A memorial service will be held for the late Dennis Carroll, the playwright and professor emeritus at the University of Hawaii’s Department of Theatre and Dance, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Nov. 27 at Kennedy Theatre.

Though associated with UH, Carroll was founder of Kumu Kahua Theatre, which is organizing the memorial with the cooperation of UH. Nov. 25 is the first anniversary of his death; he was 81.

He nurtured and led Kumu Kahua, living his dream. Carroll was an accomplished playwright whose vision for his craft evolved into the formation of Kumu Kahua, the theater group specializing in works with island themes written by folks who share the same focus and staged with actors enacting tales of the Hawaii experience.

Dennis Carroll

Submissions for inclusion in the event – photos, tributes, video –  are sought, from now through Nov. 1. To upload submissions, visit Photos & Tributes for Dr. Dennis Carroll .

Following the memorial, a reception will be held in the Upper Lanai of Kennedy Theatre..
“Dr. Dennis Carroll was a tremendous friend, colleague, mentor, and educator. The impact of his legacy will long be felt throughout the halls and hearts of this campus and the extended community,” said Tammy Haili‘ōpua Baker.

“Kumu Kahua is at its core a playwright’s theater—reflecting Dennis’ passion for our
tremendous local playwrights that share the voices of our community and the cultures reflected here,” said the theater’s artistic director Harry Wong III. …

Postscript on the Wolfe firing/reinstatement

Rick  Chong, chair of the board of directors at Diamond Head Theatre, has shed light on the way costume designer Karen G. Wolfe was terminated, then reinstated. Turns out there were vague decisions about retirement, resignation and reinstatement, on both sides of the coin. And mind-changing on her part didn’t help.

Rick Chong

An in-house letter, shared with me, clarifies some of the issues surrounding Wolfe’s standing. Chong shed light on the hitherto not mentioned fact that Wolfe initiated her exit by submitting a letter of intention to resign last February, prior to the opening of “Jesus Christ Superstar.”

“She was never asked to resign; she verbally submitted her resignation,” said Chong in the memo.

Subsequently, Wolfe had discussions with her supervisor and “she agreed to delay her resignation until the closing of ‘Anything Goes,’ which would also coincide with the closing of the old theater. By that time, however, steps had been taken to recruit and hire for her replacement to plan for the changes that her departure would necessitate,” said Chong.

In August, she sought to extend her retirement until the opening of “Cinderella” (next January).

Separately, Wolfe has said via Facebook that she was back is in the saddle, on the timetable she requested.  Curiously, Chong’s memo said “DHT has agreed to extend Karen’s employment to the opening of ‘Cinderella’ (next January) as Karen requested; however she has declined that offer.”

So: don’t know if all that rallying for her to maintain her role is over.

There’s encouragement, however, in Chong’s declaration that “Karen has expressed interest in still returning as a guest Costume Designer for future shows so it’s our hope that she will continue to be able to offer her creative talents and artistic touch for many shows in the future.”

Sounds like an encouraging  e-handshake. After all, no one – surely, not DHT –disputes Wolfe’s long years of dedicated service and creative costuming. …

Broadway grosses, week ending Oct. 2

Maybe Broadway is returning to the pre-pandemic times, with folks flocking back to the theater again.

The top three grossers remain the same: No. 1, “The Music Man,” with $2.794 million; No. 2, “Hamilton,” with $1.913 million; and No. 3, with “MJ the Musical,” with $1.728 million.

The next leaders are: No. 4, “Funny Girl,” with $1.638 million; No. 5, “The Lion King,” with $1.573 million; No. 6, “The Phantom of the Opera,” with $1.331 million (picking up support since it announced its closing in February, 2023, after a 30-year run); and No, 7, “Wicked,” with $1.328 million.

The compilation, courtesy The Broadway League:

And that’s Show Biz. …

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