Emme Tomimbang Burns, a beacon in Hawaii’s broadcast landscape, died Monday (Feb. 19) night at Queen’s Medical Center, while undergoing open heart surgery. She was 73.

A proud graduate of Farrington High School and a prominent figure in the Filipino community, she was the widow of Judge James S. Burns, who preceded her in death.

Best known as the producer and host of “Emme’s Island Moments,” Emme (pictured) — full first name Emmeline — was queen of Hawaii TV’s version of what is dubbed a “magazine show,” assembling show biz celebrities and notables in all walks of life.

Her “Emme” brand has been televised on all network affiliates, including KITV, KHON and KGMB, with screenings also on KFVE. She produced the productions and served as interviewer on all episodes.

Her idol was Oprah Winfrey, and she was inspired to put her own imprint on that genre.

She also was a philanthropist, supporting JABSOM, the James A. Burns School of Medicine, , named after  Gov. John A. Burns, her father-in-law.

Memorial services are pending…

Sneak peek at MVT’s new season

Manoa Valley Theatre has let the chat out of the bag.

Season ticket owners have learned that MVT’s 2024-2025 season will include three theatrical treasures:

  • “Parade,” a Tony Award-winning musical Alfred Uhry (book) and music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown. The show, fresh from a Broadway run earlier this year, starred Ben Platt. “Parade” is a true story about a dramatization of the 1913 trial and imprisonment, and 1915 lynching, of Jewish American Leo Frank in Georgia.
  • “Kim’s Convenience,” a comedy by Ins Choi,  about a Korean family operating a grocery store in Toronto’s Regent Park neighborhood.
  • “Side by Side by Sondheim,” a Stephen Sondheim musical which honors and celebrates the lyrical and tuneful artistry of the iconic Broadway composer, a favorite of the acting community.

Details of the complete new season will be forthcoming…

And that’s Show Biz…


Richard Vida, a veteran Broadway luminary, has been named as the new executive director of Ballet Hawaii.

A frequent visitor to Hawaii who has lived on Oahu briefly, Vida previously taught tap dance and musical theater at Ballet Hawaii.

“We have known Richard for many years and could not be luckier that he agreed to join our team,” said Susie Schull of Ballet Hawaii. “His background on Broadway and the performing arts is vast and covers every type of dance.”

Vida and his husband Bob Billig have called New York City their home where both have been active for decades (Billig is a musical conductor), and they have traveled extensively and had relocated to Connecticut. 

Vida, pictured, has had a diverse career,  not just as an actor, singer and dancer in theater, on TV and in films, and boasts credentials a guest artist, teacher, producer, and director…

Show breezes

Several popular island performers will be on the Hawaii Theatre stage in the weeks ahead.

The Hawaii Symphony Orchestra’s Hapa Symphony series will feature these acts:

  • Singer Paula Fuga, pictured, appears at 7:30 p.m. March 9.
  • Singer Robert Cazimero performs at 7:30 pm. April 20.
  • Ukulele artist  Jake Shimabukuro performs at 7:30 pm. May 18.

Tickets are priced from $10:50 to $99, at hawaiitheatre.com or (808) 528-0506…

Michael Weatherly (DiNozzo) and Mark Harmon (Leroy Jethro Gibbs) on “NCIS.”

Will DiNozzo and ‘NCIS’ regulars return?

The internet is a-buzz with a possible return of Michael Weatherly, the beloved  Tony DiNozzo from the original “NCIS” universe, which made him a star and producing director-producer Mark Harmon a legend as Leroy Jethro Gibbs.

Ten years since Weatherly departed the CBS procedural, he’s ready to return to the franchise for his last hurrah. Performers including Harmon likely will also return to the show (he’s been off the show for a couple of seasons) and possibly Ziva, played by Cote de Paulo, who exited the same time Weatherly did, could return.

Weatherly may have been the one to trigger the rumors, after he posted on X/Twitter his notion to reprise DiNozzo.

“There will be more DiNozzo someday because he is the one character that felt unfinished,” he said on X.

