The impact of  “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” the wonderfully wacky multiverse that buoyed the viability of Asian performers – think Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan, both Oscar winners this past Sunday in the Academy Awards – will get additional inclusive boost in Disney+’ upcoming series, “American Born Chinese,” streaming beginning May 24.

Michelle Yeoh, with “American Born Chinese” hands on deck.

Yeoh, this year’s Best Actress, and Quan, who picked up the Best Supporting Actor statuette, will both appear in “American Born Chinese.”  Stephanie Hsu, a nominee for Best Supporting Actress from “Everything,” will also be aboard.

Destin Daniel. Cretton

We earlier  reported that this series is based on the 2006 graphic novel of the same name by Gene Luen Yang.   And the project has an island link: Maui’s Destin Daniel Cretton (Marvel’s “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” “Short Term 12”) is set to direct and additionally serves as executive producer.

“American Born Chinese” deals with a regular guy Jin Wang, facing the strains of high school social life and home friction. He’s entangled,too, in a battle of Chinese mythological gods, so expect a multiverse embracing seasoned Chinese actors on screen (some with kung fu skills) and a team of notable behind-the-camera vets including  Melvin Mar and Jake Kasdan, both involved in the Hawaii-fimed “Doogie Kamealoha, M.D.” …

Cruz to preview ‘Hawaiian Heart’ tunes

John Cruz and his band will give a preview of tunes from his original musical, “Hawaiian Heart,” from 11 a.m. to noon March 24 at the Hawaii Kai Shopping Center.

John Cruz

An EP of five tunes from the homegrown musical has been released, so Cruz – widely known for his “Island Style” hit song – will preview the songs with Taiana Tulley and Bronson Varde, who are the leads in the movie.

“Hawaiian Heart” is described as  a musical rom-com about Lani, a young woman returning home to Kauai for the first time in years, reuniting with her high school sweetheart. Cruz serves as music supervisor for the project but will have a supporting role in the show, which is directed by Josh Goldman. Cruz and Goldman are co-writers of the 15 songs in the soundtrack.

Broadway grosses, week ending March 12

Not only is “The Phantom of the Opera” the hottest ticket on Broadway since January;  the Andrew Lloyd Webber production also is receiving a staggering $497 high for tickets. Prices escalated in January, with standing-room-only at the Majestic Theatre, attracting folks who want to see the chandelier fall again. Or for the first time.

New arrivals on the Great White Way includes revivals of “Sweeney Todd” and “Parade,” so expect new faves in the weekly gross listing.

The top seven:

No. 1 – “Phantom,” with $2.740 million.

No. 2 – “Hamilton,” $1.915 million.

No. 3 – “Funny Girl,”  $1.850 million.

No. 4 – “Sweeney Todd,” $1.805 million.

No. 5 – “Wicked,” $1.689 million,

No. 6 – “The Lion King,” $1.637 million.

No.7 – “MJ,” $1.564 million.

The compilation, courtesy The Broadway League:

And that’s Show Biz. …


Here’s everything you need to know about the Academy Awards this Sunday (March 12):

“Everything Everywhere All at Once,” the box office hit with multi-maximum-mashups of comedy, crime drama, karate, flashbacks and familial immigration conflicts, is anticipated to take home a large share of the Oscar statuettes. Its original multiverse should make “Everything” this year’s “Parasite” (the previous surprise Oscar winner from Korea) the big, deserved winner.

The 95th annual Academy Awards, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, will air on live from 2 p.m. Hawaii time on Sunday (March 12) on ABC. It will also stream on ABC.com, Hulu Live TV, and YouTubeTV.

My predictions, in seven key categories:

Michelle Yeoh and The Daniels, Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan.
  • Best Picture: “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” With 11 nominations and already a clutch of industry awards, it likely will make a sweep. It’s joyous mayhem – a looney and loopy concoction, not easily explainable – but a hilarity to watch. Imagine the @ icon fused with the # pound sign, connected with the & ampersand, finally with the ! exclamation point. Yep, @#&! defines the lunacy.
  • Best Director: The Daniels (Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert),“Everything Everywhere All at Once.” The two Danny Boys also have already snared a bunch of awards…. but Oscar would be the tantamount prize and universal applause and acceptance.
  • Best Actor: Austin Butler, “Elvis.” He was not an impersonator in this biopic, but he fused the moves and manners and music to create the magic that was the King.
  • Best Actress: Michelle Yeoh, “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” Yeoh’s the word, and she represents the new wave of conquests for the Asian community.
  • Best Supporting Actor: Ke Huy Quan, “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” The kid from “Indiana Jones” is a 51-year-old man now, and also riding the positive crest of new Asian (he’s Vietnamese) accomplishment and acceptance.
  • Best Supporting Actress: Jamie Lee Curtis, “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” Scream she must, for what will be her first Oscar win, a validation of her lifelong (she’s 64) screen career.
  • Best Original Song: “Naatu Naatu,”  from“RRR.” This oddity, from the Indian blockbuster, is a vigorous and contagious song-and-dance number that has been the rage throughout Europe, from an equally vivid action film that is also in contention for Best Film; it should have earned a slot for Best International Feature (previously, Best Foreign Film), where it could be a victor.

