“A Chorus Line,” opening July 16 at Diamond Head Theatre. The defining musical about chorus line hopefuls, who hope to land a role in an upcoming show. Performances at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, at 3 p.m. Saturdays and 4 p.m. Sundays, through Aug. 1. Social distancing protocols in place. Greg Zane directs and choreographs. Details: www.diamondheadtheatre.com
“Daddy Long Legs,” opening July 1, at Manoa Valley Theatre. A musical about an orphan with a mysterious benefactor, who sends her off to college, and her experiences in the outside world. Performances at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, with matinnes at 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, through July 11. Social distancing protocols in place. Streaming performances at 7:30 p.m. July 9 and 10 and 3 p.m. July 11. Details: www.manoavalleytheatre.com
Before tunnels made it faster for vehicles to reach Kailua and Kaneohe from Honolulu, there was that long and winding Old Pali Road in Nuuanu Valley.
Yep, in the old days, it was a task of sorts to go Windward side via this twisting two-lane highway, which zigged and zagged along the mountain terrain, to link then “country” with the “city.”
This was then the fastest way to travel to visit Kailua and Kaneohe for family, beach, and other recreation. There was no Windward Mall in Kaneohe and Kailua still was a budding district for home owners, not yet a dining and shopping destination.
The speed limit was likely 25 mph, because the curves were frequent and potentially dangerous. The only route worse than this was the Maui drive from Kahului to Hana with twists and curves galore.
If you lived on the Honolulu side, you’d stop at the Pali lookout to view the expanse of green and blues. Yes, there were parcels of forestry sights and beyond the green, the pristine aqua of the seas. The lookout then, and even now, had howling winds, depending on the weather, and girls and women donning dresses and skirts, had to hold ‘em down to avoid unwanted peeks.
Back in the day, the Kailua Drive In – an outdoor movie theater – was a destination for viewers from both sides of the Pali. Of course, the drive home in the dark, going up the spirally curves nighttime, was a challenge, too.
And there were tales – obake stories – about crossing the Pali turns with pork. ‘Twas said to be bad luck, that your car engine would conk out, but I never encountered anyone who had such misfortunes, though few dared to travel with pork in the car. That’s discussion for another time.
So what are your reflections of this long and winding road? …
Colleagues and friends of the late Joy Valderrama Abbott bid her a final adieu at a mid-day gathering Wednesday (June 23) at Waialae Beach near the park. They couldn’t let the coronavirus further delay a memorial gathering.
Abbott was a well-known singer, dancer, philanthropist, businesswoman, tennis and golf enthusiast and a Broadway booster who resided in three states: Hawaii, Florida and Pennsylvania.
She died on Feb. 8, 2020, just as the coronavirus pandemic began to lock down life and activities, so a planned memorial then was cancelled. A year later, when COVID 19 was still in full bloom, here and elsewhere, it still was not prudent to hold a memorial service on the first anniversary of her passing.
Instead, a quiet, private remembrance gathering finally was held on the Waialae shoreline, with flowers dancing as if choreographed by Abbott. It was a time to reflect and say aloha to a beloved trouper.
Abbott was a member of Punahou School’s class of 1948, and her lifetime friend and fellow student, Elva Yoshihara, assembled a handful of Buffanblu grads for the send-off, with the scriptures shared by Philip Ching, also a classmate. An informal lunch at Waialae Country Club followed.
Abbott was the widow of the legendary Broadway producer, director, and playwright George Abbott, whose iconic creations included “Damn Yankees,” “Pajama Game” and “Pal Joey.”
While she never performed on Broadway, she was an advocate of theater and had been staging the “Mr. Abbott Awards,” honoring a luminary on the Great White Way, annually until her death.
She had an unbridled passion for the stage, particularly the Broadway musicals, and was never shy to share her vocal talents. In recent years, Abbott staged free cabaret performances tapping Jim Howard as her pianist accompanist. To reciprocate, her Arcadia friends even hosted a birthday party for her a couple of years ago.
Yoshihara recalls her BFF’s “never say no” spirit, citing an occasion from the past where Judy Murata invited them to dinner at the House Without a Key at the Halekulani Hotel, in the era where Kanoe Miller was the featured hula soloist.
“At that time, Joy had not had her second knee surgery or second hip surgery, so she was having a hard time walking with a cane,” said Yoshihara, who assisted Abbott to the stage.
When the lights were on and with a microphone facing her, Abbott was a pro and always ready to go. “She sang beautifully,” said Yoshihara. After one song, Abbott declared: “And now I would like to dance ‘Holoholo Kaa,’” which worried Yoshihara, who questioned her pal, “How in the world did you dance when you can hardly walk.”
Abbott replied, “Elva, when I’m on stage, I have no pain.”
Indeed, she was prone to so many surgeries – her shoulders, her knees, her hips – that I affectionately called her Bionic Woman because of numerous operations and interior replacements.
