If you adore musical theater, love the shows of Rodgers & Hammerstein, miss the Golden Age of Broadway musicals and want to see a splendid cast of local talent — mostly troupers who performed these songs under the tutelage of the late Ron Bright — head over to Paliku Theatre at Windward Community College tonight (Sept. 30) and tomorrow afternoon (Oct. 1).

The attraction is “An Evening of Rodgers and Hammerstein Classics,” the first tunefest produced by the I’m A Bright Kid (IABK) foundation since the pandemic shut down Broadway fare and limiting the IABK focus to summertime kid-centric shows.

This one’s a wow. Wow, wow, wow!

This latest concoction collates titles from R&H’s Big Five shows, “The King and I,” “Carousel,” “South Pacific,” “The Sound of Music,” and “Oklahoma!”

The opening first notes and lyrics from “It’s a Grand Night for Singing” featuring the solo voice of the incomparable Michael Bright, provides a chicken skin moment and underlying theme of the production: It was a grand night for listening and reminiscing and applauding.

Directed by Ligaya Stice, IABK executive director, the evening was a concise, luminous, rapturous, and gratifying tapestry from the R&H songbook, filled with familiar melodies staged simply but effectively, minus the usual costumes and storytelling, but periodically embracing choreography and demonstrating a Mr. B trait: family virtues and participation.

The performers include many Brights, including the aforementioned Michael, Mr. B’s younger son and his wife Jade Bright, and a cluster of grandchildren, Caitlin Bright, Colton Bright, Drew Bright, plus another musical Bright, elder son Clarke Bright, in a rare role – drummer in the band of four.

Jade Stice, resident diva of IABK, works her magic.


  • Jade Stice is the undeniable IABK resident diva, who owns whatever she sings. Her best moment is her “Bali Hai” solo, making the mythic island real. She also is radiant  on “Something Wonderful,” and works her magic amid kids on “My Favorite Things.”
  •  Michael Bright is a proven soloist, time after time, and “Younger Than Springtime” validates his vigor;  with wife Jade Bright, “I Have Dreamed” is a sweet anthem of hope, while “People Will Say We’re in Love,” rings true as bona fide romantics.
  • Buz Tennent, rarely seen or heard lately, has an operatic baritone voice, capable of reaching those low, low notes, and he uses it well, notably on the classic “Some Enchanted Evening,” which might be deemed his nighttime hit here, and “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning,” which showcases his eloquence with a sunny stroke.
  • Mary Hicks is entrusted with the inspirational fare, and she makes her soprano glow  on “Climb Ev’ry Mountain,” and is one of the forces on “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” joined by Caitlin Bright, Jade Bright, Caris Leong, Jodi Leong, Jade Stice, and Azaliah Kekuna.
  • Bryce-William Irvine contributes a rhapsodic “If I Loved You,” demonstrating leading man potential and confidence.
  • The teen pendulum swings  engagingly, with Drew Bright and Azaliah Kekuna swapping teen emotions on “Sixteen Going on Seventeen.”
  • Two group efforts are fun and charming. “There Is Nothing Like a Dame” is a playful romp, delivered by Colton Bright, Drew Bright, Kainalu Durkin, Bryce-William Irvine, Allan Lau, Damian Mendez, and Devon Nekoba.  The youthful singing ensemble combines rollicking dancing on “Do-Re-Mi,” featuring Caitlin Bright, Colton Bright, Drew Bright, Azaliah Kekuna, Mikaela Freitas, Bailey Fujita, Aniylah Henry, and Jake Sato.

The “Rodgers and Hammerstein” cast takes a final curtain bow.

The staging is spartan yet efficient, comprising a platform designed by DeAnne Kennedy, for musicians So Jin Kimura (piano), Lynell Bright (keyboard), John Kolivas (bass) and Clarke Bright (drums); two staircases boast platforms for singers/dancers.

A dozen background panels enable projection of images (designed by Anna Foster), providing archival images from Mr. B’s past shows.

Clarke Bright (music director)  and So Jin Kimura (vocal director) are multi-tasking musicians.

Lighting designer Janine Myers, sound designer Kings Kalohelani and hair and makeup designers Kevin Murata and Mia Yoshimoto provide stellar tech support…

And that’s Show Biz…


“An Evening of Rodgers and Hammerstein Classics”

A musical revue of Rodgers and Hammerstein evergreens, from “King & I,” “South Pacific,” “Oklahoma!,” “Carousel” and “Sound of Music,” reflecting the favorite titles of the late Ron Bright.

Where: Paliku Theatre, Windward Community College

When: 7:30 p.m. today (Sept. 30) and 4 p.m. Sunday (Oct. 1)

Tickets: Premium, $32; adult, $27; seniors 65+, students up to 13, military, $22: children 6-12, $17; free, toddlers 2 to 5; babies under 2 not allowed; reservations at https://www.showtix4u.com/event-details/75827 …


I purchase specialty papers quite often, because I like to create note cards that have a burst of color and originality.

So, I discovered a small stash of paper – I believe they were intended to be gift-wrapping paper – at both Foodland and at Ben Franklin.

