When Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton” reopens Sept. 14 at the Richards Rodgers Theatre on Broadway, local boy Marc delaCruz will be part of the ensemble, as he was prior to the show’s shutdown due to the pandemic.

The principals in the award-winning mega-hit again will be led by Miguel Cervantes, in the title role, with key roles featuring Krystal Joy Brown (Eliza Hamilton), Mandy Gonzalez (Angelica Schuyer), Tamar Greene (George Washington) Jin Ha (Aaron Burr), James Monroe Iglehart (Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson), Euan Morton (King George III), Fergie L. Philippe (Hercules/James Madison), Aubin Wise (Peggy Schulyer/Maria Reynolds) and Daniel Yearwood (John Laurens/Philip Hamilton).

Marc delaCruz

For the record, Hawaii’s delaCruz had been understudying the title role and did perform Hamilton in at least one Sunday matinee. Thus, he became the first Asian American actor to do the role on Broadway. No updated word on his status beyond the ensemble.

The show’s box office opens Aug. 2, and a Hamilton store reopens Aug. 12 across the street from the Richard Rodgers Theatre; another store will open in Los Angeles, too, so the show is poised to relaunch in a big way. …

Halekulani reopening Oct. 1, but…

Halekulani Sunday brunch

The good news: the Halekulani Hotel finally has set Oct. 1 as its reopening date, following the closure due to the pandemic. The public environs will boast a new look, the rooms refreshed with expected elegance becoming a first-rate establishment.

The not-so-good news: The House Without a Key will welcome diners in November, again with exciting transformation befitting its beachfront location with vistas of the sea and the mountains. What locals want to know is when the main dining rooms will resume business, especially the fabled Sunday brunch buffets – a key destination for locals, who will stroll through the lobby and exteriors, but not likely to book a room.

Granted, buffet protocols will change (food items served, rather than self-served) but I’m in as long as the popular popovers prevail.

So: I’ll anticipate an announcement of restaurant reopenings, with particular emphasis on the Orchids Sunday brunch. …

At last: NCIS’ ‘okina in place

CBS finally has added an ‘okina – a diacritical mark – in the promotional visuals for “NCIS: Hawai‘i.” Generally speaking, it’s not a big deal to be “right” but the show made a promise to do what is traditionally correct. As you may know, it’s largely an optional inclusion in print media.

NCIS logo, with ‘okina

That said, the show and its cast led by Vanessa Lachey, continues to film episodes around town, and with its Pearl Harbor orientation, some filming has been on base but numerous sightings have been reported from communities across Oahu. The clue, if you’re wondering, would be a collection of vans and trucks required for equipment as well as cast dressing rooms. Or this cluster of vehicles could perhaps be “Magnum P.I.,” the other CBS filmed in Hawaii, starring Jay Hernandez.

“NCIS: Hawai‘i” will premiere at 9 p.m. Sept. 20, with the mothership original “NCIS” starring Mark Harmon preceding the island version, enabling the newbie a powerful lead-in edge. …

And that’s “Show Biz.” …


Just asking…

Are you, like me, confused and alarmed at the mispronunciation by media folks of common Japanese names or words?

I speak of a trio of often mispronounced names/words: Tokyo, Honda and panko.

Tokyo is a two-syllable word/name. It’s pronounced Toh-kyo, not To-ki-yo (adding a third syllable) as even the best of TV anchors and radio announcers here and abroad tend to do. If Kyoto can be said as a two-syllable word, why can’t Tokyo enjoy that privilege, too?

Then there’s the surname and automobile brand Honda. The proper pronunciation is Hohn-da, not Honn-da or Han-da. In the mispronouncers’ world, it would be spelled either as Hunda or Handa; I have friends named Honda who may or may not drive a Honda but know how to say it.

Further, celebrity chefs and foodies galore continue to perpetuate the mispronunciation of panko, the favored bread crumbs or flakes for tempura and tonkatsu. It’s pahn-ko, not pan (rhyming like can) ko.

Try Google-ing these words, if you don’t believe me.


Anthony Ruivivar, the Hawaii-born actor, is part of the “Turner & Hooch” reboot today (July 21) on Disney+.

Ruivivar, the son of the late Society of Seven founder  Tony Ruivivar and Karen Ruivivar, doesn’t have the lead – he portrays a secondary character, U.S. Chief Marshal James Mendez – but he took liberties in an Instagram post of the Disney PR poster, in which he replaced the image of series lead Josh Peck (taking on the part of Scott Turner Jr., portraying the son of original actor Tom Hanks) and photoshopped his own image, with “Chief Mendez” scribbled. It’s a joke, of course, and Ruivivar is smiling behind the pooch, Hooch, which, of course, also has billing in the title.

