Consolidated Theatre’s abrupt announcement that it was shutting down the multi-plex at the Koko Marina Shopping Center is disheartening but not surprising.

The facility opened on July 6, 1984, as a twin theater but evolved into an eight-screen suburban film house on Oct. 1, 1999.

I saw “Oppenheimer” last Sunday and “Barbie” last night.

Business was scanty, but let’s face it: Koko Marina merchants have been making a quick exit.

There were clear hints that a shutdown was coming:

  • The concession stand has not been restocking candy; last night, when I got that free combo pack of a small soda, small popcorn, and a choice of a box of sweets, there was no choice but Raisenets. I liked Goobers best, but that’s not been an option for months. And the Butterfingers also was out.
  • Last Sunday, three or four of the smaller screen theaters had broken air-conditions, with a warning posted at the ticket desk.
  • Last night, there were four or five urinals in the men’s restroom that were covered with plastic and signage that said they were broken.
  • The theater has not utilized its usual box office for ticketing; when the indoor door was open, I could see piles of boxes and debris galore. It’s simpler, I guess, to do biz from that concession space.

Koko Marina Theatres’ closure not surprising.

Clearly, Consolidated has let the theaters deteriorate over time. Koko Marina was not part of the re-imaging of the cinema experience, with lounge seating. Costly, for sure, but an indicator that East Oahu has not been a priority. Even the nameplate outside was not functioning for quite a while (the lights were out for the numeral 8) but repaired recently.

So, the closure on Sunday is sad but part of the reality at Koko Marina.

Assaggio also closes its doors Sunday. Zippy’s beat ‘em to the punch, eliminating the dining room and only doing take-out. Ben Franklin pulled out several doors down from the theater, and a game room biz tried to make a go there but couldn’t.

A string of tenants, from Al Phillips and around the corner to the UPS store (it’s still open), had leak and mold issues, so are history.

I’ve been doing my community best to patronize merchants at the center – dined at the Kona Brewing Company last night and Harbor Village, the Chinese-food restaurant tucked away on the unseen side of Koko Marina last Tuesday – since it’s important to support your area merchants.
The still-in-construction restaurant next to Assaggio faces a dismal future, with many dark spots, like Fatboys across the way. Moena Café seems to be holding out, with its niche audience.

Roy’s following is steady, and its 35-year run down the street at the Hawaii Kai Towne Center is admirable. Scratch, at the former Outback Steakhouse site, is struggling with a menu that is not appealing and pricey.

But the big blow is the shuttering of the movie theater. Consolidated is offering $7 tickets and free popcorn Friday through Sunday’s closing, but it’s too little too late.

Will the Sunday church services be pau after the shutdown?  Could Consolidated do what Zippy’s did, and operate only certain screening rooms? What do you do with a space with lots of seats but broken toilets?  Will other businesses open and tap the space for other purposes?

Perhaps theater groups – stage attractions – can find a way to build stages and dressing rooms to do live musicals and plays, with rentals based on use?

Just wondering and hoping the space doesn’t just sit and wait for the destruction…

HJQ performing at Beerworks

John Kolivas (pictured right) and his HonoluluJazz Quartet will perform from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Aug. 7 at the Honolulu Beerworks, at 328 Cooke Street in Kakaako

The group will be celebrating its recent Na Hoku Hanohano Award for Jazz Album of the Year.

There is no cover charge or minimum but seating is limited. …

Broadway + four-part harmonies

The Sounds of Aloha, the barbershop quart group, will stage
“Broadway Over the Years,” at 7:33 p.m. Aug.12 at the Hawaii Theatre.

Guest star Shari Lynn (pictured left) will be a featured attraction, opening the second act of the program.

After Hours, an international award-winning barbershop quartet, also will be on the roster.

Tickets: $12 to $49, at www.hawaiitheatre.com or (808) 528-0506. …

Broadway grosses, week ending July 23

Broadway’s long-running musicals, led by “The Lion King,” still rule at the box office.

For the week ending July 23, the Lucky 7 were:

1 –“The Lion King,” $2.469 million

2– “Wicked,”$1.916 million.

3 — “Hamilton,” $1.892 million.

4 — “Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” $1.830 million.

5 — “MJ, the Michael Jackson Musical,” $1.622 million.

