Talk about must-see TV.  Last week’s pair of specials – “Carol Burnett: 90th Years of Laughter+Love”  on Wednesday on NBC and James Corden’s farewell in two segments dubbed “The Last Last Late Late Show with James Corden”  on CBS on Thursday —  were splendid spectacles for the armchair brigade.

And the ratings showed audiences approved, too. The Burnett blockbuster logged 7.6 million viewers in true prime-time, and the Corden finale drew 1.43 million viewers, over two segments, one in prime, the other in late night lane. Hope you saw these shows.

Carole Burnett, with Julie Andrews at the bash.

The wattage of stars assembling to pay homage to Burnett included such iconic celebs like Julie Andrews, Cher, Allison Janney, Susan Lucci, Kristen Wiig, Laura Dern, and Maya Rudolph, with additional notables in TV clips, largely from Burnett’s indelible and incredible shows that made her a TV queen. Many live vocalizing, too, from the likes of Katy Perry, Bernadette Peters and Kristin Chenowith.
Vicki Lawrence, a surviving luminary from Burnett’s gallery of greats, was a standout. Cast greats Harvey Korman, Lyle Waggoner and Tim Conway were remembered in numerous comedic sketches, each demonstrating keen timing…before bursting out in laughter.

Corden’s goodbye boasted a pair of powerhouse stars, Adele returning to the driver’s seat in a funny, impressive “Carpool Karaoke” rendering, which attracted 3.65 million viewers.

James Corden and Tom Cruise in”Hakuna Makata.”

Then Tom Cruise, not one to commonly get out of his comfort zone as a Hollywood biggie, was a good sport, joining Corden in a surprise cameo in “The Lion King,” and appeared in fuel regalia for the “Hakuna Makata” number, before a real audience at The Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles. Imagine the squeals of delight! ‘Twas also kinda a first, for a Broadway show, would accept this kind of intrusion, but certainly, it was win-win for Corden, Cruise and the Disney empire.

In the second segment, Harry Styles, in chic yellow pants and jacket, demonstrated his smooth style, offering “As It Was,” prompting social media buzz with more than 96,000 mentions and 932 million impressions.

Yep, ’twas TV at its best. …

One in, one out at DHT

Talk about confusing; Diamond Head Theatre has altered its 2023-24 season, in the midst of its campaign to get season subscribers to renew their subscriptions. The addition of one show and the exclusion of another has altered the lineup.

DHT will include Disney’s “Frozen,” and pegged it as a Hawaii premiere, beginning July 26.

That was the slot for “My Fair Lady,” and we erroneously said “Lady” was bumped in earlier reportage. But not so; it’s still aboard, moving up to a Dec. 1 premiere, replacing the previously-scheduled “Scrooge, the Stingiest Man in Town,” which has been yanked.

The rest of the season is intact: “Mamma Mia” bows Sept. 22, “The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940,” opens Feb. 2; “Kiss Me Kate,” arrives April 5; and “Tootsie,” premieres May 31.

With “Scrooge” erased from the agenda, it’ll be the second season in a row where DHT has no Christmas show.

DHT needs to update its season flier, without “Scrooge,” but with “Frozen,” and with “Lady” in its new position.

Also, a new season flyer should be issued to season ticket holders, perhaps with a new cover message from John Rampage, DHT artistic director. …

And that’s Show Biz. …


Robert Cazimero is the skipper of the Lei Day ship that sails onto the lawn of Bishop Museum on Monday, which is May Day, the annual celebration of Hawaiian song and dance.

For the four decades I’ve been following and reporting on Robert’s growth and career, I can tell you that his magic doesn’t happen without determination and desire. When he was part of The Brothers Cazimero, with his late brother Roland, Robert was always the brain and inspiration of putting on a show.  Whether it was strictly cultural with his Hālau Na Kamalei O Lililehua, his incredible hula ensemble which also sings, or in commercial and seasonal ventures in venues like the Royal Hawaiian Hotel’s Monarch Room, the Waikiki Shell , the Blaisdell Arena, Blue Note Hawaii or alone behind a piano at Chef Chai (restaurateur Chai Chaowasaree bought the grand piano to enable the restaurant to schedule ongoing monthly Full Moon concerts), Robert’s fingerprints always prevailed.

Robert, pictured left, always searches for themes and revels in authenticity and often taps guest artists – dear friends —  who bring mana’o and mele to the party.

On the eve of the Lei Day event, Robert was prodded to provide answers to questions I shot his way:

Question: Were you introduced to Lei Day while at Fern School? Was it a happy memory? Had a lei? During those days, schools had the May Day pole dance.