She had a flair for fashions, so she was always clad in attractive, eye-catching gowns. While her Hawaii gigs were informal and intimate, she also staged a Hawaii Theatre performance in decades past, where he singing and dancing and vogue-ish manners intersected. Oh, she also had a warehouse of jokes that she could share, mostly off stage.
Her indomitable spirit to entertain began years ago. At age 8, she was known as the Shirley Temple of Hawaii. As a performer for her business company named Moana, she did frequent shows, but after she met and married George Abbott in 1983, after a 25-year courtship, she curtailed her performances as her husband’s career flourished on the Great White Way. He died in 1995.
Joy graduated from Temple University in Philadelphia in 1953, where she excelled as a nationally known tennis player, competing her collegiate career as the captain of her undefeated team, earning a slot in the Temple University Hall of Fame.
Her allegiance to Temple resulted in the formation of the George and Joy Abbott Center for Musical Theater at the college, ensuring support and academic opportunities, for future generations of theater students. In 2007, Joy bequeathed her ownership share and future royalties earned through production of George Abbott shows, along with memorabilia, to the Boyer College of Music and Dance.
Joy also had a friend and business partner, Jerry Mirrow, who assisted her in staging shows on the East Coast and in Florida. They were companions until her death …
The local surfing and acting community is buzzing with of an HBO Max series, entitled “Ke Nui Road,” filming in the epicenter of North Shore watersports.
Producer John Wells is launching “Ke Nui Road,” focusing on the North Shore surfers and lifeguards, zooming in on the relationships between an elite crew of heavy-water lifeguards and the young adults and tees they train and mentor in a junior lifeguard program.
One intent of the contemporary drama is to capture the pulse of the lifeguard profession that embraces the dangers, the beauty, and the struggles of the unpredictable currents and waves, amid the island-style spirit of aloha.
Clearly, this one will require and hire a bunch of water-experienced swimmers and surfers, plus crowds of extras if a surfing meet is part of the agenda.
To the regulars who live and love the water culture, the film’s title will immediately ring a bell of recognition. The location is the epicenter of the project; Ke Nui Road is a brand of sorts, with an element of attraction and adventure, where residents and surfers traverse. In heavy wave season, the road becomes a character of sorts, too, fighting for survival along the coast, where the Pacific Ocean can unexpectedly spill into the shoreline properties of residents, while surfers try to catch the waves, as part of the mainstream surfing tradition.
Matt Kester (“Animal Kingdom”) will be an executive producer who also will provide the script.
There’s no word on how many shows will filmed, but the camera-hungry crowd here is excited about casting that’s still under way, because series “regular” roles are likely to be filled with Hawaii actors/athletes.
As one online post advises, “Time to check in with your agent.”
Wells has numerous TV and film credits, but he is best known as a showrunner and exec producer of such series as “ER,” “Third Watch,” “The West Wing,” “Shameless,” “Animal Kingdom,” and “American Woman.” …
Comedian Frank DeLima is doing his part to encourage island residents to get vaccinated.
He’s launched “Do Da Vaccination,” a parody to Little Eva’s oldie hit, “Do the Locomotion,” nudging folks to get vaxxed and possibly win prizes, like airline miles or Las Vegas trips as a bonus.
He initiated the tune on his own, recording a simple self-taped video in which he shares his original lyrics, with a repetitive, “come on, come on do the vaccination for free.”
Then he got a call from adman Patrick Bullard, who asked DeLima if he could do one of his parodies to promote the State Department of Health’s bid to beef up the total of residents who haven’t yet been vaxxed during the pandemic. When he informed Bullard that he already had tune in the can, Brooks Baehr, Covid 19 response administrative assistant with DOE, contacted DeLima and sealed the deal to utilize the parody and the comic was taped in front of a “green screen,” enabling DOH to show the vaxxing progress over the past few months.
This gave DeLima an opportunity to “act” while performing, significantly upgrading his parody.
DeLima has been vaxxed; but he also has history with DOH, earlier doing promos on face masks, hand-washing and social distancing, in the early stages of the coronavirus dilemma last year.
But the wealth of prizes also ramps up the interest in vaxxing, perhaps now convincing the anti-vaxxers to cross the bridge.
“You know you really have a chance to win real big now,” he sings on the ad spot airing on local TV. “But first you gotta have da vaccination.”
He rattles off some of the current carrots: a year-long auto lease from Auto Source Hawaii, a $1,000 dining prize from Merriman’s, and 100,000 Hawaiian Airlines miles.
But if you’re already vaxxed, you still can try to snag one of the prizes. Gov. David Ige earlier this month authorized a website to register to qualify for the prizes.
Go to www.higotvaccinated.gov register, before the June 30 deadline.
Then wait to see your name is pulled from the hat, as DeLima sings. …