Chris Kekaniokalani Bright, who previously worked on Disney’s animated “Moana” hit, is expected to script the planned live action “Lilo and Stitch” movie, based on the hit animated TV series and film.

Chris is the grandson of the late Ronald K. Bright and Mo Bright, and the son of Clarke and Lynell Bright, all active and renowned for their support to perpetuate and preserve the tradition of Mr. B’s legacy, to instill the values of hard work and commitment, the mantra of the Bright-inspired I’m a Bright Kid Foundation which protects and promotes these goals.

Chris Bright

The “Lilo and Stitch” project will be directed by Dean Fleischer Camp, whose latest film is “Marcel. The Shell with Shoes On,” based on the viral video series starring co-writer Jenny Slate as an anthropomorphic shell, according to Deadline,

“Lilo and Stitch,” like “Moana,” promotes Hawaii-based stories with rich island characters and ‘ohana-heavy themes, elements that have become Disney trademark. “Lilo and Stitch” details the relationship of a lonely Hawaiian girl (Lilo) who befriends and adopts a dog (Stitch) which turns out to be a potentially dangerous and destructive extraterrestrial being. “Lilo and Stitch” is known for the much-quoted “Ohana means family;  family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten,” which resonated with Hawaii youths back in the day.

Chris, who grew up amid the Bright tradition, earlier scripted a Disney project called “Aloha Radio,” inspired by the book by David Wolman and Julian Smith about three actual Hawaiian paniolo (cowboys), but the film has been shelved. …

Bright youngsters’ play opens today

“Dear Edwina Jr.,” a comedy with music about a teen advice counsel, opens tonight (July 15) at the Paliku Theatre at Windward Community College.”

It will be the I’m a Bright Kid Foundation’s lone live, in-person production this year, as the pandemic continues.  The show is the culmination of IABK’s summer theatrical arts education workshops, enabling the youngsters to show their skills in what they’ve learned.

In keeping with the tradition of Ronald Bright, mentor to thousands of aspiring theater youths before his death, the show will offer a playbill with the usual credits and roster of the kids. “We do books for all our shows,” said Ligaya Stice, IABK executive director. “Mr. B was big on that.”

Performances will be at 7 p.m. today (July 15), 2 and 7 p.m. tomorrow (July 16) and 2 p.m. Sunday (July 17).

Tickets: www.imabrightkid.org/tickets.

Batalon’s ‘Vampire’ has opening date

Islander Jacob Batalon’s new series on SyFy finally has a premiering date: Oct. 25.

Jacob Batalon

Batalon, 25, will star in “Reginald the Vampire,” putting his teeth in a comedic role as Reginald Andres, a vampire who has to navigate a variety of obstacles but has powers he doesn’t know he has.

The show is based on a book by Johnny B. Truant.

So, from the sidekick (Ned Leeds) and best friend of Tom Holland’s “Spider-man,” he’s now lurking as a vamp. …

And that’s Show Biz. …


John Kolivas’ Honolulu Jazz Quartet, one of the islands’ most enduring jazz ensembles, will concertize at 7:30 p.m. Saturday (July 16)  in a private concert in Haleiwa.

The ensemble will program a range of 60s and 70s hits, plus selections from the HJQ’s latest  CD.

In an online post, Kolivas mentioned that “I finally got up the energy to write my arrangement of Seals & Croft’s ‘Summer Breeze,’ in time for our annual concert in Haleiwa,”  Kolivas said in an online post.

John Kolivas

And indeed, “Summer  Breeze” is a seasonal summertime favorites.

Doors open at 7 p.m. and for  the address of the venue, contact Babatunji for reservations, food options and other details. A capacity crowd is anticipated, so email babatunji@gmail.com or call (808)  636-1285. …

Ben Vegas will return to Medici’s  at the Manoa Market Place, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday (July 16). His evening of romantic tunes  is  themed “Songs in the Key of Love.”

Since his previous tune-mate Maila Gibson has left the act, Vegas has been doing special events concerts, previously teaming up with John Valentine.

