Two show biz legends – pianist Rene Paulo, the patriarch of a family of entertainers, and recording engineer Milan Bertosa – have died this month.

Paulo (full name, Irenio Pagarigan Paulo) was 92 when he died peacefully yesterday (Jan. 11) at Tripler Army Medical Center. He and surviving wife Akemi Paulo were popular recording artists and a beloved lounge entertainment duo – he was on keyboards, she was the featured singer – at the Opus One club they owned at the Ilikai Hotel in Waikiki. They were the parents of saxophonist Michael Paulo and vocalist Kathy Paulo.

Rene Paulo at the keyboard.

Bertosa, a veteran sound engineer, died Jan. 1 at age 61 of an apparent heart attack. On New Year’s Eve, he was celebrating and prepping for the holidays with friends, according to his family, so his death was a surprise for all. Bertosa was an integral figure in recording the late Israel Kamakawiwo‘ole’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” global hit song.

Paulo was born in Wahiawa and excelled s in classical music, studying at the Juilliard School of Music in New York. He embraced other genres of music including jazz, pop and adult contemporary, and was dubbed “Hawaii’s Favorite and Most Famous Pianist” while performing in Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Tokyo. Paulo also joined son Michael in numerous smooth jazz gigs.

Earlier in his career, he recorded “Black Coral” on Liberty Records in 1959, “Tropical Heat Wave” in 1963, “The Best of Rene Paulo” in 1995, The Best of Rene & Akemi Paulo” in 1996.

 In addition to his entertainment career, Rene was in the Army and served during the Korean War.

 In a statement, Michael Paulo said of his dad, “As a child, even before I began playing the sax and not knowing anything about music … when I watched my dad play piano, I knew he was special and was not just another good musician.  The best way to describe my respect for him is when I say to people, ‘My Dad gave me enough talent from just his little finger to go on and be successful playing music on the world stage and play with some of the jazz and pop greats in our lifetime.’  I managed that with just a small portion of the gift he had.” 

He added, “That’s how great he was.  I chose to follow in his footsteps and pursue music as my life and I will continue his legacy for the rest of my life.”

Besides wife of 71 years Akemi (the former Lilian Tatsilp Shimoda), Paulo is survived by children Irenio Rene Paulo (Laverne), Michael Paulo (Terri), Victoria Tokujo (Roy), Kathleen Paulo-Hirai (George), Charlene Paulo Jubrail (Fadi) and Gail-Anne Namerow (Richard), as well as 21 grandchildren, 14 grandchildren-in-law, 42 great-grandchildren, 22 step great grandchildren and four great-great grandchildren.

 Other survivors include siblings Pablito Pagarigan, Olivia Simms (James – deceased), Susan Moniz (Theodore – deceased), Leonard Pagarigan (Jeanine) and Maria Clara Converse (Robert). 

Funeral services  are pending. …

Milan Bertosa at the sound board.

Bertosa will be remembered in a celebration of life event set for March  12 at Hawaiian Brian’s, though a time has not yet been disclosed on the venue’s website.

Bertosa, who had 700 album projects to his credit, is best known as the engineer on duty in 1988 when the late Israel Kamakawiwo‘ole showed up in the wee hours (3 a.m.) at a recording studio to do some work.

What Bruddah Iz did, as fans and the world would later learn, was render what would become his and Hawaii’s biggest hit, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” coupled with“What a Wonderful World,” when the open mike  recorded the tunes – in one take — complete with the iconic and historic “Ooo-ooo-ooo-ooo” intro and Iz’s altered lyrics to the tune popularized by Judy Garland in the film, “The Wizard of Oz.”

The recording would wind up in Bruddah Iz’s “Facing Future” CD, which Bertosa shared with producer Jon de Mello of the Mountain Apple Company, and ultimately included in the album released in 1993.

The tune, because of Iz’s unique take, was heard on TV’s “ER” and in such films as “Meet Joe Black” and “50 First Dates,” and scores of commercial jingles.

Bertosa was a Yugoslavia native, whose family fled the Soviet-occupied region, landing in Chicago when he was 7. He  relocated to Honolulu in 1988, establishing a reputation as one of the best sound engineers here, earning four Na Hoku Hanohano Awards.

He operated Audio Resources Hawaii, a studio just outside of Waikiki,  but moved to a Young Street destination which was the former Sounds of Hawaii studio operated by Herb Ono. Bertosa was chief studio engineer for the Mountain Apple label before working as a free-lancer.