The NCIS franchise continues to expand via a Leroy Jethro Gibbs prequel series, which will feature familiar faces and potentially a few more.

“NCIS” is in the midst of its 21st season now. So it makes sense that the alums return to the show now.

First, Weatherly’s DiNozzo had unbeatable chemistry with Gibbs, and was the favorite of the NCIS leader, to target DiNozzo, with a slap on the head.

Second, Weatherly also had sizzle with agent Ziva and their relationship was hugely popular with viewers.

Third, now is the time for NCIS characters from the past, returning to pay homage and respect to David McCallum, who played Donald “Ducky” Mallard. who died last September. He played the chief medical examiner and the current series plans a tribute to Ducky, and it’s a smart way – and a ratings boost – that past colleagues return to say goodbye.

Surely, even Abby Sciuto, the forensic scientist  enacted by Pauley Perrette, would be a likely returnee, too.

CBS has remained mum about the return of any ex-cast members– for the goodbye to Ducky or for a cameo in the last season for the franchise’s mother ship original. The time is right for that elusive reunion…

And that’s Show Biz…


Reflections on last Sunday’s Super Bowl:
Marcus Mariota, homegrown football fave, finally made it to the Super Bowl. Well, sorta. The Philadelphia Eagles’ underutilized secondary QB was heard but not seen on the  Super Bowl telecast.

Mariota (pictured) narrated that splendid Lahaina Wildfire commercial, that reflected the Maui Strong message, depicting the horrors of that August day, when more than 100 perished and the historic harbor front town was reduced to a charcoal-gray ghost town. The commercial was a preview to the coin toss to begin the battle between the favored San Francisco 49ers and the underdog Kansas City Chiefs. A Lahainaluna football contingent were honored, including  four Luna team members, including players Morgan “Bula” Montgomery, Teva Loft, Kaulana Tihada and Kuola Watson who were joined by their coaches Dean Rickard and Garret Tihada and former head coach Bobby Watson…

Then there was actor Jason Momoa (pictured), the Hawaii native, in a T-Mobile clip, even singing and doing a backflip, in the commercial featuring  Zach Braff and Donald Faison, who shelved their usual “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning” vocalizing. In a comedic set-up, Braff and Faison knock on a door with a plate of wings, and Momoa informs them that the party had been cancelled due to the cable being out. Then, Braff and Faison broke out in song and dance moves, convincing Momoa to switch to T-Mobile 5g home internet while chirping ”What a Feeling” from the 1983 film “Flashdance.” “Aquaman” joins in only to get doused with water…in a splashdance of sorts…

With CBS  airing the Super Bowl, it was no surprise to see quick images of “NCIS: Hawaii” co-stars Vanessa Lachey and LL Cool J together…

Of course, Dwayne Johnson, an island native, got camera time, too, but why not? He’s The Rock…

But there was no sign of local boy Bruno Mars, who has a residency at the MGM Resort, but then again, he was busy during the weekend, hosting and opening The Pinky Ring, his new ritzy lounge/bar at the Bellagio resort on the Las Vegas Strip, where the likes of Lady Gaga and Blake Shelton popped in during Super Bowl weekend…

Nyle Hallman dies at 95

Sorry to report the death, on Feb. 14, of Nyle Hallman, widow of Roy Hallman  who were co- founders of the Honolulu Boy Choir. She was 95. She also was the  longtime accompanist for the choir and the veteran  organist of the Central Union Church.

Daughter Kathy Hallman confirmed the death at the family home.

Blake M. Nuibe, who has served as executive director of the world-famous Honolulu Boy Choir, said he and boy choir ohana members Kay Hirasuna, Glenn Seo and Philip Fujimoto, recently gifted Nyle with a Hawaiian floral arrangement to celebrate the new year and to wish her well.

 “I conversed with Nyle on Jan. 18 and again on Feb.9,” said Nuibe. “Both times, her mind was sharp, and her spirits were high, but knew her health was flailing.  Kathy is heartbroken but very grateful for Nyle’s long. amazing life.”