In the weekend show, Vegas will be joined by musician friends Fred Alcain and Aron Nelson, with  guest vocalist Ana Allen sitting in for a few numbers.

Doors open at 6 p.m. and includes a four-course dinner. Cost is $59, which includes the meal and the music. Reservations: www.medicissupperclub.com

Is Ben Franklin the next to exit Mapunapuna?

With Home Depot acquiring the Mapunapuna complex called Moanalua 99, the remaining tenants will shut down today. Some are reopening elsewhere; many will close for good.

Earlier, Henry Loui restaurant ended its residency in the Mapunapua area, because of the imminent changes ahead, so I wondered about the Ben Franklin/Celebrations complex next door. In a recent visit, employees told me they were hoping that crafters will help save the end of Ben Franklin there, but as a crafter myself, I haven’t heard anything about plans to keep BF where it is, or shut down to raze and reinvigorate the area. Are crafters even aware of the possible end of BF Moanalua? Is this progress?. Just wondering. …

Broadway grosses, week ending July 10

Broadway is still alive and kicking, as the summer season goes into high gear.

But whoa, “The Music Man” still is the top drawer, but it’s now just shy of its usual $3 million gross. The take? $2.9 million.

No. 2 is “The Lion King,” earning $2.3 million, resulting in tswapping slots with No 3, “Hamilton,” with $2.2 million.

The tallies are courtesy The Broadway League. Here’s the chart, for figures for the week ending July 10:

And that’s Show Biz. …


Ohana Arts, an organization of theater and musical mentors and their students, made the plunge into the Waikiki mainstream last night (July 12), at Blue Note Hawaii at the Outrigger Waikiki resort.

Clearly, there’s a lot of budding talent among the ranks, with about 25 taking the stage to strut their stuff, joined by a cluster of adults. A premium  list of  in-house entertainer-mentors, like Rocky Brown and Kristian Lei (who have enviable credits in legit Broadway musicals), sharing their talent to Mainland and global audiences and now grooming and inspiring homegrown troupers still earning their stripes.

Rocky Brown

I was curious, about how this group would assemble a cabaret show – a mixed bag of tunes, an uneven level of confidence among the youths – in a venue not generally known for showcasing  local talent seeking their first brush of legitimacy.

Simply, the evening was a work in progress. It was a challenge to fully appreciate a show that doesn’t have a format or a map, like a conventional Broadway musical. Ohana Arts, welcomes challenges and is in the midst of its busiest month  ever. FYI, besides the Blue Note show, it is staging its version of Broadway popular musicials, “Newsies” July 21 at 2 and 7:30 p.m., July 23 at 7:30 p.m., and July 24 at 3 p.m. at the Earle Ernst Lab Theatre at the University of Hawaii, alternately producing “Matilda” on July 22  at 7:30 p.m., July 23 at 3 p.m., and Sunday July 24 at 11 a.m. and 7:30 p. m., at Kennedy Theatre at UH. “Newsies” is nearly sold out. But that’s another story.

As deployed by Ohana Arts, the Blue Note one-nighter reeled off more like a high school talent show, than a cohesive club spectacle,  with one singer followed by another and another and another. The routine swiftly became, well, routine.

However, the core of the evening – the valid talent – was outstanding. Apologies, but I didn’t have road map  (meaning cast list) for this one, so I can’t properly name names of most of the troupers as the charming, enthusiastic emcee, dutifully rattling off a list… from her iPhone.
So it was problematic, for an ignorant spectator, to identify who’s who. The parade had its ups and downs, and the show would have had more impact if it shaped and produced the participants and selections with thematic tweaks. But ambition and pride shined, and since most of the crowd were Ohana Arts families and followers, there were enough cheers and sparks to aid and provide confidence and goodwill to the youngsters.

An evening like this begs for a rousing opening number involving multiple vocalists in a spirited hurrah,  to make us all sit on the edge of our seats  in anticipation. Imagine a youth capable of becoming The Emcee, as in “Cabaret,” and dish up a socko “Wilkommen” opening song. Would have been a howling howdy-do.

