Vocalist Shari Lynn, whose artistry embraces a wide spectrum of musical styles, shared a mixed bag of gems last night (Jan. 27) at the Paradise Lounge of the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Backed by keyboarder Jim Howard, Shari embraced pop hits (The Beatles’ “In My Life” and Mary Hopkins’ “Those Were the Days”), bluesy ballads (Robert Flack’s “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”), a parody (Steven Sondheim’s “The Boy From,” with Hispanic hilarity) infusing her acting skills and storytelling thrill in the process.

 Natch, there were selections from the Great American Songbook and Broadway ditties. Alas, this was her closing night, as the Hilton is terminating its jazz-flavored format  in favor of relaunching Hawaiian music in the venue. An ending means a new beginning; Shari anticipates returning March 2 to Medici’s at Manoa Marketplace, with Howard and bassist John Kolivas.  Wherever she goes, her flock follow.


Singer Shari Lynn and her pianist companion Jim Howard launched a Saturday jazz format last year at the Hilton Hawaiian Village’s Paradise Lounge located in the hotel’s Rainbow Tower.

But all that jazz will come to an end this weekend, but appropriately, Shari (pictured below) and Jim will bring down the proverbial curtain this Saturday night (Jan. 27), since the hotel is changing to a Hawaiian format in the space in February.

In a town with many jazz stylists – vocalists and instrumentalists – but not enough jazz venues, it’s a shame. Hilton’s plan to resume Hawaiian music in the Paradise Lounge beginning February is not a bad tradeoff, since Waikiki hotels should offer island music, too. But the hotel doesn’t adequately promote the acts in this hide-away locale, so it’s rough going here.

The Paradise, clearly, is not so paradise-y, in that it is unabashedly a pass-through-corridor for visitors going to or coming from dinner. I’ve been there earlier when some walkers actually cross right in front of the performers. Further, the space has only a few seats where viewers can see the entertainers; two large pillars, which obviously help hold up the tower of hotel rooms, suggest that singers and listeners were not the intended tenants in the zone.

Word-of-mouth advertising – you know, the coconut wireless – has kept the club operational, with rotating jazz stylists like Ginai, Rachel Gonzales, Bruce Hamada, and  Tommy James on Saturday nights. Even vacationing warblers like Mary Gutzi has added credence and joy to the menu.

Jan Brenner has been the agent juggling the acts for gigs in the club for the past year. She’s looking for a possible jazz nook elsewhere. Meantime, Shari will set anchor at Medici’s at the Manoa  Marketplace, likely on March 2, with hopes of a once-a-month residency. Bassist John Kolivas will join Shari and Jim at Medici’s…

Pre-Grammy events at Kani Ka Pila Grille

Mahina Mele, a musical series from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (Jan. 25, 26 and 27) at Kani Ka Pila Grille at the Outrigger Reef Hotel, will be a preview of the forthcoming Grammy Week event in Los Angeles.

Ho’okena’s Horace Dudoit III, Glen H.K. Smith and Chris Kamaka, left, and Jeff Peterson, right.

The slate:

  • Thursday, Kawika Kahiapo and Kainani Kahaunaele.
  • Friday, Kahiau Lam Ho with Kala’e and Kalena Parish.
  • Saturday, previous Grammy nominees Ho‘okena with Jeff Peterson.

Pruden celebration of life is set

That earlier-announced celebration of life event for the late actress, Jo Pruden (pictured right) will be held at 2 p.m. Feb. 18 at Manoa Valley Theatre. The beloved actress, often known as “The First Lady of Hawaii Theater,” died Jan. 10 at her Mililani home following a long illness. She was 84.

Her husband, Jip Pruden, is creating a commemorative T-shirt featuring a Corky Trinidad cartoon of Jo, with proceeds to be shared by MVT and TAG (The Actors Group), where Jo did most of her late-in-life acting and Readers Theatre performances…

Samson service will be private

According to folks in the know, the family of the late Kit Samson (pictured), the versatile and likeable leader of the Sound Advice group, indicate that the service will be small and private, restricted to family. It was unknown, if the service has already been held, or coming up shortly.

Samson , who was 89, led his show and dance combo for nearly a quarter of a century at the original Kahala Hilton, and helped put the posh resort on the map, the first outside of the traditional Waikiki tourism zone. His keyboard dynamics and low-profile personality, coupled with Danny Kaleikini starring at the next-door Hala Terrace, made for a dynamic combo.

His first gig was at the Waikiki Biltmore, run by his family, which was eventually developed into the Hyatt Regency Waikiki by Chris Hemmeter on  prime Waikiki real estate. Samson moved to the Kahala resort , which was to become the hub for vacationing notables and continues to attract celebrities now.

Because Samson and his Sound Advice were anchored in the Maile Lounge, which had to be accessed to get to the fabled Maile Restaurant, the music quickly became a passport and passageway to the restaurant. With his vast repertoire and  ability to recognize a “name” walking through the corridors, Samson commonly played a theme song associated with the star.

The Sound Advice originally featured  Anna Lea, who was  followed by Connie Kissinger, though numerous female vocalists had the privilege to chirp in  his spotlight.

Samson became fast friends with another poet of the piano, Roger Williams, of “Autumn Leaves” success, who visited Samson at his Kahala home and autographed Kit’s piano, and Burt Bacharach, the composer of numerous hit songs, who obliged to man the keyboards one night…

‘Lion’ again is king of the Broadway jungle

“The Lion King” is back where it used to be, ruling over the Broadway jungle. Missing from the Top Ten: “Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street.” Eking in a slot: “& Juliet.”

Here’s the Top Ten grosses, for the week ending Jan. 21:

1 – “The Lion King,” $1,813 million.

2—“Hamilton,” $1,762 million.