He is survived by his wife, Maya. Friends have launched a GO FUND ME page to assist with medical and funeral expenses. …

Kaipo Hale

Around town

Kaipo Hale and Hoku Zuttermeister will guest-sing with Ho‘okena’s Horace Dudoit III and Glen Smith from 6 to 9 p..m.  this Satuarday (Jan. 14) at Kani Ka Pila Grille at the Outrigger Reef Hotel. Expect Hawaiiana fans to flock to this one. …

Jack Cione, the veteran entrepreneur and producer-director of the Follies revue at the Arcadia, has been released from the hospital to recuperate from pneumonia in isolation in his apartment.  By now, he should be cleared to resume life as usual including trips to the dining room instead of eating meals delivered to his room. …

And that’s Show Biz. …


Danny “Kaniela”  Kaleikini, the beloved “Ambassador of Aloha” known for his constant welcomes of “alooooooha” to audiences and friends, died early today (Jan. 6) at Saint Francis Hospice, where he had been hospitalized. He was 85.

In a career spanning more than five decades, including a 28-year stint at the fabled Kahala Hilton beachfront Hala Terrace,  Kaleikini established a wide following, rendering Hawaiian, Tahitian and international melodies, becoming the first island entertainer to stage a Polynesian show outside of the Waikiki 96825 zip code. His five-year Kahala contract, beginning in 1967, was expanded to nearly 30 years until it was terminated on Dec. 31, 1994, when the hotel took on new owners.

Danny Kaleikini

Kaleikini was one of the golden baritones of his generation, who performed on the Hawaiian nose flute in his shows. His audiences were international in scope but he was a particular favorite with Japanese visitors, enabling him to make numerous Japan appearances.

Kaleikini was a proud product of Papakolea, a district where he attended Roosevelt High School, Kawananakoa Intermediate School (where he was student body president), and Royal Elementary school.

Before gaining fame at the Kahala, Kaleikini was mentored by band leader Ray Kinney and comic hula dancer and singer Hilo Hattie; the later encouraged him to always speak standard English, instead of pidgin, a blessing that led him to headline at the Hawaiian Village Hotel (now the Hilton) Tapa Room, succeeding Alfred Apaka following his death.

Kaleikini quickly learned the tricks of his trade, also studying Japanese so he could welcome his Nippon guests, and he was a savvy host,  also welcoming his audiences in multiple languages, tagging on his “alooooooha.”

Danny Kaleikini, with grandson Nicholas

Survivors also include his wife, Jacqueline Wong, from whom he was separated; daughter Keikilani, and grandson Nicholas, with whom he Kaleikini often performed during his retirement. His companion in recent times has been Linda Wong.

Kaleikini also had a son, Danjacques, who died at age 29.

Services are pending.


The holidays proved to be blessing for the Broadway community – and an unexpected No. 1 emerged with a whopping $4 million gross for the week ending Jan. 1.

 “The Lion King,” fresh from its 25th anniversary the past year, logged a stunning $4.31 million from nine performances last week, doing one more show than the usual eight. (I guess the back-to-back holiday slot made most shows do one extra performance that week). Thus, the “Lion” became king of the grosses, between Christmas and New Year’s celebrations.

The $4 million gross was the first-ever posted for Broadway, so it’s a historical moment.

The top ten also was a free-for-all for long-running musicals with unexpected power and glow at the box office, toppling even “Hamilton,” usually in the top two or three in the playbook..

So the rest of the top 10:

No. 2 – “The Music Man,” $3.971 million.

No. 3 – “Wicked,” with $3.215 million.

No. 4 – “Aladdin,” with $2.849 million.

No. 5 – “The Phantom of the Opera,” with $2.786 million.

No. 6“Hamilton,” with $2.74 million.

No. 7 – “Beetlejuice,” with $2.462 million.

No. 8 – “Funny Girl,” with “$2.405 million.

No. 9 – “MJ,” with “$2.223 million.

No.10—“Moulin Rouge,” with $1.975 million.

If you’ve been following my reportage of the pulse of the Great White Way, this is quite amazing, ain’t it?  The burst of holiday visitors in New York, coupled with the Christmas and New Year’s timing, put the jingle and tingle at the box office.

The figures are courtesy the Broadway League:

Project Shaka seeks funding

The shaka sign needs help, with donations sought to erect a sculpture  that would be a popular landmark and destination.

The shaka sign.

You know it, you use it several times a day. It’s a noun that also is a verb, and young and old alike know it.

The shaka sign says a lot without words. Aloha. Hello. Howzit. Hang loose.

You know how to flash the sign. Thumb and pinkie fingers up, the other three down, and deliver with a smile.

You recall, Steve Sue, an entrepreneur, has produced a related film, “Shaka, a Story of Aloha,” that explores the shaka phenom and a project that would also someday legitimize the sign.

