Reflection is the validation of a happy life. And you’re a lucky soul, if you have fond memories.

As one who covered the Waikiki scene – with a focus on entertainment – I miss the good ol’ days.

Gone, but not forgotten;  but I cherish these 10 yesteryear recollections:

The Kodak Hula was a popular destination near the Waikiki Shell.
  • The Kodak Hula Show, on a patch of green adjacent to the Waikiki Shell, was a freebie crammed with hula, mele and fun, widely supported by visitors. The ALOHA signage at the show’s finale, was a photo op for the times.
  • Duke Kahanamoku’s, the epicenter of the birth of global favorite, Don Ho. With roots in Kaneohe, he was a crooner beloved by young women and grandmas,who waited for his kisses.  “Tiny Bubbles” became his signature. But his recordings of a clutch of Kui Lee tunes made both famous.
Hilo Hattie was know for her “Hilo Hop.”
  • Hilo Hattie, doing her iconic “When Hilo Hattie Does the Hilo Hop” She was not a particularly great singer, nor dancer, but she had charisma, in the tutuwahine mode, adored by locals and visitors alike in her revue at the original Halekulani Hotel as well as the Hilton Hawaiian Village Tapa Room..
  • Coco’s, the 24-hour eatery, located at Kalakaua Avenue and Kapiolani Boulevard, replaced Kau Kau Korner at the pivotal gateway to Waikiki. It was the place to go for breakfast, lunch or dinner, but also a grand wee-hour spot for after-movie munchies. The restaurant also boasted a much-photograph locator sign, pointing to cities around the world, and would be a popular selfie spot today, if it were still around.
  • The humble venue called The Noodle Shop at the Waikiki Sand Villa Hotel fronting the Ala Wai Canal, was the birthplace for the career of Frank DeLima. He delivered oodles of local-style gags, and Imelda Marcus, then the first lady of the Philippines, popped in to see him enact her. She surely was the most widely known spectator. That ensured DeLima’s trademark Imelda hair and toaster-sleeved dress, in his routine.
  • The Monarch Room, the fabled showroom-restaurant in the Royal Hawaiian Hotel (aka The Pink Palace), is where notable headliners appeared: Wayne Newton, The Brothers Cazimero, John Rowles, Ed Kenney, Marlene Sai, Beverly Noa.
Interior of the Waikiki 3 Theatre featured a rainbow, a moving skyscape and palm trees.
  • The Waikiki Theatre, on Kalakaua Avenue, was later known as the Waikiki 3 because of satellite screens 1 and 2 on Seaside Avenue around the block.- This was the movie palace jewel of the Pacific, with a rainbow arch surround the screen, an in-house organ providing pre-show concerts on weekends, a ceiling with moving clouds, a cluster of coconut trees on both side aisles. The walkway original boasted ponds with water, with screen-star autographs on the cement. Today, the site has restaurants and boutiques – with no designation of its past glory, except for the “WAIKIKI” nameplate.
  • The $1 buffet meals, at the Waikiki Sands, was a true bargain for the times, unfancy but fulfilling. The concept eventually evolved as current $80 buffets in other Waikiki resorts.
The Hilton Hawaiian Village Dome showed films and later featured visitor-aimed shows.
  • The Hilton Hawaiian Village Dome, a replica of the Cinerama Dome in Los Angeles, had film screenings (like “Around the World in 80 Days.” It eventually became a nightclub hub for such shows as “Paradise Found” and such singing headliners like Don Ho, Jim Nabors, and  magician John Hirokawa.
  • The first Bruno Mars concerts, at Blaisdell Arena. Our local superstar at his best. The Arena is expansive yet intimate. Consequently, the second Mars concert at Aloha Stadium had larger crowds but less intimacy. Still, watching our former Little Elvis on the stadium screens proved he’s still a certified star.


First, it was the abandoned “Magnum P.I.,” the filmed-in-Hawaii procedural that CBS axed after the season four finale, and belatedly, NBC came to the rescue.

After all, Magnum and Higgins smooched like A Hot Couple at the conclusion of season four, and, simply, there had to be a follow-up.

NBC became the hero,  enabling “Magnum” a season five which started filming Monday, as mentioned in this space earlier.