Answer: My earliest memories of May Day is Mama in the yard picking plumeria to make lei for us to wear to school. Never fully understood the foundation of it until much later. My 6th grade at Fern School made me King of May Day with my Queen, Lynette Palama. My mom was so excited; I think I needed a white shirt (short sleeve) and white pants. My mom and family members made a crown of white crown flowers, and I wore an Alfred Apaka-like red carnation lei. I remember being most excited to do the May Pole dance with the rest of my school mates.

Q:  “Make a lei. Wear a lei. Give a lei.” When and how did this evolve?

A: The phrase, ‘make a lei, wear a Lei, give a lei’ is a direct quote from my kumu hula, Ma‘iki Aiu Lake. Before we started doing May Day at the Shell, we – Ala, Wayne Chang, good friends and sometimes Ma‘iki herself would meet on ‘the day’ at the old Tahitian Lanai. We loved the eggs benedict and the banana muffins; we’d eat, party, and give lei that we’d make, wear lei and then when done, head to the Bandstand at Kapiolani Park for the appearance of the May Day queen and her court, the entertainment, as well as the lei contest there It was always restive.

.Q:  With all the juggling you have in your life as singer and kumu, are you a good planner to tend to halau, your monthly Full Moon concert, special shows like Lei Day and working treks to Japan?

A:  I definitely learned to be more prepared, communicate better with fellow cast members and make sure everyone has the same picture I have in my mind. Great communication is an amazing key to success. It is also so very true that it takes a village. Many friends, teachers, associates have helped me to get to his point.

Q: Surely, your Hawaiiana history dates back to your parents, but Kamehameha has been a foundation and a fount for cultural relevancy. Did you ever imagine you’re now up there among the iconic entertainers of the past, from Ma’iki Aiu Lake to Gabby Pahinui, from Iolani Luahine to Eddie Kamae, from Alfred Apaka to Ed Kenney, from Loyal Garner to Beverly Noa, from Edith Kanaka‘ole  to Don Ho, from Willie K to Palani Vaughan, from Haunani Kahalewai to Hilo Hattie

A: I owe a generous percentage of my life’s gratitude to Kamehameha Schools. Just as much to my mom and dad. The consideration of being ‘iconic’ or a ‘legend’ is the last thing ever on my mind. I still get nervous when I think about the real ones, the excitement of meeting them for the first time, to sing with them, party hearty and to know that I said hello to Nina, Goofy, Sam Kapu, Jerry Santos, Quack … that they would say hi back to me. My job today includes talking about them all as much as possible. People use the word ‘legend’ far too quickly. It takes time, and I mean that sincerely. That I’m still here performing the style of Hawaiian music I love and owe so much to, is an honor.

Q: As a senior now, do you still have mountains to climb, and happy about your achievements? Are there any regrets?

A: I still have mountains to climb as a 74-year-old guy. Most of it is physical, LOL. I thought after Roland passed that I would just sit on my laurels and watch the sunset.

Ha! Fat chance! Not with pals like Kuana, Vicky, Zach, Bu, Jonah and HNKOL. I’ve got work to do and ahhh, it makes me happy. Regrets? One. I wish I could have understood more of what my brother Roland (pictured, right, with Robert) was going through when it came to his health challenges. From what I’ve gathered about myself since then, I think I could have been more understanding and loving. Such an interesting place, to find myself, a so-called ‘legend,’ raised in Kalihi, still trying to be the best I can, living in one of the most beautiful places in the world, getting ready to do a sold-out show for May Day Is Lei Day in Hawaii… 

And, FYI, after responding to the Qs, after-glow comment from Robert: “I had no idea this was in me.” …

Robert Cazimero on keyboard, with Keauhou in background.

The Lei Day event will be staged from 5 to 9 p.m. Monday –- the concert will be from 7 to 9 p.m., preceded by a Ho’omau Market offering food and more — with starlight galore in a cast that includes lifetime serenaders Nina Keali‘iwahamana and Jerry Santos;  17-time Na Hoku Hanohano Awards winners Keauhou; and hula by Hālau Ka Lehua Tuahine under the direction of kumu hula Ka‘ilihiwa Vaughn Darval. Debbie Nakanelua-Richards and Billy V will share emcee duties. Tickets are $30 to $120, available at….

And that’s Show Biz. …


Feel the chill? Diamond Head Theatre has secured the rights to be the first community group to stage the Disney film-turned-stage hit “Frozen,” involving Elsa and Ella and amid a wintery wonderland.

The popular musical – a Hawaii premiere — will top DHT’s 2023-2024 season and will be staged July 26 through Aug. 11, 2024.

It will replace “My Fair Lady,” originally pegged in that time slot. Thus, data in an earlier DHT season mailer are now incorrect and obsolete.

