FINALLY! ‘HAMILTON’ COMING HERE

Finally!

“Broadway in Hawaii” today (Dec. 2) announced its first three-show season of shows for Hawaii residents. A fourth musical, earlier announced, is an “extra” outside of the premier season packaging.

The slate includes three island premieres led by the unprecedented blockbuster “Hamilton” and the hit-loaded “Beautiful — the Carole King Musical.” “Cats,” which is a venerable return visitor but still a popular title in the repertoire of the Broadway spectrum, is the third season attraction. The rescheduled “Jersey Boys” is not part of the season ticketing because it had to be rescheduled twice, with many tickets previously sold, but it will be its first staging in Honolulu.

Joseph Morales as Hamilton

But here’s a bit of secret behind-the-scenes drama: the touring “Hamilton” company is one dubbed “…and Peggy,” and the lead actor in this ensemble is Joseph Morales, our homegrown Broadway trouper. The producers will not announce cast, until  just prior of the engagement, since actors can be juggled and routed to a different company. So I’ll go on record to press the decision-makers to be certain that Morales dons his Alexander Hamilton costume when the show lands here. It’ll be his “shot” that will memorable not only for him but also the local theater-goers. So I’m keeping my fingers crossed Morales is our Hamilton.

“The success of shows like ‘Wicked’ and ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ clearly demonstrate that Honolulu deserves to be a regular stop for touring Broadway in North America,” said Magicspace COO Steve Boulay, the presenter, who has been a key player to book musicals at Blaisdell Concert Hall. “We are thrilled that the commitment of everyone at Blaisdell, the stagehands union and the city, together with the support of Broadway in Hawaii patrons, have come together to make this incredible season possible. We look forward to many more.”

Mayor Rick Blangiardi said in a statement, “The Hawaii debut of ‘Hamilton’ is a remarkable opportunity for our community. We are truly grateful to be able to welcome this marquee production to Honolulu without audience capacity limitations.”

Mr. Mayor is spot-on in welcoming the slate of Broadway in Hawaii shows. Audience support is vital, when these series set down anywhere, and this is the first time ever that a spectrum of four productions, one as a “special engagement,” will be staged here. In many other viable communities, six shows comprise a season, so we have a lot of work to do make this venture worth the producers’ effort by securing tickets.

So here’s the rundown:

  • “Beautiful – The Carole King Musical,” April 19 to 24, 2022. This is a stupendous biographical musical that tracks the ups and downs of prolific rock/pop composers Carole King and her husband Gerry Goffin and collaborators Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann,  who have written tunes for a myriad of acts in rock history, including The Shirelles, Little Eva, and Neil Sedaka.
  • “Hamilton,” Dec. 8 to 14, 2022, for subscribers only and Dec. 15, 2022 to Jan. 29, 2023 for other patrons. This is the blockbuster by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote the book, music and lyrics, in a hip-hop rendering of the life and times of Alexander Hamilton, a founding father of America, based on the biography by Ron Chernow. It’s been a revolutionary musical and winner of nearly all the prizes available, the Tony, the Grammy, the Olivier, plus the Pulitzer Prize and KennedyTheatre Honors.
  • “Cats,” June 13 to 18, 2023, The is the Andrew Lloyd Webber creation, inspired by the poetry of T. S. Eliot, that is best known for its “Memory” signature song and is the only musical set in a junkyard. Everyone knows a cat has nine lives, and this show begins a new run for the furry creatures, with updated sound design, choreography and director for a new generation of viewers.
  • “Jersey Boys,” Sept. 13 to 25, 2022. This is considered a “special engagement,” considering its previous on-again, off-again setback. The show is not part of the three-title season. It is the biography musical of the Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, and boasts a soundtrack of trademark toe-tapping hits like “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” and “Walk Like a Man. Season tickets are available at www.BroadwayInHawaii.com and here are the price ranges, by seat locations:

And that’s Show Biz. …

HAVE YOU HAD YOUR BOOSTER SHOT?

Just asking…

Are you eligible and if so, have you had your third Covid shot?