Of course, it’ll be too late for “Magnum” to  be in this year’s traditional fall return, already underway. So, fans will have to wait till January, 2023, for how the kiss between Magnum (Jay Hernandez) and Higgins (Perdita Weeks) plays out. Still not certain if the show will be on NBC, or sister streaming network Peacock, but you don’t have a negotiating edge when you’re on the skids. When “Magnum” airs, there will be only 10 episodes, half of the usual network parcel…

Then the other day, NBC announced it was picking up another “orphan” left on the church steps: The Golden Globes awards show. The awards program, often a prelude to the more respected Academy Awards, suffered a one-year boycott, because of alleged lack of diversity among the voting roster and internal show reforms. The Globes, a project of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., will air Jan. 10, 2023, on NBC and the sister Peacock streaming network, but because it’s a Tuesday night, it won’t be like the old days before the dismal and deserve shuttering. NBC has a longstanding lock on Sunday Night Football, an NFL staple.

Golden Globe statue

So, the network’s agreement with Dick Clark Productions, won’t be as lucrative because of the weeknight  roll-out. Again, when you’re in the outs, you take what’s offered to get in again…

Raymond Lee

NBC also latched onto the reboot of “Quantum Leap,” a series which starred Scott Bakula from 1989 to 1993. ‘Twas a time-travel fantasy, a hit show for Bakula, who lost his “NCIS: New Orleans” show last year, but though the Peacock sent the script to Bakula, to perhaps jump back into time-travel mode, he turned down the offer.

When he passed,  Raymond Lee, an Asian of South Korean ethnicity,  got the starring role as Dr. Sam Song, a quantum physicist who discovers a way to time-travel, and it’s a coup for an API actor, who said, “This is the role I’ve been waiting for.” He thought he was offered a secondary role but stunned when it was the headliner part.

The show technically is neither a prequel nor a sequel but perhaps a revival. It premiered Monday night and will also time-travel via NBC’s Peacock streaming venue. Not a bad deal. …

Broadway grosses, week ending Sept. 18

The leaders still led, but the sums are a skosh lower than in recent weeks.

So, No. 1 is “The Music Man,” just short of $3 million, at $2.945 million, remains 76 trombones strong and its charismatic leading man Hugh Jackman; No.” 2 is “Hamilton,” with its still powerful shot of $1.908 million, long after creator Lin-Manual Miranda left the building; and No. 3 is “MJ the Musical,” still a thriller (thanks to a Tony and Michael Jackson’s legacy), at $1.724 million.

Here’s the listing, courtesy The Broadway League:

And that’s Show Biz. …


Let the music flow.

Clarke Bright, who proudly holds the baton as bandmaster of the Royal Hawaiian Band, is assembling one of band’s biggest concerts yet.

“E Kani Mau” (“To Resound Forever)” will be staged at 7 p.m. Oct. 14 at the Hawaii Theatre.

The event is free (you have to secure reserved seats from the Hawaii Theatre) and will showcase a panorama of island entertainers — from soloists to trios, from hula halau to a children’s chorus – which will represent a spectrum of island musicianship.

“The city covers the cost for our regularly scheduled concerts,” said maestro Bright, who has led the Royal Hawaiian Band for 12 years. “This is a larger, celebratory concert, that requires a sizeable cost.”

Thus, funding has been provided by Karen Chang Blangiardi, wife of Mayor Rick Blangiardi, from The Creative City.

Bandmaster Clarke Bright

“I selected the guest artists based on who I thought would be a great representation of our Hawaiian musical community, and who were excellent artists,” said Bright. “We are also using some of our regular day-to-day performers, who are equally gifted and respected.”

The slate of participating entertainers includes Amy Hanaiali‘i, Danny Kaleikini, Nathan Aweau, Karen Keawehawai‘i, Keauhou, Andria Tupola, Augie Tulba, Makanani Sala, Malia Ka‘ai, Kala‘i Stern, Michael-Thomas Foumai, Kamehameha Schools’ Children’s Chorus, Halau Ka La ‘Onohi Mai O Ha‘eha‘e, Kanani Oliveira, and Ku‘ulei Hazelwood. Kimo Kahoana will emcee

“Yes – we are celebrating our resilience in continual service to the community and as the RHB – I wanted to go all Hawaiian,” said Bright. “ Yes, we have to create charts of varied styles.  We basically take their songs and arrange it for the RHB.  Our two arrangers, Todd Yukumoto and DeShannon Higa, have put in heroic efforts to allow us to accompany these artists.  They are brilliant musicians who are making this concert a reality.  Can’t do it without them.”

Royal Hawaiian Band, at Iolani Palace.

