musical,” $1,191 million.

The complete run-down:

And that’s Show Biz…


It’s daring, it’s different, it’s delightful.

It’s Diamond Head Theatre’s revival of “My Fair Lady”!

It takes risks with its basic pristine set in stark white, like a mammoth canvas, where projections add color on smaller scenic drops from the fly loft.

It delivers a new wrinkle — the opening overture is a precious, unexpected  dance opportunity — which is an additive to showcase a terrific dance ensemble. And costumes floating in from the fly space? Too bad wearers couldn’t just slip into the descending gowns and suits.

It boasts a stellar cast of principal actors who inhabit the essence of the show’s familiar musical and comedic gems, but certainly fresh and formidable. This is not a rom-com, but admittedly, Henry Higgins might come off as a pushy bully and Eliza Doolittle a victim in his ploy to make her wrongs right. Just remember, this is show biz.

The Alan Jay Lerner and  Frederick Loewe favorite opened Friday (Dec. 1) and has an extended run through Dec. 30 . Yes, there are attitudes of verbal abuse, sexism perhaps, colonial, and societal prejudice in this vintage story, but you can’t rewrite the play, inspired by George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion,” so interpretation and presentation are the underlying challenge. Forget the now, and enjoy the wow of each scene.

I took in the Saturday (Dec. 2) performance and was happily charmed by the innovation of the stylish look and versatility of the set and the splendid casting of actors with depth.

Anna Young as Eliza, and Garrett Hols as Higgins, in the “Rain in Spain” scene. Photo by Brandon Miyagi.

Truly, I could have glanced all night.

So, director Bryce Chaddick retains the beloved story but alters the playing field; if you can’t rewrite it, neutralize the playground.

Dawn Oshima, set and lighting designer, created a basic three-panel wall in white, that features occasional projections, with a few lowering and raising of mini scene tricks including vertical panels that can be illuminated with hues and a basic “door” panel to serve as entrances and exits for some scenes. You won’t see the usual environments of Covent Garden, Wimpole Street, Ascot, Higgins’ home, and other key spots in the storytelling. You have to imagine it all and depend on those rectangular backdrops from start to end.

As Eliza Doolittle, Anna Young struggles a bit in the early scene as a flower girl with a Cockney accent amid the setting of the large white background panels. So, viewers have to bring imagination to see or feel her loverly thoughts, as Eliza sings “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly.” But when she full-blooms, under the tutelage of Professor Henry Higgins, hiccups hardly happen.  Her shining moment is when she delivers “I Could Have Danced All Night, her personal, triumphant declaration of independence. Just you wait, Young /Eliza is a powerhouse.

As Higgins, Garrett Hols is the master of the production, delivering a performance with vigor and voltage with polish and precision. His lines are mouthfuls, delivered with confidence and speed, and his tempo is terrific. His mission to convert the lowly flower girl is an opportunity to elevate her status by undoing her inability to speak, well, English. The pain, it’s plain, is actually in his gain. His moments of glory include “I’m an Ordinary Man,” which reveals his inner thoughts, and “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face,” which expresses his softer, romantic side. If he accomplishes his feat, he wants to strut Eliza in front of his mom, Mrs. Higgins, played by Betty Bolton, and get her seal of approval, as if she were a show dog. (FYI, David L. Young, spouse of Anna Young, is understudy of Higgins, and it would be fun to see the couple in action).

Betty Bolton is Mrs. Higgins, seated left, and Young as Eliza, seated center in the “Ascot Gavotte scene, which shows the stunning black, white and silver finery designed by Kimmerie H.O. Jones. Photo by Brandon Miyagi.

As Colonel Pickering, Eli K.M. Foster is the third wheel in this journey—a sidekick of Higgins curious about his notions and his insistence and kind of a leash to monitor the transformational goal.

As Eliza’s father Alfred P. Doolittle, Miles Phillips steals scenes, notably on the early “With a Little Bit of Luck” in Act 1, leading up to “Get Me to the Church on Time” in Act 2.