When Rihanna performed her Oscar-nominated song, “Light Me Up” (from “Wakanda Forever”), in the recent Super Bowl, she looked like a shoo-in as Best Song victor. But if she can grab the prize now, it will be considered an upset over “Naatu Naaatu.”

“Top Gun: Maverick,” the Jerry Bruckheimer box office hit, brought people back into the theaters (after three years of streaming films at home). It also jump-started the career of Tom Cruise. Alas, he didn’t even earn a nomination for Best Actor, and the movie – commerce at its best – will be relegated to a technical category like Best Sound.

The early favorites, like James Cameron’s “Avatar: The Way of Water,” fizzled by the time academy voters started the balloting, but could pick up a Visual Effects Oscar,  And industry giants, like Steven Spielberg (“The Fabelmans”) also were aced out of contention…

Whee, the people

Vicki Borges

Vicki Borges has gone political again; she is the new executive assistant to the District Chief/District Scheduler at the Office of Congresswoman Jill Tokuda. She’s the widow Jimmy Borges and formerly held a scheduler position with former Gov. Neil Abercrombie.
Fans of the Honolulu Jazz Quartet might want to join these jazz giants when they guest-perform in the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra’s Hapa Symphony, at 7:30 p.m. April 15 at the Hawaii Theatre. The HJQ features leader-bassist John Kolivas, saxophonist Tim Tsukiyama, pianist Dan Del Negro and drummer Noel Okimoto.

Kolivas was reminiscing the other day, back in the 1980s, when he says he was “Haradafied,” alluding to his first-time  bold-face name appearing in this column. Back in the day, he was already collaborating with Keola Beamer, who coincidentally will appear with his wife, Moanalani Beamer, in a Hawaiian segment of the other-wise jazz-centric evening. The agenda also will embrace hits from the ‘60s and ‘70s, tapping tunes by The Beatles and Seals & Crofts, with vocalists Zanuck Lindsey, Riya Davis and Kainalu Kolivas, John’s son …

Broadway grosses, week ending March 5

“Phantom of the Opera” still tops the Broadway scene, as its closing date nears.

The top seven shows:

1 — “Phantom,” $2.588 million.

2 — “Hamilton,” $1.944 million,

3 — “The Lion King,” $1.931 million.

4 — “Wicked,” $1.781 million.

5 — “MJ,” $1.715 million.

6 –“Harry Potter & the Cursed Child,” $1.475 million.

7 — “Moulin Rouge,” $1.455 million.

The compilation is courtesy The Broadway League. …

And that’s Show Biz. …


Disney’s plans to film a live-action “Lilo & Stitch” still lacks a juvenile island girl to play the titular female role.

While auditions already have been held, the studio still wants to conduct a last-minute search to attract an unknown  youngster who may be unaware of the ongoing hunt.

If cast, the minor lass likely will become a marquee personality, just as Auli‘I Cravalho — the voice of Disney’s animated “Moana” movie – who became a breakout star.

Auli’i Cravalho

Cravalho now may be a tad  too old to portray the live-action Lilo, but it’s likely she’ll land the role of Lilo’s older sister Nani.

The film, when completed, is expected to stream via Disney+, bypassing a theatrical release, but is anticipated to be a genuine hit for the Disney family audience. As a cartoon, “Lilo & Stitch” had life as a television series and eventually a full-length animated cartoon feature. Both characters also have enjoyed a high presence as roving cartoon figures at Disneyland and Disney World, to appease the selfie crowds.

Christopher Bright

Dean Fleischer Camp (“Marcell the Shell With Shoes On”) will direct. And there’s a local among the writing team, Chris Kekaniokalani Bright (yes, a next-generation family of the Ronald Bright ‘ohana), who has collaborated with Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders and Mike Van Waes.  Dan Lin and Jonathan Eirich are producing.

One role is cast: Zach Galifianakis (“The Hangover”) will portray Pleakley, the Plorgonarian from the planet Plorgonar, and an expert onthe Planet Earth. No mention if a Stitch actor has been found.

Disney, of course, is noted for reinventing much of its franchise hits, old or new. And live-action films from the warehouse of animated franchises have had more successes, including “Cinderella,” “Beauty & the Beast,” “Aladdin,” “Mulan,”  and “The Jungle Book” than failures like “Pinocchio” and “Dumbo.”