Received my “booster” shot yesterday, at Longs Hawaii Kai. I qualified for one, due to age and medical pre-conditions.

So, how’d it go? Quickly, with no pain when the shot was administered. Had my earlier two shots six months ago.

Tips: Call your pharmacy or doctor, to determine if the shot you need is available; the serum must be compatible to your earlier vaccinations: Moderna, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson. Walk-ins acceptable; you’ll need to fill out a form; your temperature will be taken, so if you feel feverish, go another day when you’re OK.

Bring: Your previously issued Covid vaxx card; the third shot will be logged onto it as documentation of the procedure.

Aftermath: My left arm, notably the area where the shot was given, aches this morning. Hopefully, no other side effects.

KOKO MARINA’S COMING BACK TO LIFE

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Start spreading the news: Koko Marina, the shopping complex in Hawaii, is coming back to life.

The Consolidated movie theater has reopened without notice, with limited screenings; Ryan Reynolds’ “Free Guy” is the current headline flick, with Jordan Peele’s horror thriller “Candyman” opening Friday.

There’s buzz, too, that the Hawaii Kai Zippy’s is opening up its dining room perhaps in October. New carpeting is being installed, with work trucks parked daily outside the main entrance.

Koko Marina theaters are open.

Despite the surge in COVID cases and heightened protocols mandate by the mayor, the return of the movie screens and the notion that dine-in options are on the horizon is great news.

And about time!

I’ve ventured to Ward Theatres several times to view quality films, like “Free Guy” and “In the Heights.” That I can now frequent Koko Marina is a blessing and a testament that slowly, businesses are attempting to return to some kind of normality.

I learned about the Zippy’s plan from a former waitress, now serving meals at another Hawaii Kai eatery. She was asked about a possible return to Zippy’s; and queried about letting the word out that the restaurant finally is moving to reinstate dine-in. Take-out has been wonderful, but there’s nothing like dining in.

Zippy’s Hawaii Kai: October dine-in?

If memory serves well, Zippy’s booths also needed upgrading. The air-conditioning has been a recurring issue, too. And there’s always been a need for waiters, since Hawaii Kai folks have not provided enough servers, with most workers commuting from other regions to work there.

And let’s be honest: Zippy’s Hawaii Kai is on the water and boasts a swell marina view like no other in the chain. These visual amenities add joy and  satisfaction to the best fried chicken in the state, the always ono-licious Zip-Min, and the incomparable Zip-Pac loaded with local lore like the chicken and the beloved Spam.

So: see ya at the movies, and later this year, inside the Zippy’s we’ve all been anticipating…

On and off

With pandemic mandates changing by the day, here’s a quick recap of what’s on and what’s off.

On: Johnny Valentine joins the Honolulu Jazz Quartet in a Facebook Live virtual performance at 2 p.m. Saturday (Aug. 28).According to HJQ honcho John Kolivas, the session will focus on jazz but embrace not just the traditional but arrangements of tunes by the likes Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, and The Beatles, among others. …

Off:  Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site and Archives’ “Building Houses, Building Stories” History Theatre program, originally scheduled for Aug.27 and 28, 2021, has been postponed.  A virtual version of “Building Houses, Building Stories” will be forthcoming; An in-person version will be staged when it is safe to do so. …

And that’s Show Biz. …

MARKING # 80TH, WITH CHOW HOUNDS

Note: this is not the usual Show Biz column; this one is a snapshot of a milestone birthday and celebration.—W.H.

You can’t ignore an 80th birthday. Truly.

So instead of a customary to-do with family, and despite the wavering cloud of COVID-19, my wife Vi and I invited two couples — pals Jack and Cha Thompson and Rick Ornellas and Vicki Borges – to mark the milestone new decade of my existence.

Roy’s Hawaii Kai was the destination – our favorite “hometown” fine dining joint, after all – and it was a blast.