6 — “Aladdin,” $1.617 million.

7 — “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” $1.435 million.

The full list, courtesy The Broadway League:

And that’s Show Biz …


“The Chinese Lady,” now at the Manoa Valley Theatre, is a revealing and riveting drama about a 14-year-old Chinese native girl exhibited to New Yorkers in 1834…as if she were a sideshow oddity.

For the next five decades, this girl becoming a woman is exhibited as a curiosity from the Orient whose manners and lifestyle can be observed by Americans, who paid admission to gawk and inspect.

From one viewpoint, you may think this is racism of the worse kind: exhibiting a foreigner simply because she is different. On the other hand, this is somewhat of a history lesson – in a staged theatrical setting –that requires the viewers to focus and concentrate and learn from Afong Moy (alternately portrayed by Jennifer Yee Stierli and Diana Wan) about the idiosyncrasies of humankind.

Diana Wan is Afong May, Alvin Chan is Atung, in MVT’s “The Chinese Lady.”

Which of the actress enacting the part was not identified nor announced at a performance I attended, but she was steadfast and compelling as a non-American telling an immigrant’s story of acceptance despite widely different roots.

The play, by Lloyd Suh, is based on real-life experiences, and is directed by Reiko Ho, with requisite respect and affection, polishing an imaginative mirror that reflects generational strife and challenges of being different in America. The play was to close July 30, but has been extended for three additional performances, at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 4 and 5, and at 3 p.m. Aug. 6.

Chinese playgoers might be particularly interested to see and hear the experiences of a person from the past and the challenges of being Asian in an American realm. Could their ancestors be part of this element?

The character supposedly is a goodwill ambassador from Guangdong Province, sold by her father to promoters for promotional purposes to build potential trade with China. But the positioning of her uniqueness, in this case an apt pagoda-style single set adorned with the feel and accoutrements of a Chinese home (shelving, tea pot and cup), makes her somewhat of circus act to gaze at, like a sideshow bearded lady, rather than a human as part of the puzzle that is  mankind.  

It’s not the kind of Ellis or Angel Island welcome, where immigrants can plant American roots for a possible future in the land of hope and opportunity.

That said, Afong Moy is delighted in staging her recurring and episodic duties, drinking tea, having dinner, talking about and showing her bound feet (a Chinese tradition among women), and dancing around her seat for exercise. She intermittently chats with Atung (Alvin Chan), a collaborator who is translator and kind shoulder to lean on, who attends to her needs and opens and closes a curtain on the set.

“My entire life is a performance,” Afong says at one point. That’s because she doesn’t know another life outside the globe of scrutiny.

There’s delicate chemistry between the two roles, two souls caught in the web of loneliness, together but yet far apart.  There are a few comedic moments, necessary in the otherwise static journey though time.

For MVT, the show is a modest milestone, with an all-Chinese acting and directing team.

The artisans do good work here; sets by Michelle A. Bisbee, lighting by Janine Myers, sound design by Mattea Mazzella, costumes by Maile Speetjens, hair and makeup by Ho and Speetjens, props by La Tanya Fasmausili-Siliato, and scenic artistry by Willie Sabel are superb, visually stunning and properly easy on the ears.

And that’s Show Biz. …

The Chinese Lady’

A drama by Lloyd Suh, directed by Reiko Ho

Where: Manoa Valley Theatre

When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, held over Aug. 3 to 8.

Tickets: $25 to $42 at  www.manoavalleytheatre.com  or (808) 988-6131


Felt a creative urge yesterday, so decided to work on a summerish note card. Had this snack-laden paper, which lacked a local punch, so decided to do several variations of this aloha shirt card, capped with a strawberry shave ice, that’s now part of my Wild Cards catalogue. Happy summer!


Finally, there’s an appealing and sensational on-stage attraction befitting the new theater.

This outing – DHT’s season-closing endeavor – finally hits all the right notes after the largely lackluster “Cinderella” and “The Bodyguard,” the two attractions preceding “Beauty.”

On every front, this one’s a wonderment, with the essential experience and aura of a magical kingdom, a title that Disney now owns outright.

The musical, based on Disney’s 1991 hit animated film, features music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, and book by Linda Woolverton.