“Lilo & Stitich,” a success on TV and the big screen.

Casting director Rachel Whitley Sutton is seeking a precocious Native Hawaiian girl aged 6 to 8   (she could have Maori or Samoan, or any other Polynesian descent) to enact Lilo, a girl who loves hula, surfing and wildlife with a special affinity for things gross.

Details: baddog.casting@disneympp.com

Remembering Milan

“The Man Behind the Music,” a benefit for Milan Bertosa legendary recording engineer, will be held from 2:30 to p.m. Sunday (March 12) at Hawaiian Brian’s, aka HB Social Club, at 1680 Kapiolani Blvd.

Milan Bertosa

An all-star cluster of his pals and peers, will assemble to celebrate his life. Bertosa died unexpectedly last Jan. 1 at age 61. A popular and respected studio engineer who worked with a host of local acts, Bertosa was best known as the dude on duty, in the wee hours, when Israel Kamakawiwo‘ole famously stopped by the studio Bertosa was manning, and started humming and singing “Somewhere, Over the Rainbow” and “What a Wonderful World,” in what would become Hawaii’s No.1  best-seller and often-tapped voice in a host of films and hundreds of commercials.

Henry Kapono, Amy Hanaiali ‘i, Makena (Ho‘okena plus Moon Kauakahi of  the Makana Sons, hence the name), Del Beazley and Mailani Mak‘ina‘i  are among the headlining acts. Other participants include the Dean Taba Jazz Ensemble, Manoa DNA, Kapala, Shawn Ishimoto, Angela Morales, Mike Piranha,  Choco, Third Degree, Aleternative Fax and Doug Fitch.

Mele Apana and Lina Girl will host. Food and beverages will be available for purchase; a silent auction and raffle will also be featured.

Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door. …

And that’s Show Biz. …


Robert Cazimero and his Halau Na Kamalei O Lililehua will stage a Hawaiian concert of mele and hula at 2 p.m. March 19 at Leeward Community College.

The first of a three-year event, entitled “Journey to the Jubilee,” will be a culturally melodious celebration marking the 50th anniversary in 2025 of kumu Cazimero’s award-winning halau of dancing and singing  gents.

Robert. Cazimero

The program is presented by the Wahea Foundation.

Tickets — $30, $40, $50 and $65 –are scarce, and a sellout is anticipated.

Check the website for availability: https://www.leeward.hawaii.edu/events/cazimero-halaunakamaleiolililehua/

Services slated March 11 for Joe Recca

Joe “Pekelo”Recca services are set for March 11, at the Kamehameha Schools Chapel.

Visitation will be from 9:30  to 10 10:30 a.m., followed by services.

Joe Recca

Recca, the beloved singer with Tihati Productions shows for 35 years, died  last Nov. 18. He was 76.

His presence, as a soloist and a duo featuring Patricia Lei Anderson Murray, was a staple in Waikiki, notably at the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani’s Ainahau Ballroom.

Recca was one of four children of Kahu Lei and Sal Recca. A graduate of Kamehameha Schools, he was active in music and a beacon in the school’s annual Song Contest.

As a novice entertainer fresh out of school, he was one of the Royal Lads in Haunani Kahalewai’s show at the Royal Hawaiian’s Monarch Room and also one of the stars of the last

Webley Edwards’ “Hawaii Calls” radio program broadcast to Mainland audiences.

He was eloquent in Hawaiian – his mentor was George Kanahele – and served for 25 years as a Waikiki Historian, sharing his knowledge with the Native Hawaiian Hospitality Assn. as a lamakū hoʻokipa (cultural resource) on walking tours with visitors in Waikiki.

Off stage, Recca was no ordinary Joe; he had  flair and imagination, always immaculate in fashionable gear, often wearing a fresh lei or island necklace of beads and nuts to punctuate his personal style.

His vocal and stage career came to a halt when he developed throat cancer, which eventually led to his death.

Survivors include his wife of nearly 50 years, Shirley, daughters Elan and Delys, grandson Andrew, sisters Kahu Tina and Gina, and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.

Lei are welcome at the services. Burial date to be announced. …

The masked one still rules Broadway

“The Phantom of the Opera,” the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical with legs, continues to be Broadway’s best in the weekly figures of grosses provided by The Broadway League.

The top seven shows, for the week ending Feb. 26, are:

1 – “Phantom,” with $2.488 million.

2 – “Hamilton,” with $1.944 million.

3 – “The Lion King,” with $1.931 million.

4 – “Wicked,” with $1.781 million.

5 – “MJ,” with $1.715million.

6 – “Moulin Rouge,”  with $1.445 million.