To support and donate to get the sculpture completed, go to …

Manoa Valley’s next is interactive ‘Drood’

 Manoa Valley Theatre will present “The Mystery of Edwin Drood,” a musical whodunit by Rupert Holmes based on the unfinished novel of Charles Dickens, opening Jan. 12 and running through Jan. 29.

Audiences will have the chance to become the ultimate detective and help decide who the murderer is.

Cast of Manoa Valley Theatre’s “Edwin Drood” musical whodunit.

The cast features Christopher Denton as The Chairman, Miguel Cadoy III as John Jasper (Mr. Clive Paget), Kim Anderson as Rosa Bud (Miss Deirdre Peregrine), Chelsea Carlisle as Edwin Drood (Miss Alice Nutting), Alexandria Zinov as Helena Landless (Miss Janet Conover), Suzanne Johnson Green as Princess Puffer (Miss Angela Prysock), Alex Bishop as Neville Landless (Mr. Victor Grinstead), Chris Moylan as Reverend Crisparkle (Mr. Cedric Moncrieffe), Don Farmer as Bazzard (Mr. Phillip Bax), Andrew Baker as Durdles (Nick Cricker Sr.), Jace Furuto as Deputy (Nick Cricker Jr.), Emily-Kim Maldonado as Wendy (Isabel Yearsley), Gina Miyazaki as Beatrice (Violet Balfour), Bailey Garton as Sarah (Gwendolen Pynn), Korynn Grenert as Flo (Florence Gill), Natalie Malia Figuracion Borsky as Estella (Montague Pruitt), Sean Kaya as Horace (Nicholas Michael), Issac Liu as Medford Moss and Garrett Hols as James Throttle.

The tech staff  includes Miles Phillips, director and co-choreographer with Taylor Gruver; Jenny Shiroma, musical director; Michael Covert, assistant director; Shell Dalzel, technical director; Andrew Doan, scenic director; Willie Sabel, scenic art director; John Cummings, prop designer; Jonah Bobilin, lighting director; Hannah Jitsukawa, costume designer; Amber Lehua Baker, costume supervisor; Lisa Ponce de Leon, hair and makeup designer;  Lock Lynch, sound and designer and engineer; and Sarah Velasco, assistant sound designe.r

Performances are on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, with curtain at 7:30 p.m. daily and 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Tickets: $42 for adults, $37 for seniors and military, $24 for youths 25 and younger, available by phone at  (808) 988-6131 or online at …

And that’s Show Biz. …


Comedian Frank DeLima tackles a common New Year’s resolution dilemma, wondering “What I going to do ‘bout my big opu?”

It’s fun stuff – creating parodies is his passion, when he’s not doing his daytime school tours or doing a rare night club gig – and his newest video (with tongue firmly in cheek) alleges he’s uncertain what to do with his swelling opu.

The observation, clearly, is that overeating at the holiday parties is the lure.

Frank DeLima

Potluck buffet lines, ono grinds, tasty treats ‘neath the Christmas tree.

We’ve all been through this over time, and restraint is not the common rule when snacks and celebrations challenge you to indulge.

“Now I know how fo get rid of my big opu,” he sings, clearly aware that over-indulgence is the villain. The remedy is not exactly exciting, as he continues, “Eat food dat taste like sawdust ad cardboard, too “Drink plenny wadda, keep da tummy full.”

While DeLima’s video reflects growing confidence and comfort in making these parodies, the overweight issue seems to be overplayed every season, and continues to be a steady lament but impossible scheme for most.


You may recognize the melody as “Red Opu,” a composition by R. Alex Anderson, and recorded by Clara Inter, aka Hilo Hattie.

Since posting a video on this site is not possible, visit my Facebook page at to watch the clip.  Or go to, where it is posted and where you should make a donation to DeLima’s Student Enrichment program to download and share it …

Cione hospitalized with pneumonia

Jack Cione, veteran show entrepreneur, has been battling pneumonia and is in isolation at a local hospital. An Arcadia resident, Cione was admitted to the hospital a few days after he returned from a cruise around the neighbor islands before Christmas, and he may have picked up the virus on the trip.

Jack Cione

A colleague reports that Cione has difficulty breathing and consequently has been on oxygen.

He has difficulty talking, too, so the swarm of phone calls from concerned friends should be halted.

A perennial active sort, Cione last month secured an electric scooter to assist in his mobility, and he scootered to the cruise ship instead of walking with his cane.

He may have retrieved his iPad so could possibly be stimulated to check emails and keep up with world news, but perhaps it’s best that allies send get-well cards to him at the Arcadia, which would be a welcome gift when he’s released from the hospital. Get well, Jack, we all miss you and send prayers and tidings of cheer. …

And that’s Show Biz. …