The unique designs were the attraction, and a friend wanted to buy some notecards, so voila …
New paper, new note cards, as depicted here.

The bottom line: you never know when you’ll run into a roll of paper or gift-wrapping paper.

Or when inspiration will get you into the craft mood.


“Mamma Mia!,” with a story and plot fueled by the music of the Swedish band ABBA, is widely considered comfort food for theater fans. Critics rarely give the show a thumb’s up

I loved the Broadway version, which ran at the Winter Garden in New York for 12 years and transferred to the Broadhurst Theatre for two more years.

First, a disclosure: I like comfort food and I adore the nostalgia of “Mamma Mia” in the early 2000s, because it’s a jukebox musical that chugs with ABBA melodies, boasts family virtues, amplifies the disco beat, and treasures girl and boy bands.

“Mamma Mia!,” the first show of the 2023-24 season at Diamond Head Theatre’s new facility, seems to have a disconnect problem, at least at Saturday night’s (Sept. 24) production I saw. The generally faithful audience seemed distant, sitting on their hands in the early moments of the show, and even the cast appeared to be somewhat disengaged, lacking chemistry.

It was discomforting, disturbing, disappointing that something was off kilter – like the feeling you get when you drop a quarter in the jukebox and it struggles to deliver the songs.

So, Act 1, which contains key ABBA tunes, was a see-sawing struggle to get into the groove. By Act 2, the audience and the cast seemed to separately find their mojo, right down to the longish final curtain call. So, the vehicle started, albeit a bit tardy.

The production, directed by Michael Ng in his DHT debut, offers lots to like. He brings vigor in his effort to rekindle ABBA’s moods, music, and manners.

His two female leads, Teagan Staslawicz as Sophie Sheridan and Alison Aldcroft as Donna Sheridan, project strong and luminous voices, as daughter and mother, respectively, living on a Greek island on the eve of the nuptuals of Sophie, 20, who wants her unknown dad to give her away, something her single mom, who independently operates a taverna, doesn’t know about and wouldn’t approve Sophie’s motives.

Teagan Staskawicz as Sophie, center, flanked by best buds Olivia Manahan as Ali and Marie Chiyo Staples as Lisa, in “Mamma Mia!”

Sophie peeks into Donna’s diary and discovers one of mom’s three beaus previous lovers two decades ago might be her dad, so she shoots off invites to each, who simultaneously arrive but not bearing gifts like those famous wise men.

At previous performances I’ve seen, the spectators spontaneously bounce to the rhythms, even sing and clap along, but not so here. Awkward.

Weary from rehearsals? A backstage issue? An off night?

One can wonder, but the reality is, the cast – singers and dancers – soldiered on and had to earn the applause. Might’ve happened somewhere between Donna and the company’s ensemble embrace of “Money, Money, Money” or Donna’s and Sophie’s romp on the title song with the three gents (Jeff Andrews as Harry Bright, Kirk A. Lapilio Jr. as Bill Austin and Kalani Hicks as Sam Carmichael) .

A gentle reminder here:  “Mamma Mia!” has a built-in exclamation point, for positivity! Lest you forget, the show was created by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus, the ABBA composers (with material contributed by Stig Anderson), with book by Catherine Johnson.

Quibble all you want, but the songs rarely describe the precise moments nor suit the performers. But this compilation is a quilt work of 20-plus ABBA numbers, and they made the cut, wherever there was a need.

Here’s where director Ng has found his niche. He enlists Dwayne Sakaguchi, also a first timer choreographing a DHT production, and Sakaguchi brings sass, swagger and inventive moves to energize the cast, including one hilarious number with the gents flinging arms and hands, with legs kicking to and fro, dancing with scuba gear flippers on.

Such body language of the choreographics enlivens the audience, since the production numbers are plentiful, providing action and reaction to Jenny Shiroma’s lively musical direction.

Alson Aldcroft, center, in blue, as Donna Sheridan; Alison Maldanado, left, in green, as Rosie Mulligan; and Laura Brucia Hamm, right, in purple, as Tanya; in “Mamma Mia!

And finally, the DHT stage is filled with scenics, designed by Deanne Kennedy, that fill the space and the eye. The main sets are a pair of tavernas, resembling Mediterranean stucco edifices, augmented by occasional windows dropped from the fly space, to suggest bedroom activities, and a shimmering curtain. The latter effect enables lighting designer Dawn Oshima to add a stunning circular ball of lights to enhance the effects of a nightlife scene and add dangling lights beneath the stage proscenium. And can’t forget the iridescence of the rainbow hues for the entr’acte that kicks off Act 2

Aiko Schick’s hair and makeup design captures disco ‘dos, to complement Emily Lane’s ‘70s costume retro gear, with obvious fun and freedom to dress Donna and the Dynamo’s ABBA-inspired garb of dated scalloped sleeves and platform shoes – a girl band to the max.

Of course, the trio of beaus also have the opportunity to be ABBA-fied in those gawd awful gear from the past.

Kerri Yoneda’s sound design had some issues in Act 2, notably with Donna’s miking, too soft on volume. Surely, the fine-tuning has been completed by now.