7 – “Funny Girl,” WITH $1.333 million.

The complete list:

And that’s Show Biz. …


“Into the Woods,” the splendid musical with songs by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine, can be minimal and magical, or large and luminous. A favorite of stage actors, it’s an ambitious  challenge for any cast, amateur or professional.

Farrington High School’s revival —  directed and choreographed by Aubrey Lee Staley, with the school’s academy director, Miguel Cadoy III as musical director — is somewhere in-between.

For the Kalihi cast, this is a challenging effort, part of the campus journey to bolster acceptance on the theatrical map, with a core of stellar actors who are not yet accomplished dancers. The production does not have an adequate budget but nonetheless keeps tickets at an astonishing low of $10 for adults and there’s no hand-out playbill but you can download the critical credits online.

Yet “Into the Woods,” with its fairybook characters threatened by the giant, still gets “it” when everyone goes frolicking into the woods in search of missions and goals of mundane life. Go see and discover what eagerness looks and sounds like.

The Baker (Isaac Liu) and the Baker’s Life (Janal Baran) want a baby. Little Red Ridinghood (Julian Sanchez) wants to visit Granny (Maryann Nabua), Cinderella (Summer Pilor) wishes to go to the ball. Jack (Axle Munoz) is chastised by his Mother (Lucienne Jamera) for selling Milky White (a cow puppet, designed by Audrey Castandea-Walker, and manipulated by Marky Raphael).
The stepsisters Florinda (Rovie Piso) and Lucinda (Leihua Kuhaulua) want to become the belle of Cinderella’s Prince (Anselm Fautanu). This tale has a second royal, Rapunzel’s (Jade Escalante) Prince (Prince Adena).

The Witch (Cristal Ponce) threatens just about everybody and the Wolf (Brandon Lukas) stalks the little girl with the red cape, so life is a struggle.

And the Narrator (Randyl Degal) is the tour guide as the characters mix, mingle, and connect. He’s very much a part of the wants and needs of all.

With its once-upon-a-time framework, Sondheim’s score and Lapine’s libretto reflect dark and light, sadness  and happiness, and acceptance and resistance plus other dualities of life.

So the Baker and his Wife are instructed by the Witch to secure “a cow as white as milk, a cape as red as blood, hair as yellow as corn and a slipper as pure as gold,” giving them beans from her garden to barter with, and a key thread in the unfolding of the storyline.

The goal for the haggard one really wants these things to reverse a curse on her, to return to her earlier beauty.

The repeating themes: nothing is impossible, so live your dreams. The powerful message: Choices often mean consequence, so not everything comes easily. The outcome: agony can be transformed into hope and happiness.

Sondheim’s melodies are exquisite and often transformational, with cadence and complicated lyrics that define the prolific songwriter’s style, so delivery requires a complex art form of its own. One of the lingering tunes comes late in the show; “No One Is Alone” (delivered by Cinderella, Little Red Ridinghood, the Baker and Jack) is a signature.

And “Finale: Children Will Listen” (by the Witch and the company) is compelling and charismatic.

Director Staley, with  Kirstyn Galiusas as her assistant, works well with the ensemble scenes, bringing out the richness of company voicing; her choreography, however, is serviceable but static, clearly suggesting that dance is not the pivotal trait of her cast.

Erin Kamikawa’s costumes are colorful and functional. Christopher Patrinos is set designer and technical director; his stage design features a stationary principal bridge connects two moveable staircases (think “Hamilton”), garnished by forestry-like vines. The orchestra is situated behind the bridgeway.

There was one mishap, at last Saturday’s performance; the Stepmother’s (Kamakea Wright) wig toppled in one scene, but quickly adjusted, earning slight applause and chuckles.

Advisory: though the play explores beloved fairytale faves that young children may identify with, this is not for the very young, because the show demands quiet concentration.

Yes, the young ones might find delight in Milky White, the puppet cow, who earns a moo-ving cheer at the final curtain, but parents should have discretion in bringing their kids. Despite Sondheim’s vision, all children do not always listen. …

“In the Woods”

What: A musical by Stephen Sondheim, with book by James Lapine.

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday (March 3 and 4) and 2 p.m. Sunday (March 5).

Where: Joseph Rider Farrington Auditorium, at Farrington High School.

Tickets: $10 for adults (18 and older), $5 for students (5 through 17), $3 for Farrington students with ID, at https://www.showtix4u.com/events/15389

Download playbill: at https://www.canva.com/design/DAFbc4-g0BU/1k3g-OsVAYCLRaX9kj2Exg/view?utm_content=DAFbc4-g0BU&utm_campaign=designshare&utm_medium=link2&utm_source=sharebutton

And that’s Show Biz. …