Current season subscribers will get first dibs in securing tickets, through May 19, 2023.

The new season will include “Mamma Mia!,” “Scrooge, the Stingiest Man in Town,” “The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940,” “Kiss Me Kate,” and “Tootsie,” with “Frozen” winding up the season.

New season subscribers will have to wait till early summer to order tickets. …

Tony nominees will be named May 2

Nominees for this year’s 76th annual Tony Awards will be announced May 2, in a ceremony hosted by Lea Michele, currently starring in “Funny Girl,” and Myles Frost, , last year’s Best Actor in a Musical for his role as Michael Jackson in “MJ, the Musical.”

The announcement will be streamed via the Tony Awards’ YouTube channel

The actual Tony Awards program will be staged June 11, originating at the United Palace in Washington Heights, New York, and airing live via CBS…

Symphonies important

The Hawaii Symphony Orchestra staged four free concerts at the Hawaii Theatre for school keiki and their teachers, with 3,200 listeners tuning in April 20 and 21.

What a splendid treat. The HSO’s Fund for Education and Community Engagement partnered with other community resources to make the shows possible. Others engaged in the endeavor included Hawaii Theatre’s Partners in Arts Program, the U.S. Forest Service, the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture, and the Arts, and DOFAW (the Division of Forestry and Wildlife). Students in grades 4 through 12 were eligible to attend, and the performances focused on music and themes connecting classical music, hula, art, science and the importance of Hawaii’s native forests, linking visuals with live performances.

I recall, from way back in time (and memory), that I saw and heard my first symphonic music when the Honolulu Symphony, the predecessor of HSO, performed “Peter and the Wolf” at the McKinley High School Auditorium. The maestro was George Barati, just to indicate how long ago this was, and while the Hawaii Theatre already was standing, it likely was waiting for the renovation that came, and Blaisdell Concert Hall was not yet erected.

I was not wholly mesmerized by  the classical genre, but the early exposure was an important revelation: that there was a spectrum of music I would explore in the years to come. …

And that’s Show Biz. ….


It’s been months, since I’ve had breakfast for dinner. ‘Tis the breakfast item — two eggs, plus hamburger patty, with a side of brown gravy — from Liliha Bakery.

The meal comes with rice and a side salad, Just the right fare last night, at the Macy’s Ala Moana Center location.


There have been four additions and one subtraction in the “Lilo & Stitch” cast list for Disney’s first live-action feature film, shooting here for eight weeks.

New to the cast:

  • Tia Carrere, pictured left, the island singer-actress from the original animated series, returns to play the child services character Mrs. Keoka.
  • Amy Hill, pictured right, Kumu from “Magnum P.I.,” will play Tutu, an elderly character. She is widely known for enacting motherly and grandmother characters.
  • Courtney B . Vance, pictured right below, a veteran actor on Broadway, in films and on TV,  will be Cobra Bubbles.
  • Kaipo Dudoit, pictured left, a member of Robert Cazimero’s Halau Na Kamalei O Lililehua,has been tapped to perform the David character, replacing the earlier-announced  Kahiau Machado, who dropped outfollowing a Disney internal social media audit revealing some negatives.

Maia Kealoha, of course, is the title character Lilo with Chris Sanders voicing her best buddy. Stitch, who will be a computer-generated character.

Dean Fleischer Camp will helm the project from the Chris Kekaniokalani Bright screenplay…

Mom’s the word

Mother’s Day – May 14 – offers a few splendid shows to honor all moms this year.

Among the attractions:

  • Amy Hanaiali‘i , pictured left, headlines the largest show, heralding the 25th anniversary of “Palehua,” a song she recorded with the late Willie K, from  2 p.m. May 14, at the Hawaii Theatre. Her co-stars will be Kainani Kahaunaele and her daughter; Pomaik‘ai Keawe Lyman with her daughters; Marlene Sai, and Mailani Maka‘ina‘i. Tickets are $35 to $75, available at
  • Na Leo Pilimehana’s Mother’s Day brunch concert, is slated  at 10:00 a.m. May 14 at the Hawaii Convention Center ballroom. Doors open at 10 a.m. for brunch, served from 10:30 a.m; show at noon. General admission entry, from 11:45 a.m.  Nalani Jenkins, Angela Morales, and Lehua Kalima will feature Josh Tatofi as their guest star. Tickets are $65 (general) to $110 (reserved, with brunch),  $80 for children3 to 11,  available at

Comedian Frank DeLima , pictured right, will present his Mother’s Day brunch show at 1 p.m. May 14 at Blue Note Hawaii. Premium seating is $45, loge and bar area is $25. Beverage and brunch options available. Tickets at or call (808) 777-4890. …

And that’s Show Biz. …