Eliza’s suitor, Freddy Eynsford-Hill, is portrayed by Andrew Erwin, whose solo song is “On the Street Where You Live.” While he looks the part, his voice was pitchy and tentative. He ought to avoid the guardrails on the street; he nearly toppled one at the show I saw.

And The “Loverly Quartet” – David L. Young, Alex Bishop, Alston Alika Albarado and Isaac Liu – provide a foundation of four-part harmonies that are a bit of a hallmark of the show.

The techies – Dawn Oshima, lighting; Kimmerie H.O. Jones, costumes; Aiko Schick, hair and make-up; and Kerri Yoneda, sound – do their magic. And Jenny Shiroma’s musical direction and Ahnya Chang’s choreography, work in tandem to produce elegant, exciting moments, especially when sweeping dancers swirl and twirl in elegant costumes, with alluring attitude that seems they could have pranced all night…

And that’s Show Biz…

‘My Fair Lady’

A musical by Alan Jay Lerner (book and lyrics) and Frederick Loewe (music), adapted from George Bernard Shaw’s play and Gabriel Pascal’s film, “Pygmalion.”

Where: Diamond Head Theatre

When: 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 3 p.m. Saturdays, 4 p.m. Sundays, through Dec. 17, the original closing date; extended through Dec. 30, with shows at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 20, 21, 22, 23, 29, and 30; plus 3 p.m. Dec. 30

Tickets: $37 to $62, at, (808) 733-0274


At 75, comedian Frank DeLima has common aging issues. Body aches everywhere, loss of memory, unstable legs.

At his brunch show Sunday (Dec. 3) at Blue Note Hawaii at the Outrigger Waikiki resort, he celebrated the upcoming holidays with hilarity and ho-ho-ho revelations about his life. He shared a solution to his tiring legs, explaining his frontside (tummy) is now the same size as his backside (butt), which gives him equilibrium.

Such was the tone, and temperament, of his presentation.

Yes, he donned a Santa’s outfit. Yes, he delivered the expected “Filipino Christmas,” which simultaneously salutes the yuletide and pokes fun at Filipinos. No racism intended – never, in a DeLima show – but the underlying fodder for his success over the past 47 years as a comedian who demonstrates his adoration of local ethnicities (Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Polynesian, Portuguese, and yes, particularly Filipino) because that’s his brand. He generates laughs because he celebrates, not condemns,  the races here.

You’ve heard the jovial jokes, right? He learned, first hand, the idiosyncrasies of island living, in the Pauoa Valley region where he grew up. His gags may be exaggerated, but reflect truths – Japanese listening to Naniwabushi radio programs, with unique vocal tones; Chinese burning firecrackers at gravesites, bringing manapua to share with the deceased; Okinawans, with hairy chests, arms and legs, and so on.

A masterful parody creator, he unveiled his latest “Kona Low,” the term favored by weather forecastors, referring to what used to be called “Kona weather,” singing the newbie to the tune of the oldie “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let it Snow!” He relied on what he called his “teleprompter,” a cardboard roll-out with lyrics, with the liner comprised of Clorox boxes. So DeLima.

An earlier parody, to the tune of “Mack the Knife,” described the unfortunate fate of Captain Cook, the presumed discoverer of the Hawaiian Islands, who was eaten by the Hawaiians, as the legend goes.

Other namedropping melodies tapped King Kamehameha and Imelda Marcos.

Audience participation is part of DeLima’s agenda, so not surprisingly, he beckoned audience members to take the stage for his laugh-loaded ritual of rendering the island version of “The 12 Days of Christmas,” from 12 televisions to one mynah bird in one papaya tree. Happily, or perhaps laughingly, the dude tapped to do the mynah/papaya line could not get it right until the bitter end, earning cheers and hurrahs for his achievement.

‘Twas a sweet end to the show.

And that’s Show Biz…