Still no official word from Diamond Head Theatre, but the decision to dismiss costume designer Karen G. Wolfe at the end of the run of “Anything Goes” this weekend has been reversed.
Earlier today, Wolfe – who served as the theater’s resident costume honcho for 37 years – broke silence and revealed that she will be staying on through the end of the run of “Cinderella,” which opens next January in a brand-new facility next door to the existing theater.
In a Facebook post, Wolfe said “I’m happy to announce that I will be staying as DHT costume director through the end of ‘Cinderella’ in 2023. I have always wanted to retire after my 70th birthday (Jan. 29) and I am grateful that I will be able to do so.”
Why this process was not part of her departure was not fully explained. She revealed the outcome of the online outcry to “save Karen” in the past few days, after her daughter, KyraBlasé, sent on an online appeal to the DHT board of director to appeal the case.
“Thank you for your support,” Wolfe said of the next few months where she will design costumes for the first new show in the brand-new theater.
“This was made possible by management and the board, and I want to thank them and John Rampage (artistic director). With a new building and the next 100 years there is so much good that each of us can do to support community theater.”
Wolfe declined to talk about the turnaround, likely because this remains a personnel matter.
But why this arrangement was not considered earlier is a curiosity; Wolfe deserves to have a role in the shutdown of the old facility and help launch the start of the new one.
Sounds like she had a Fairy Godmother – not discounting pressure from ticket buyers and theater fans who rallied in her defense — on her side in the turnaround. Further, DHT owes Wolfe either a grand birthday party or an aloha oe retirement celebration at the end of her tenure.
Peyton Elizabeth Lee and Matt Sato, co-starring in Disney+’s “Doogie Kamealoha, M.D.,” have been tagged for separate Disney streamers apart from their signature filmed-in-Hawaii show.
Lee has been signed to join a Disney Branded Television show, featuring popular Disney talents, in “Prom Pact,” a teen rom-com. She portrays Mandy Yee, a high school senior, at the height of prom season, with hopes to enroll in Harvard after graduation, but she’s waitlisted … but she has a plan.
In this venture, “Zombies“ triple-threat actor Milo Manheim, also has a lead. He already is a new-to-this-season regular in“Doogie,” in the role of street-smart Nico with a love interest in Lee’s Lahela; in “Prom Pact,” he is Ben, her main squeeze. …
Meanwhile, Sato, already a one-season vet on Disney+’s “Doogie Kamealoha, M.D.,” has been added to another Disney venture, “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series,” now in its fourth season.
Sato plays Kai Kamealoha, brother to the titular series star, played by the aforementioned Lee, who is the youth doctor in the Hawaii-based remake of the sitcom, “Doogie,” pegged for another 10-episode season, with airdates to be announced.
In the “High School Musical” dramady, filmed in Salt Lake City, Sato portrays sitcom actor Mack, in a recurring role …
‘Cats’ on sale, ‘Cabaret’ held over
The morality surrounding organ transplants is the theme of “The God Committee,” opening Friday (Sept. 30) at the Brad Powell Theatre at Dole Cannery.
Dwight Martin is directing the drama by Mark St. Germain. The cast includes Rea Fox as Nurse Larkin, Richard Valalsek as Dr. Klee, Tom Smith as Dr. Gorman, Shannon Tatalano as Dr. Ross, David Farmer as Father Dunbar, Aiko Chinen as Dr. Banks, and Justin Strain as Mr. Piero. Curtain time is 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays, through Oct. 16. There is no intermission.
Tickets: $30 (general), $25 (seniors) and $20 (students/military).
If you want to live the “Memory” of “Cats” once again – of if you’re a newbie in the catmosphere – you can order single seats, starting at 10 a.m. this Friday (Sept. 30).
The Andrew Lloyd Webber musical won’t be performed till next June 23 through 18 at the Blaisdell Concert Hall, as the final of a four-show Broadway in Hawaii season.
“Jersey Boys,” the second musical, just wound up its run; “Hamilton,” the third show in the series, opens Dec. 7 for a month’s run.
But the launch of “Cats” tickets is part of a special promotion, which requires this code – ECLUB – to order seats.
Tickets: $45 to $90.
Details at: ticketmaster.com or visit the Blaisdelln box office.
“Cabaret,” a hit at Manoa Valley Theatre, has been extended with new performance dates at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday (Sept. 30 and Oct. 1) and Sunday at 3 p.m. (Oct. 2). Update: a second extension has been announced; new dates are: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 7 and 8 and 3 p.m. Oct. 9.
Seating is cabaret-style, with tables and chairs on the main floor. Beverage service is available prior to curtain and at intermission.