Nyle and Roy (who died April 20, 2007, at age 82) had a successful and prolific life with the Boy Choir, which they co-founded in 1974, inspired by the Vienna Boy Choir. They enlisted boys 7 to 14 — with or without experience, many with higher-pitched voices due to their young ages – to sing, focus, and to be attentive while standing on risers, unified in voice, and mentored by the Hallmans. The choir toured globally, were fixtures on not only on the concert stage, but in recordings and TV, and for many years did Christmas season concerts, notably featuring their version of “Numbah One Day of Christmas,” at the Monarch Room of the fabled Royal Hawaiian Hotel.

Nyle was a masterful musician, who played harp as well as organ, and has been the organist at Central Union and principal harpist with the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra.

Funeral services are pending…

Streetlighters have weekend shows

Streetlight Cadence will do shows on Maui and the Big Island this weekend.

The agenda, part of the group’s ongoing Brighter Than Ever Tour, includes these shows:

–Friday (Feb. 16), at 7:30 p.m., at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center’s McCoy Studio Theatre. (tickets).

–Saturday (Feb. 17), at 7 p.m., at Kahilu Theatre in Waimea, on the Big Island. Tickets: $40, $70. (tickets)

–Sunday, at 2 p.m., at Hungry Ear Records in Kakaako. Free, with a meet-and-greet after the show. please RSVP here

Broadway grosses, for week ending Feb. 11

“Hamilton” again is the No. 1 draw on Broadway, a skosh ahead of “The King.”

Here’s the top 10:

1—”Hamilton,”$1,565 million.

2—”The Lion King,” $1,504 million.

3—”Merrily We Roll Along,” $1,494 million.

4—” Wicked,” $1,303 million.

5—”Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” $1,260 million.

6—”Moulin Rouge! The Musical,” $1,205 million,

7–“MJ The Musical,” $1,163 million.

8—” Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” $949,121,

9–“ Aladdin,” $923,150,

10—”& Juliet,” $897,506.

The complete list, courtesy The Broadway Guild:

And that’s Show Biz. …


Ryan Seacrest, incoming “Wheel of Fortune” host, has been in Waikiki with letter-turner Vanna White, to tape promos for the next season of the syndicated game show.

Seacrest, who still hosts ABC’s “American Idol,” is succeeding Pat Sajak, the original “Wheel” host, who announced his retirement last year and will exit in June 2024. Thus, Seacrest will make his debut later this summer.

Vanna White and Ryan Seacrest, on location in Waikiki

Seacrest and White  have been seen in tourist mode, donning swimwear and goggles and flipper diving gear for knee-deep waves in waters off Waikiki. The duo, wearing appropriate island wear,  also trekked in the shopping mall at the Hilton Hawaiian Village…  

Cataluna’s ‘Kimo’ premieres Feb. 23

Lee Cataluna’s “Kimo the Waiter,” a glimpse of exclusion, inclusion, diversity, and accessibility within the community of television and film work, will make its world premiere at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 23 at Paliku Theatre on the Windward Community College.

The production is a partnership of WCC and the Hawaii Conservatory of Performing Arts (HCPA), where Cataluna is HCPA’s Established Island Artist.

The comedy explores the plight and frustration of Kimo, a dude that loves to act who tracks and attends auditions for roles, but he’s either too brown or not brown enough, or perhaps not enough, period. How many times can an actor play “the waiter”? He’s good, but clearly lives with rejection.

Set in 1980s Honolulu, “Kimo the Waiter” tracks the elusive dream of an actor whose dream world is never within his reach.

Alakaʻi Cunningham and Kirstyn Trombetta in “Kimo the Waiter.

“’Kimo the Waiter’ is a hilarious and moving look into the world of an actor. Cataluna shows the frustrations and raucous truths of what actors experience,” said director  Taurie Kinoshita.

 Set in the Hawaii of the 1980s, “Kimo” features Alakaʻi Cunningham as Kimo. The cast also includes Stuart Featheran, Kirstyn Trombetta, Maya Leslie-Berengue, and Kealaulapoiunalani Faifili.