The Royal Hawaiian Band has roots in Hawaiian history; it was created by King Kamehameha in 1836, and thus has been in existence for 186 years, serving the monarchy (and now the city)  in state functions, ranging from funerals to parades.

Now an agency of the city, the band is the only full-time municipal band of its kind in the United States, performing in 360 events, large and small, annually.

When its musical “voice“ was silenced during the pandemic, the focus turned to assisting city initiatives, like food distribution, vaccination support, and call center. It became a healing ambassador to Queen’s Hospital during the vaccination process at Blaisdell Concert Hall.

“The adjustment to little or no music was very different for us,” Bright recalled. “ Being a city agency, we needed to continue to remain viable while doing our best to stay safe and healthy.  We started by doing some much-needed work on our music library – organizing, filing and creating digital copies.  We then started to serve the community.  As the pandemic continued, we reverted to chamber ensembles – primarily because of the gathering limits (crowd sizes)/  As the community continued to get healthy we eventually returned to our normal full band status.  But that also changed as the community went back and forth with restrictions.  We spent several seasons going back and forth from small ensembles to full band.  We have gratefully maintained our full band status since March of this year.”

The band has 38 fulltime members — with Don Hutchison (38 years) as the senior musician, Colton Hironaka (eight months), the newest —  and Bright calls the RHB “a gem of an organization, one of the only remaining links to the monarchy.”

Consequently, the program will honor Queen Liliuokalani, the last monarch, who “had to stay strong for her people during a pandemic and resilient though an overthrow of her kingdom.”

The concert will also feature the world premiere of a piece by Michael-Thomas Foumai, entitled “E Kani Mau,” that is the theme of the freebie. Musically, it tracks the story of the Royal Hawaiian Band “as we made our way through the pandemic. We can’t wait to share it with the community,” said Bright. “It will become part of our regular repertoire, going forward.”

To secure free tickets, visit www.hawaiitheatre.com/tickets. Information: (808) 768-6677 or www.rhb-music.com

And that’s Show Biz. …


Oh, what a night!

“Jersey Boys,” the musical biography of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, is in the midst of a two-week run at Blaisdell Concert Hall. It opened Sept. 13 and plays through Sept. 25, after being pushed back a couple of years ago because of the pandemic.

I took in last night’s (Sept. 16) performance; it’s still the best-ever jukebox musical because there’s a valid story with revelations, along with a fistful of No. 1 hits that made Valli and his partners a live-wire act for all seasons. And powerhouse renderings of the tunes that shaped the Seasons.

It’s the first time I’ve seen the show since its October 20O5 debut (it ran through 2017), where it was a huge success thanks to the frequent in-person appearances of Valli, early in the run; he’d pop in at the August Wilson Theatre in New York, to the delight of the producers and fans.  Less successful was the film version, which debuted in June 2014, directed by (of all people) Clint Eastwood.

It didn’t occur to me, when the show was new that it took nearly 50 minutes for one of the Four Seasons’ signatures would be sung and performed live. The prelude, to set up the characters and the potential of this yet-to-be-discovered attraction, seemed to stall like a used car. However, when the quartet finally gets all the cylinders going –starting with “Sherry” and “Big Girls Don’t Cry” — the ride was smooth and luxurious.

The Four Seasons, from left: Devon GoffmanEric ChamblissJon Hacker and Matt Faucher .

And let’s be honest: the applause, cheers and hurrahs for these iconic songs, plus the late-in-the-show Valli solo, “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” were earnest and genuine. And I was surprised that the enthused and immersed spectators didn’t take up the worship a notch up, by getting up on their feet and gyrating and bouncing to the tempo, like in a rock show.

The key four guys, who were The Four Lovers before they selected and shared the “seasons” with Vivaldi, are Jon Hacker as Valli (sweet and crisp, charming, most effective vocally with his three colleagues),  Eric Chambliss as Bob Gaudio (the business mind of the group),  Devon Coffman as Tommy DeVito (the bad-boy, trouble-making one) , and Matt Faucher as Nick Massi ( who delivers one of the best lines, referring to himself as a Ringo, like in The Beatles). They sing their expected harmonies with repetitive do-wop choreography perhaps mirroring the act’s stage manner; you might say that this sort of musical form is part imitation of the original figures, with the reproduction of the musical arrangements to capture the moment of rock/pop ecstasy.

It works.