The score is not exactly stuff you’d chirp with your paramour; you know ‘em all, don’t ya, complete with repetitious titles like “Honey, Honey,” “Money, Money, Money,” “Gimme, Gimme, Gimme,” and “I Do, I Do, I Do.”

One substantial, endearing and comical number is “Take a Chance on Me,” when Alison Maldanado as Rosie (one of Donna’s BFF) pursues the available Lapililo (Bill), trying to get him to commit (he does, by the finale). It’s a rare instance when the song fuels the action.

The wedding guest list includes Olivia Manayan (Ali) and Marie Chiyo Staples (Lisa), Sophie’s best friends, and their “Honey, Honey” effort was one of those hollow, distancing vocals, despite their physical girly hugs and cheer, at the Saturday performance.

Donna’s buds’ collaborative tunes, with the aforementioned Maldanado (Rosie) and Laura Bruci Hamm (Tanya), include “Chiquitita” and “Dancing Queen.” Logic is not the operative word in this one.

If you know the plot, you know that Sophie’s choice is to call off the wedding, but one is ultimately staged for a happily-ever-after “I Do, I Do” finish.

Cynics should stay home, but if you’re willing to take a chance (if you can secure tickets), you’ll likely sing, or clap, or tap along to the frivolity and fun. And finally admit you’ve been  closeted ABBA admirer for years. …

And that’s Show Biz. …

“Mamma Mia!”

A musical with music and lyrics by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus, with  contributions from Stig Anderson

Where: Diamond Head Theatre

When: 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays ; 3 p.m. Saturdays Oct. 1 and 7; 4 p.m. Sundays Oct. 1, 8 and 15; special performance at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 4 to benefit Maui wild fire victims. Note: most performances sold out

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


Received this “You Might Be Old If…” compilation that has been making the rounds on Facebook.

It’s a great reflection of things past, but clearly a list of more recent experiences.

So I put on my memory cap, and searched the cobwebs of my growing-up time, and came up with a “You Might Be Older Than Old If…” version.

Of course, there could easily be an Old-Like-God compilation, if someone is willing to share…

You might be older than old if …

  • You shopped at the five-and-dime store.
  • You had milk delivered in glass bottles to your doorstep.
  • You ordered chocolate and strawberry milk.
  • You had washing machines with wringers.
  • You remember your five-digit telephone number.
  • You bought groceries from the yasai-man (vegetable seller who also sold fish and meat from a wagon/truck).
  • You bought dim sum from the manapua man who had two tin cans hanging from a pole.
  • You pounded your own mochi at home for new year’s.
  • You owned fountain pens with a jar of ink with a well for refilling the pen, before the arrival of ball-point pens,.
  • You watched movies in the hub of downtown movie houses, including the Hawaii Theatre, Princess Theatre, Liberty Theatre, King Theatre.
  • You purchased aku bones at the market for a delish dinner.
  • You made your own tsukemono by soaking cabbage in a large pot with water and old bread, with a stone weight to keep the contents in water.
  • You wore festive kimono (girls and women) or yukata tops (boys and men) to go summertime bon dances at local Buddhist churches.
  • You slept in sleeping bags, on the floor, while in grade school.
  • You wore Buster Brown shoes.
  • Your elders watched Japanese films at Aala Park and the Kukui St. area.
  • You had manual typewriters, with black replacement ink in a spool, and red-and-black in if you were able to afford ‘em.
  • You owned a phonograph with multiple speed choices, to play 78 rpm, 45 rpm and 33 rpm discs?
  • You communicated by snail mail, not e-mail, and when needed, paid extra postage for air-mail.
  • You used bubble lights on your Christmas tree.
  • You and the family ventured to Fort Street to view Liberty House’s decorated, animate Christmas show in its storefront windows.
  • You  watched prime-TV series, like “The Ed Sullivan Show,” which were shown here a week after its mainland airing.
  • You remember when the 50th State Fair was the 49th State Fair.
  • You rode city buses, operated by Honolulu Rapid Transit, which were trolleys requiring electricity.
  • You recall when Kalanianaole Hwy. was three-lanes, one heading to the Hawaii Kai, one heading to town, and the center lane for left or right turns?
  • You took your own pot, to order take-out saimin, from a saimin stand?
  • You attended Japanese language school, which were common after-school destinations, for those of Japanese ancestry.
  • You took in first-run movies at the Waikiki #1, Waikiki #2, and Waikiki #3, plus the Kuhio, in Waikiki.  And the Royal Theatre, also in Waikiki.
  • You saw in Don Ho, at his mom’s Honey’s in Kaneohe, before he went big-time at Dulke Kahanamoku’s at the International Market Place. It’s where he first introduced Marlene Sai to local audiences.
  • You watched the original “Sunrise” live morning show on KGMB, hosted by Kini Popo  (Carl Hebenstreit) and featuring Lei Becker.


Just asking…

When was the last time you…

…had a butcher wrap up your steak purchase in the pink butcher paper of the past?

…bought a newspaper from a child hawker, instead of from a vending machine?

…collected a match book or match box from a restaurant where smoking now is banned, anyway?