The family-friendly comedy, which runs approximately 90 minutes, should relate to constant auditioners who’ve experienced rejection.

Tickets: $15 to $25, available at palikutheatre.com or call (808) 235-7315.

And that’s Show Biz…


An oddity, “The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940,” is neither a full-fledged musical nor a riotous comedy, though there are brief tuneful segments and a mix of laugher, amid a series of murders.

The whodunnit, playing at the Diamond Head Theatre, is actually quite charming. Actors eager to audition for a show (a musical, natch), along with a dancer, a singer and a comedian, who are seeking employment, so they assemble at the mansion of Elsa Von Grossenknueten (Lisa Konove, flamboyantly brilliant and in her prime) in Chappaqua, New York. The time is midnight (of course), at the height of a chilling snowfall (another of course). The theatrical figures hope wealthy Elsa will bankroll the musical, or so is the premise.

In actually, the estate is where three dancers were previously murdered by an unknown slasher, and a policeman, Michael Kelly (Michael Abdo, sleek in his sleuthing) is among the invitees and believes the slasher also is among the party guests. So everyone is a suspect;  or dead serious. a forthcoming victim.

The play, by John Bishop, is set in December, 1940, and opens with the murder of Elsa’s maid Helsa Wenzel (Brianna Johnston, fittingly domestic, who comes to life again, which viewers later learn how).  The slasher claims several more victims, terrifying the survivors, who are stuck in the snowstorm and the expected happens: the lights go out,  meaning more murders when they go on again.

The motley crew includes the singer, Patrick O’Reilly (Christopher Denton); the dancer, Nikki Crandall (Emily Lane); the comic Eddie McCuen (David Samsel),  a director Ken De La Maize( Lee Nebe); and a writing team comprising Roger Hopewell (Andrew Simmons) and Bernice Roth (Betty Bolton). They’re all wary of the lurking mayhem, beginning with the demise of Elsa’s friend, Marjorie Baverstock (Heather Taylor).

“Musical Comedy” cast: seated front, Lisa Konove, Michael Abdo and Heather Taylor; rear, from left, David Samsel, Emily Lane, Brianna Johnston, Christoper Denton, Andrew Simmons, Betty Bolton and Lee Nebe. — Brandon Miyagi photo, courtesy DHT.

An ensemble show, the cast builds chemistry with shared fear and mutual concerns about who is the killer. Frequent hilarity lessens the intensity of emotions in this kind of murder mysteries, and director John Rampage maintains a cadence of fright and laughs. Actress Konove, a veteran of many dramatic and comedic shows in the past, is in her element in this one, clad in flowing, elegant and colorful gowns created with authority by Emily Lane (doubling as a cast member), with Aiko Schick’s hair and makeup designs contributing to the era of the ‘40s.

A star is born, in set designer Randy Tandal’s auspicious debut as a stage designer, whose maginificent single-set spectacle is efficient and functional, with book shelves that spin to hide, then display, a hidden passageway. The one-view spectrum includes handsome doorways for entrances and exits, plus a clothes closet which conceals a body and also displays wardrobe. There are eye-filling gems including artwork on the walls and working lamps, working in sync with prop designer Travis O. Asaeli’s contributions – a desk, a comfy armchair, and a faux grand piano.

At long last, DHT has come of age, marking the first anniversary of the new theater with a set (finally) that demonstrates and reflects the magic of stagecraft. Clearly, greatness sprouts with time and talent. This set — and its creator — are winners! No set pieces to roll on and off stage; nothing to descend from the overhead fly space. What you see is what you get–excellence.


“The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940”

A play by John Bishop, about theatrical types gathering at a mansion, where murder is on the menu and a snowstorm prevents an escape

Where: Diamond Head Theatre

When: 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays; also at 3:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturdays and 4 p.m. Sundays, through Feb. 18; extension playdates, 7:30 p.m. Feb.23 and 3 p.m. Feb. 24

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

And that’s Show Biz…