Like “Beautiful,” the Carole King musical, “Jersey Boys” knows how to pace with grace; there are ample fully-sung tunes that magnify the magic of their music. Unlike the mediocre Elvis Presley-inspired “All Shook Up,” the Beach Boys tuner “Good Vibrations,” and the Gloria Estefan bio “On Your Feet,” these shows lacked stories with some grit and conflict, so the cut-and-pace, sing-and-dance song performances are difficult to sustain.

Directed by Des McAnuff (also known for directing “The Who’s Tommy” on Broadway) “Jersey” includes the blemishes and the blurs of the Valli tale, exploring a young kid with an unusual falsetto voice, his divorce, a daughter with a drug problem, and in-group challenges like private partnerships and unpaid debts.

The book is by Marshall Brickman and Rick Rice, with music by Bob Gaudio and lyrics by Bob Crewe.

The score is rich with memorable titles, including “My Eyes Adored You,” “Dawn (Go Away),” “Walk Like a Man,” “Stay,” “Working My Way Back to You,” and “Rag Doll.”   Some of the tunes are not Four Seasons hits, but were composed by Gaudio  (“Who Wears Short Shorts.,” “Cry for Me,” “I Still Care”) or Crewe (“Silhouettes,” “I Go Ape”).

“Jersey Boys” features a traveling orchestra of eight or nine, performing like a rock band early on and segueing into a pop fixture with brass tooters, bass thumps and riffs that sustain, particularly when the four key voices resonate.

Oh, what a night of flashback memories…

And that’s Show Biz. …


Running time: 2 hours, 40 minute, with intermission.

Playdates: varies, through Sept. 25.

Tickets: www.ticketmaster.com or Blaisdell box office at (808) 768-5252.

Advisory: Contains expletives, so young children should be alerted; facemasks recommended, but not required, due to the pandemic.


Keauhou, the prolific Hawaiian trio, will host and perform at its “i le‘a” album release launch, from 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday  (Sept. 17) at Moanalua Gardens.

The Na Hoku Hanahano Award-winning trio features Kahanuola Solatorio and brothers Nicholas and Zachary Lum, Kamehameha School graduates primed to preserve and perpetuate Hawaiian mele, inspired by those who have previously nurtured and embraced traditional Hawaiian music.

Had to inquire Keauhou on what the album title means; so Zachary Lum solved the mystery.

Keauhou members, from left: Kahanuola Solatorio, Zackary Lum and Nicholas Lum.

“To answer your question,’ i leʻa’ means ‘for the sake of fun/joy.’ After our first series of albums being heavily themed around a through-composed narrative, we felt it would be appropriate to offer mele for the sake of enjoyment first,” said Lum.

Surely, in these commonly turbulent times, there’s always room for more joyful, fun mele.

A roster of Hawaiiana faves also will be featured, including Robert Cazimero, Hoku Zuttermeister, the Ha‘eaha‘e Girls, Ka La ‘Onohi Mai o Ha‘eha‘e and Pi‘ikea Lopes (the reigning Miss Aloha Hula 2022 from the Merrie Moarch Festival).

Mele Apana, Lina Girl and Davey D will share emcee duties.

Kau kau will be available for purchase; lawn seating mats and chairs may be brought.

Tickets: https://ileakeauhou.eventbrite.com

The ‘Magnum’ buzz

Still no official announcements on when “Magnum P.I.” will assemble here to begin production on season five, but the buzz is that the cast is already assembling (and maybe hugging each other) to prep for the beginning of season five under the auspices of NBC instead of CBS.

Amy Hill

Met Amy Hill, who plays Tutu on the series, and when I asked her “when,” she quickly said “soon.” No other details. This happened last weekend at Manoa Valley Theatre’s “Cabaret.”

The season will include only 10 episodes and writers have been quietly completing scripts for the moment when someone yells “action,” to begin filming. Supposedly, on Monday.

Clearly, “Magnum” likely won’t be in its Friday slot nor will it be airing this season. Details are yet to come. Hope it lands a network slot, meaning NBC, instead of its streaming Peacock network.

And surely, since season four ended with that smackeroo between Magnum (Jay Hernandez)  and  Higgins (Perdita Weeks), the storyline should begin there and proceed to a formal “couple” status. So Magnum should bring out the ring. . …

Broadway grosses, week ending Sept. 11

Something’s amiss, in this week’s roster of Broadway show grosses, provided by the Broadway League. Simply, there’s at least one omission — numbers for Hugh Jackman’s “The Music Man” are missing. It’s been the No. 1 for weeks now.

So peruse, if you’re interest in the sums provided:

And that’s Show Biz …