3–“Wicked,” $1,695 million.

4—”Merrily We Roll Along,” $1,688 million.

5 –“MJ The Musical,” $1,436 million.

6—”Gutenberg! The Musical!,” $1,163 million.

7—”Moulin Rouge! The Musical,” $1,076 million.

8 – “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” $1,074 million.

9—” Aladdin,” $1,051 million.

10—”& Juliet,” $974 million.

The full list of shows and grosses, courtesy The Broadway League:

And that’s Show Biz …


Just asking…

Have you ever had a tomahawk rib-eye steak?

Neither have I.

For meat lovers, this might possibly be the ultimate dream entrée.. You won’t find it at an Outback Steak House, simply because the tomahawk is a premium cut, likely not on a steak emporium’s everyday menu, but truly a special menu item, when available.

More than being a pricey item —  I’ve seen some online mentions of $100 to $400-plus – this hefty steak, commonly 40-oz. of joy, has a wow factor. Have you seen a platter boasting a tomahawk that passes your table? Everyone looks and you’ll hear the the reactionary oohs and ahhs.

So, what, exactly, is a tomahawk steak? According to Ruth’s Chris Steak House, the tomahawk is essentially a special cut of a ribeye beef steak with at least five inches of the rib bone intact. The longish French-trimmed bone creates what resembles a handle; “Frenching” is a culinary technique also utilized to shape a rack of lamb.

And obviously, the “tomahawk” element refers to a Native American axe, and the steak size makes it look like weapon one could yield.

I wouldn’t order one anytime soon, since I’m still in recovery mode of the removal of my gall bladder, and my current diet does not include meat. Then again, if I someday order a steak, a ribeye, with bone in, would be better suited to my appetite and budget. A tomahawk could easily feed four. But joy of joys; to have that massive bone to-go, to gnaw and nibble at home, would be blissful.

If you’re tomahawk inclined, you might inquire at such steak houses as Hy’s Steak House, Wolfgang’s, Signature, Ruth’s Chris and possibly Roy’s.

Share your reaction if you make the plunge and go for it.


Darian Keanu Ruiz Aquino will portray the title character in “Dear Evan Hansen,” which opens March 7 in its Hawaii premiere at Manoa Valley Theatre.

The Broadway musical, with tunes and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (with book by Steven Levenson), will be directed by Rob Duval. It will run through March 24, and a holdover is likely.

Ben Platt originated the Evan Hansen role in 2016 and topped the cast for four years thus becoming a bona fide Broadway luminary, earning him a Tony Award for Best Actor and enabling him to move into films, television, the recording industry and since has starred in other plays on the Great White Way.

“Dear Evan Hansen” was nominated for nine Tony Awards and won six trophies, for Best Musical, Best Book, Best Score, Best Orchestration, Best Actor and Best Featured Actress (Rachel Bay Jones).

The show explores such life issues as bullying (Evan has social anxieties and depression), and suicide (Connor Murphy, a high school classmate of Evan who feels like a social outcast lacking friends, who takes his own life). Social media also triggers cynicism and fake emails, creating tension challenging trust.

Platt also starred in the film version in a 2021 film version, but the venture was sidelined due to a backlash of criticism that Platt, by then, was too old to play a high school student.

Aquino (pictured) may be remembered for his role in “Be More Chill,” another youth-oriented show at MVT. “Evan Hansen” castmates  include Vanessa Manuel-Mazzullo (Heidi Hansen), Ayzhia Tadeo (Zoe Murphy), Presley Wheeler (Connor Murphy), Shane Nishimura (Jared Kleinman) David Weaver (Larry Murphy), Susan Hawes (Cynthia Murphy), and Jenelle Wong (Alana Black). The ensemble includes Pono Lundell, Alana Clayson, David Hurley and Jasmine Haley Anderson).

Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, and at 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Tickets: $26 to $48, on sale at or (808) 988-6131. …

‘Sweeney Todd’ No. 1, for week ending Jan. 14

There’s a new king on Broadway – and he’s a demon and a murderer. For the first time, “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” has joined the $2 million club, toppling the reign of “The Lion King.”
The Top 10 grosses, for the week ending Jan. 14:
1—”Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” $2.111 million.
2– “The Lion King,” $1,918 million.
3 – “Hamilton,” $1,901 million.
4 – “Merrily We Roll Along,” $1,834 million.
5— “Wicked,” $1,757 million.
6 –” MJ The Musical,” $1,401 million.
7—”Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” $1,387 million.
8 – “Back To The Future: The Musical,” $1.218 milion.
9 – “Gutenberg! The Musical!,” $1,208 million.
10—“Moulin Rouge! The Musical,” $1,171 million.
The full list, courtesy the Broadway League:

And that’s Show Biz…


I had my first dinner outing last night, since my recent gall bladder removal surgery Jan. 5, and it was a joyous occasion.

The destination was Gyotaku, the Japanese restaurant at the Niu Valley Shopping Center,  and my entrée choice was one of my favorites: misoyaki butterfish teishoku.

Familiar turf + familiar meal = a happy camper.

I had been having mini meals at home, comprising the likes of miso soup with soda crackers, beef broth with cone sushi, chicken noodle and chicken vegetable soup, and chazuke with broiled salmon, vegetable salad with tofu and imitation crab,  and my tummy was agreeable to these.

So, the misoyaki butterfish – and the accompanying bowls of rice, miso soup and salad – were within my palate choices.

Because Gyotaku regularly serves its butterfish in a tiny plate with a yellow border, it looked like any other pic I’ve shot at the restaurant over the years.

But this ol’ friend was a something I relished and cherished.

No more fried chicken, Korean kalbi or traditional steak for me till I know my diet regimen can handle ‘em. For now, I got no complains.