At its core, this is a love story waiting to bloom; a prince becomes a beast-like figure when he falls under a spell from an enchantress; the only way he can undo the spell is to fall in love with Belle, whose father gets trapped in the lair of the beast, and she is held hostage.

Thus, the moral is to chill and learn to love, and the curse will end if Belle, a book-loving woman, sees beyond his mean demeanor and animal-like physique, and kisses him, and, yes, they’ll live happily ever after. In other words, don’t judge a book by its cover.

Director David Spangenthal (inventive, daring, spirited, pictured above) is a triple-threat in this “tale as old as time,” appearing as the Beast/Prince and also credited with the stunning choreography, making each task look easy. Clearly, he’s a singer, dancer, and a theatrical wizard – his Beast is a powerhouse of emotions on “If I Can’t Love Her.”

Spangenthal’s casting is remarkable. Beauty is a beauty (Emily North, pictured above, right, with a voice of an angel and alternately feisty and Disney princess-like, graceful, and wistful on “Home”), supplemented by brilliant choices for the humans-caught-in-the-spell:  Garrett Hols (Gaston, aptly boorish, pompous, and self-loving on “Me” and “Gaston”), Samuel Budd (Lefou, Gaston’s punchy sidekick, delightfully impish), Kyle Malis (Cogsworth, tick-tocking timely advice), David Sheftell (as Lumiere, the candelabra with a beaut of a voice, and hands of candles, warmly welcoming on “Be Our Guest” ), Cathy Foy (as Mrs. Pott, the teapot, with pipes that deliver the show’s signature title song), and Julie Okamura (Madame de la Grande Bousch, a walking wardrobe chest of drawers with functioning doors and drawers).

Samuel Budd( Lefou) and Garrett Hols (Gaston), in “Beauty and the Beast.”

These fairy tale characters would not be effective were it not for the magic of new resident costumer Emily Lane, whose creations run the gamut from traditional gowns to the Beast (as a monster, as a Prince), plus specialty garb like the uncustomary costumes including a spout-arm for Mrs. Potts, and fantasy finery for Lumiere, Cogsworth and Madame de la Grand Bousch. That’s sew biz!

Cathy Foy, center, as Mrs. Potts, the teapot, in “Beauty and the Beast.”

There’s also the kitchen implements bearing larger-than-life fork, spoon, and knife, and a brigade of tools like a handmixer, a corkscrew, and a brush.

Kudos, too, to set and lighting designer Dawn Oshima, who finally converts the DHT space into a palate befitting a fairy tale:  a range of scenic background slide projections (the village, the Beast’s lair, scenic skies and mountains and gigantic full moon), platforms and stairways that are utilized in different positioning. The visuals enhance the acting/dancing, elements that have been lacking earlier even with fly space. In one scene, the Beast reveals a surprise for book-loving Belle, three airy book-filled shelves comprising a library, floating beautifully.

Belle’s home is a bright yellow with red door and windows, spartan but suitable for a storybook set, and an oversized plate is an unexpected eye-filler in one scene, which reflects a huge budget for scenery and props.

Spangenthal’s choreography on “The Mob Song,” featuring Hols’ Gaston, earns the largest applause of the evening, for the well-executed mob dancing while clinking flagons, an apparatus-version of the slap dance. Great timing, grand sequence. And Spangenthal repeatedly displays a knack of movement/dancing on entrances and exits with ease and aplomb.

Chip (Mrs. Potts’ son), is cute and effective, with beaming face from a large teacup with a chip, with his body concealed in a cabinet (the role is double-cast, with Tobias Ng-Osorio and Philex Kepa). Giddy but hilarious are the trio of Silly Girls (Lana Differt, Kira Mahealani Stone and Christine Kluvo. Alexandria Zinov (Babette) and Maurice “Mo” Radke (Maurice, Belle’s father) have their moments, too.

Also watch for the somersaulting carpet (uncredited) in several scenes – a rare but stunning contribution.

The orchestra, unseen in the pit, is co-conducted by Roslyn Catracchia and Jenny Shiroma, and provides breathless sweeps and dramatic zest – a remarkable triumph since there are only 10 musicians sounding like 20.