Three more performances of “Aloha Las Vegas,” Edward Sakamoto’s beloved local-style comedy about the passion for Las Vegas by locals, will be held this week: at 8 pm. Friday (Sept. 30), and at 2 p.m. Saturday (Oct. 1) and. Sunday (Oct. 2). The last two shows are sold out. Tickets are scarce, so check on availability at https://www.eventbrite.com …
“Anything Goes,” Diamond Head Theatre’s latest musical, will be making history this weekend. It will be the final show following decades of shows, but then facility will shut down to prep to move to a brand new DHT next January. Too bad that the closure has had an off-stage drama, when word leaked earlier this week that DHT was terminating Karen G.Wolfe, its resident costume designer for 37 years, a startling surprise to many. She expected to be part of the team moving to the new venue, but it’s not happening. Talk about anything goes! …
Broadway grosses, for week ending Sept. 25
With little surprise, the top-grossing Broadway musicals continue to lead the pack.
“The Music Man” was No. 1 with $2.804 million; “Hamilton” was No. 2 with $1.915 million; “MJ the Musical” was No. 3 with $1.732 million.
If Hollywood filmmakers are seeking hefty discounts and insider tax incentives to shoot projects in Hawaii – vs. other tropical sites such as Mexico or the Caribbean – shouldn’t state regulators consider new mandatory requirements to ensure mutually beneficial perks?
One consideration might be to require, when possible, at least a secondary role for union actors from Hawaii to gain an edge to audition for a part on camera. Instead of a Maori from New Zealand to play someone local, why not a genuine local?
So often, shows are cast before setting shop on our shores, while we have a stable of eager performers hungry for work. Local behind-the-scenes techies are regularly hired; why not on camera participants, too? Then, it might be a win-win situation. The attitude that we don’t have talent here is so untrue.
The last and only TV show to hire fresh island faces for secondary leads was the original “Hawaii Five-0,” giving Al Harrington and Zulu a huge opportunity to strut their stuff. The only current islander (though now a Los Angeles resident) is Anthony Ruivivar, who plays the husband of lead agent Vanessa Lachery in “NCIS: Hawaii.” His role is recurring, but limited. Technically, Amy Hill of the rebooted “Magnum P.I.” (she plays Tutui) is not a local, but now sorta is, since she has bought a condo, which makes her a part-time resident but she lives and talks like one us anyway.
The query: Don’t you think Hawaii-based shows, notably TV, should hire more resident actors? …
For nearly four decades, Karen G. Wolfe has been the heartbeat of productions at Diamond Head Theatre, where she has been costume director responsible for creating garb for all the actors on stage.
With DHT now staging its final musical, “Anything Goes” – and yes, jammed with fashionable gowns, uniforms and more created by Wolfe that could fill several boutiques — in the orininal facility, Wolfe was looking forward to continue her job when “Cinderella” is staged in DHT’s brand new facility a stone’s throw away next January.
But unexpectedly, Wolfe has been told by the theater that “Anything Goes” will be her final show. She won’t be able to try on Cinderella’s slipper to continue her creative services when the new theater opens shop next year. Surely, this must have been a devastating moment in her brilliant career.
With more than 200 shows under her belt, the snub was hurtful and alarming. Wolfe served under both the Honolulu Community Theatre of the past and the current Diamond Head Theatre era.
“Not only is this an insult to my mother, it’s an insult to the Hawaii theater community, and a threat to worker’s rights,” said her daughter, Kyla Blasé, who has launched an online petition to help her mother continue as costume designer “so she can choose to retire with celebration at her discretion.”
Veteran actress-singer Shari Lynn, who has graced the DHT and looked glorious in Wolfe’s period-savvy gowns, said “The gifted Karen Wolfe has given life to thousands of characters via her unparalleled artistic vision and dedication to her craft. Sometimes actors don’t fully inhabit the character until the costumer works her magic and they see it fully realized for the first time.
“Fanny, Mame, Dolly and many others were given their signature look by Karen. She is also always sensitive to the body insecurities we all have,” said Shari. “HCT/DHT has been the beneficiary, as she earned great press and countless Po’okelas for them. Granted, I’m not privy to the reasons behind DHT’s decision, but this is not how an organization shows gratitude.”
Aubrey Lee, who has worked in theater here and on the Mainland, said of Wolfe: “Her extensive knowledge, craftsmanship and experience alone is irreplaceable. I know that such talent is not easy to find. The ability to sew and design alone is a dying art. Being able to form an extensively long list of volunteers is also no easy feat. Losing Karen would be a step backward in Diamond Head Theatre’s current path of moving forward into the future.” Lee added: “Seeing the specifications for a role to currently replace her is honestly laughable. No one will be able to match the time and dedication that Karen has made over the years, no one with the experience needed will take the current rate being offered.”
Lee hopes the DHT board of directors will step in and right a wrong.
Actors, dancers and techies alike will recognize the costume shop as the heart and soul of DHT, particularly where it has been operating just inside the stage door at the back of the aging facility.
The costume shop was the hub for all; if Wolfe was available, you could kibitz, partake of pupu or a beverage, or get a costume fitting. She might have been stitching a hem, or sewing a rip in a garment, but but always open to chit-chats or interviews. At Halloween, the costume shop would be packed with eager beavers from the community trying to rent anything from a ghoulish outfit to a gown featured in an earlier musical.