In this outing, Jeannine Wong’s (sorry if this isn’t the correct name) “Don’t Rain on My Parade” was a logical  opening song choice, but it was a one-woman parade (not her fault) that needed embellishment perhaps with a few dancers and singers just to perk it up and get noticed.

Kristian Lei

Mentor and professional singer Kristian Lei’s duet with a dude named Tanner (sorry, missed the surname)“The Prayer” had both Broadway pizzazz and operatic voices. Similarly, Rocky Brown’s (another pro) trio version of “A Million Dreams” from “The Greatest Showman” with Sienna and Janell (spelling?) had precisely the kind of charisma that sizzled, when talent helped sell the tune.

Ryan Sousa, a father of an Ohana pupil, excelled in a close-to-the-finale momentum with a sweet, emotional “Bring Him Home” from “Les Misérables.”

Tanner returned to embrace “Music of the Night,” from “Phantom of the Opera,” to extend  and spin the Broadway wheel, followed by a “Wicked” duet of the iconic “I Have Been Changed” song  by an adult duo whose names I don’t want to screw up, so won’t attempt trying, with a grand finale of “You Will Be Found,” from musical “Dear Evan Hansen,” the signature bandaged arm not required (though it would have been a kick if someone had a faux broken left arm) that finally demonstrated the depth and unifying resources in Ohana Arts.The integrated harmonies, and the vastness of the assembly, were impressive.

Ohana Arts’ finale number “You Will Be Found” engaged the entire company.

The presence of emerging local talent hasn’t gone unnoticed by Blue Note, which is making it possible for non-profits like Ohana Arts to make a pitch for a slot, without the normal rental fees, and Blue Note also enabling public support of monetary kokua on its website. Great win-win for all – for organizations eager to mount a cabaret show. …

And that’s Show Biz. …


“Dear Edwina Jr.,” a musical about the joys of growing up, will be staged by the I’m a Bright Kid Foundation, at 7 p.m. July 15 and 16 and at 2 p.m. July 16 and 17 at Paliku Theatre at Windward Community College.

The show is a climax to IABK’s Summer Musical Theatre Arts Education Program, where island youths have been attending workshops and classes on the multi layers of singing, acting, and dancing in a musical show.

“Edwina Jr.” focuses on the adventures of a plucky advice-giver, Edwina Spoonapple, as she directs her neighborhood kids in a series of live production numbers to be featured in her latest weekly advice show.

Cleo (full first name, Cleonice) Hamm portrays Edwina; a Bright grandson, Drew Bright, plays Scott Kunkle, a neighbor boy, who is Edwina’s love interest. 

Drew Bright and Cleo Hamm co-star in IABK’s “Edwina Jr.”

A video-on-demand component is available for those unable to attend the live performances.

During summer vacation, students have been getting lessons on the stagecraft of theater, so the shows are an opportunity to use skills acquired during the workshops.

Production numbers reflect positive friendship wisdom ranging from making new allies to trying new food, told in tunes.

Tickets are $23 for adults 21 or older, $18 for seniors 65 and older plus students and active-duty military, and $13 for children 3-12. Tickets for video element are available online www.imabrightkid.org/tickets  

The program is supported in part by a grant from the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation. The summer activities draw students from all over the islands.

The pandemic has sidelined IABK to stage traditional musicals for nearly three seasons, so “Edwina Jr.” is the first theatrical endeavor performing before a live audience since 2019.

Selleck remembers Doversola

Tom Selleck, TV’s original Thomas Magnum, has sent organizers of the funeral for casting director Margaret Doversola, a tribute message about Doversola.

Doversola was a secretary to the producer of CBS’ “Magnum,” which aired for eight years from 1980 to 1988, and Doversola became the show’s casting director.

“Margaret was much loved and respected by all of us in our ‘Magnum’ family… as well as the rest of the Hawaii entertainment community, and beyond,” said Selleck.  “She was a member of our family from day one, throughout our eight years, and her Casting Director role helped shape the success of the show. Much love, and aloha, Margaret.”