Historically, “Beauty and the Beast” was the first Disney entry as a Broadway player, a feat viewed as a domestic response to the bounty of British-produced successes arriving from the West End. The prevailing climate among Broadway vets was indifference toward a theatrical film organization entering the market, but Mickey Mouse prevailed. Disney also launched an aggressive merchandise tactic (think tee-shirts, coffee mugs, and fake roses that light up) to cater to patrons, with a brilliant idea to direct exiting theater-goers through the souvenir shop, a move incredibly productive especially with “The Lion King,” early in that show’s run. And today, “The Lion King” is the king of The Great White Way, ranking No. 1 in grosses (more than $2 million weekly). …

And that’s Show Biz. …

Beauty and the Beast’

What: A musical based on the Disney animated film, “Beauty and the Beast,” with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, and book by Linda Woolverton.

Where: Diamond Head Theatre.

When:  Opened July 21, running through Aug. 20. The show’s original playdates are sold out:  seats for performances Aug. 17 through 20 are available.

Tickets: $37 to $62, at www.diamondheadtheatre.com or (808) 733-0274.


At 95, showman Jack Cione has slowed his gait and his memory fades off and on.

Yet, he is in the midst of prepping the Arcadia Follies set for 7:30 p.m. Sept. 7, 8 and 9 and 2:30 p.m. Sept. 10 at the Arcadia’s theater space on Punahou Street.

“This is my last one,” Cione (pictured left) said the other day. “I really think so, because I’m moving slower and I often forget what I taught the cast.”

He selects tunes for the cavalcade of melodies, and assigns tasks and teaches the choreography  to the cast. Several years ago, “the last one” was  to be the final one,  and the concept put to rest,  prior to the pandemic.

But there Cione is again, still an active Arcadian, tooling around on a scooter, since he has difficulty walking. The cane and the walker are history now.

“Broadway Babies” is the theme of the production, featuring veteran regulars like Elva Yoshihara and Sheila Black, who will be among the “Babes” in the cast of 30, with origins from such shows as “Hello,  Dolly,” “Mame,” and “Mary Poppins.”

Outsiders (non Arcadians) such as Becky Hahn, Faith Agbayani and John and Karen Kotake are also faces and dancers you might recall, if you’ve been to previous Follies.

Cione’s tact is to have his cast lip-synch to notable show tunes – this year’s show will highlight tunes from shows like “Pippin’” – and fortunately, costumes that were featured in past productions will be back, likely with a new wrinkle and twinkle.

See, when Cione decided to throw in the towel, some of the costumes were sold but many were retained by costumer Bill Dougherty, who oversaw the gear back in the day.

When he died, the costumes were bequeathed to Hahn, who happily stored them in her basement and has helped return some to their original glory for yet another go.

The show is free to Arcadians and their guests, so unless you know someone in that senior facility, you can’t have access. …


Singer Mary Gutzi’s (pictured right) in the spotlight, from 7 to 10 p.m. today (July 22), at the Paradise Lounge of the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Her buddy Shari Lynn will return there, same timetable, on Aug. 5, then Shari and hubby Michael Acebedo, will head for a Mediterranean cruise to celebrate his  80th birthday. They return around Sept. 14 …

Gail Mack (pictured left) and Gordon Kim have been a singing duo for several decades now, after their George Street group disbanded. So if you’re a fan/follower, you might want to check ‘em out from 5 to 8 p.m. Aug. 20, at Mango Street Grill, at 130 Mango St., in Wahiawa. I don’t get around much anymore, but you might explore and join them. (I get my Gail Mack treat during the holidays, when her beloved “It’s Christmas Once More in Hawaii Nei” gets constant radio play. )…

But here’s some lovely news, that you can plan ahead to attend. Gail and Gordon will be joined by Jerry Santos (pictured right), Kamuela Kimokeo and Steve Lucas, Dec. 23, at Mango Street, in what seems to be a Christmas present. For information, call (808) 627-5451, and reservations are suggested.

Santos warrants a regular gig in Waikiki, with his group Olomana, but even before the pandemic, it’s been tough for anyone to land a club. Hotels neglect to do their part in turning around the slump in business, and despite knowing that on-site music is an amenity worth offering to visitors, there seems to be no upward move to return to the days of glory .,..

And that’s Show Biz. …