It was to be a no-gift occasion with the Haradas footing the bill, but my friends are generous but don’t listen: so they separately presented gift cards ($80 plus a movie gift card, from the Thompsons, and $81 from Rick and Vicki, with the extra $ likely a token for good luck), but don’t chuckle. They know me:  Zippy’s also is my neighborhood go-to place for take-out, with the Kahala site for dine-in since the Hawaii Kai restaurant is not yet open to welcome area visitors, apparently because of lease rate issues.

The Chow Hounds, front: Vicki, Rick and Cha; rear, Jack, Vi and Wayne

The gathering of three couples was also significant, marking the formal assembling of the Chow Hounds club, with Vicki and Ricky as newbies. We officially welcomed the new members of this cluster of foodies who enjoy regular outings of great food, wine, and, yes, margaritas.

The Chow Hounds lapel pin
Misoyaki butterfish entree.

I made “Chow Hounds” lapel pins for everyone to wear, to acknowledge that this club will engage in more restaurant visits with a measure of practical frequency. So cheers!

For the record, three of us ordered Roy’s fabled misoyaki butterfish. My fave.

Birthday dessert

To award-winning chef Roy Yamaguchi, arigato for the pupus and dessert, and a hearty hurrah for the traffic of diners, inside the restaurant, in the party room, and in the downstairs bar area, and outside in a rousing, clustery certification that Roy’s is back with a wave of regulars.

Gomen, for occupying Table 1 for three hours; so much fun and fellowship. Be advised: we’ll return for another festive and ono evening…

And that’s “Show Biz.” …

LATE-NIGHT NOSHING JOINTS ARE NIL

Auwe. It’s 10 p.m., you’ve just exited the movie theater, and you’re hungry for a late night snack. So where to go?

Home, probably.

The abundance of wee-hour restaurants – some 24/7, others serving till midnight – is history.

In the old days, you could hele on to Pier 7 at the Ilikai. Or a neighborhood saimin stand.

Or a pancake house, like the one on Ala Moana Boulevard (whose name I can’t recall) across the Ilikai, if you were seeking a platter of flapjacks with sides of egg and Spam.

And yes, Kau Kau Korner at Kapiolani and Kalakaua, at the entrance of Waikiki, was a shrine of sorts and a symbol of a destination for ono kau kau. After work, after movie, after doing a show in Waikiki. It was also the home of Coco’s … until the Hard Rock Café settled in there. All gone now.

Coco’s, at the entryway to Waikiki on Kalakaua Avenue, was a favorite 24/7 place.

Other sites, like Wailana, at the corner of Ala Moana and Ena Road, served us well.  It was a place where we all gathered, after the first round of going out, and finished the evening with local chow, frequently of singers and musicians we had seen earlier.

There was hope for a meal, too, if you slipped into a booth at Columbia Inn, before the midnight hour, where dinner, snack or breakfast options awaited. Maybe even at the counter-service at the Liliha Bakery, on Kuakini Street.

Wailana Coffee House was a go-to place for late-nighters.

No can do. Not anymore. Nada.

Restaurants cut back schedules even before the pandemic, but the lockdown punctuated  the disappearance of late-night dining. Maybe folks lost their thirst of night outings, and understandably, the hunger for late-night noshing, too.

Flash forward to the present times. You have to be in an eatery probably by 9:30 at the latest, to get table service. At M.A.C. 24/7 at the Hilton Waikiki Beach resort (the former Prince Kuhio Hotel) on Kuhio Avenue, business hours are 6 a.m. to midnight.

Both locations of the venerable Side Street Inn (Hopaka St., Kapahulu Ave.) have clipped hours, too, shutting down at 9 p.m.

Two former 24/7 brands also have abbreviated timetables: Anna Miller’s at Pearlridge and IHOP locations

The places that used to welcome night owls back in the day now close by 10 p.m.: 

  • Sorabol, on Keeaumoku Street.
  • Zippy’s  locations with dine-in options.

Conclusion: If you’re hungry late at night or in the wee hours, scout your fridge for leftovers or get the frying pan on the stove to whip out an omelet. Cup-a-Noodle just doesn’t cut it.

But the memories linger:  where did you go for your night noshes back in the day?