Selleck was a Hawai residenti throughout the run of the procedural. He now stars as the police commissioner of CBS’ “Blue Bloods.” …

Other show biz deaths

Johnny Todd

Facebook chatter indicates that veteran and beloved jazz pianist Johnny Todd has died in Los Angeles, though not firmly confirmed by family sources.  Todd was widely known as the musical director for Don Ho, for nearly three decades, in notable gigs at the Las Vegas Hilton in the 1970s and in most of Ho’s prime anchor spots ranging from Duke Kahanamoku’s  to the Hilton Hawaiian Village Dome. He is survived by daughter Shay and was the husband of jazz singer Ethel Azama, who preceded him in death. …

Paul Brown, the celebrated hairstylist with deep Hawaii roots, died in Los Angeles on July 7 at age 74. He had been diagnosed with. Glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer, according to friend Willy Falk, a Broadway performer and Punahou grad, now living in New York. “Paul was well known as hairdresser, salon-owner and for his line of eponymous products,” said Falk. Brown had a career in hairstyling and hair and skin care products, bearing his name. He utilized island resources to create his hair, body, and makeup products.

Falk also said Linda Kidani, has died – date unknown – at a care home in Kaneohe. She was a veteran performer with the Opera Players of Hawaii, a vocalist at Central Union Church, and an investor in “The Producers,” a Tony-winning musical on Broadway. Survivors include her daughter Kaiulani Shinsato. Services are scheduled for July 17, specifics unknown. …

And that’s Show Biz. …


Cleaning up some files today, I came across a small collection of notecards I created, to thank the cast of “Les Miserables,” which was a wowser and rouser at Paliku Theatre at Windward Community College in October, 2013.

This production likely to be Hawaii’s most astonishing accomplishment in local theater, directed, of course, by the late and legendary Ron Bright. It was Mr. B’s favorite show, part of a bucket-list of shows he wanted to do; “Phantom of the Opera” and “Miss Saigon,” which he also directed with his impeccable touch, completing his wish list.

The cast of “Les Miserables,” at Paliku Theatre, in October, 2013.

The notecards – in the shape of T-shirts – depict a Cosette-in-Hawaii motif.  The cards were meant to commemorate and thank the cast and crew of this stupendous show; and yes, did enough cards so each performer and techie received one on opening night

See, in many tour stops made by the official touring company of “Les Miz,” the iconic child that is the symbol of this enduring Broadway and London show, takes on the flavor of the city being visited. In Canada, Cosette had a flag with a maple leaf; in France, the French flag gets prime time; in Scotland, she might don a kilt. In Hawaii, it’s a hula skirt. And so on.

I took some liberties, borrowing the Cosette image and adding a local element. For one card, “Lei Miz” was the subtitle, because she was wearing a lei. In another, she is in hula pose, so I labeled it as “Lovely (Hula) Lady,” borrowing a tune from the show. The third card depicts Cosette with a surfboard and donning sunglasses, and an apt title: “Catch the waif.”  This was an official authorized trademarked image the first time the show played here.

Four specimens of the “Les Miz” noted cards gifted to the cast and crew.

I gave the images a splash of color, and each Cosette wears a hibiscus in her hair. Lei color varied, but red and yellow were prevalent, as I recall.

The show – loaded with music that speaks to a generation of theater players – featured a protagonist who delivers one of blockbuster ballads (“Bring Him Home”), neither he nor the song is promoted in the “Les Miz” annals.

So, I thought Jean Valjean’s prisoner number would be a code to his valor and vigor; did a limited number of cards that simply addressed his numbers: 24601

On the back of the T-shirt card, I expressed my appreciation for a job well done. And borrowed that show’s most quoted line: “To love another person is to see the face of God.”

This expression of dedication and performance — the core of theatrical life — inspired Mr. B’s family and followers to create the I’m a Bright Kid Foundation to preserve and perpetuate his enduring spirit and inspiration. The journey continues.