It’s the kind of stuff that makes Instagram insane, sometimes.

The show was Hanks’ introduction to the world, in a sitcom that put him on the radar. This one is a sequel to the original, with Peck as Turner Jr., in a cop-buddy format except the dog is the partner in crime-solving.

The cast includes Lyndsy Fonseca as Laura Turner, Scott’s sister; Carra Patterson as Jessie Baxter, Venessa Lengies as Eric Mourniere, and Brandon Jay McClaren as Xavier Wilson. Jeremy Maguire is Matthew Garland, a dog-loving nephew of Turner.

Anthony Ruivivar’s image is on this Instagram poster for Disney’s “Turner and Hooch.”

As Chief Marshal, Ruivivar oversees Turner Jr. but is not particularly friendly with the canine, known its messy drooling.

The series filmed six episodes in Vancouver, British Columbia, during the pandemic last year, and was booked to premiere in a  Friday slot. But Disney’s “Loki” premieres have been highly successful on Wednesdays, that screenings were launched today (July 21) and continue through Aug. 25. …

Gogh for it!

Due to public response, “Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience” has been extended through Sept. 26 at the Hawaii Convention Center.

The walk-through exhibit, featuring a myriad of Van Gogh art, has been an eye-thrilling, moving attraction where viewers become part of a constantly changing art experience.

For tickets, go to

And that’s “Show Biz.” …


It took several weeks, and a concerted effort to score a table, to sample the menu and ambiance at Chef Chai Chaowasari’s newest Waikliki eatery, KALO Hawaiian Food.

KALO Hawaiian Food entry door is located on the Kuhio Avenue side of the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel.

In the heart of Waikiki, on the ground floor of the Courtyard by Marriott Waikiki Beach, it’s located at a busy intersection at Royal Hawaiian and Kuhio Avenues.

The restaurant has a casual vibe and projects similarities with Chai’s Bistro, the signature eatery on Kapiolani Boulevard, across nearby Blaisdell Center.

Hawaiian sampler: front, kalua pig; chicken long rice, pipikaula; rear, lomi salmon, poi, ahi poke and a bowl of rice.

There’s indoor and outdoor dining space. The menu is extensive but confusing, because our waiter said the best way to order is to select your entrée first (lau lau is the centerpiece of of the fare), then do the add-ons.

Since KALO is the Hawaiian word for taro, the staple starch in Hawaiian culture, and the focus of the restaurant, one might be somewhat puzzled that there are a couple of non-Hawaiian signature dishes – primarily the excellent steamed sea bass, from the Bistro’s menu, along with island style BBQ chicken, lobster curry and oxtail soup.

And it becomes understandable why.

Lau lau: flavorful with pork, cuddled by taro leaves.

While a Hawaiian menu might seem like a surefire hit in visitor central, there were perhaps three tables of visitors who might have wanted to sample a Hawaiian menu who perused the choices…then decided to leave. Confused by choices? Prices? Not adventurous to try Hawaiian food?

Understandably, luau kau kau should entice more visitors but the hesitancy seems odd.  A primer might be handy; this is not the kau kau served at luau shows here because no matter what, poi should be a gotta-try but winds up not particularly likeable (though small) element of the visitor dining experience here. The fish and the BBQ chicken might be the go-to items, since these are stand-along entrees that do not need starters.

Uncertainty is a possible villain here, since the  menu seems still a work in progress.

What’s good: the lau lau entrée (moist and chockful of pork flavor) and the haupia dessert (a sweet climax).

But you get neither in a $45 sampler that includes small portions of kalua pig (too dry), lomi salmon (too much lomi, not enough salmon), ahi poke (familiar flavors and a satisfactory portion for newbies),  chicken long rice (pleasant taste, but the rice noodles are almost as large as udon, not the usual thin variety), pipikaula (looks better than it tastes, sinewy and tough to chew), poi (very tiny  portion) and rice (too flaky, like Chinese restaurant fare, when it should be the customary rice you get two scoops of at nearly every other joint).

 I adore and applaud Chai’s endeavors of the past, from his original Thai menu up to his  Bistro selections, but KALO shouts for his immediate and inevitable adjustments.

It seems sensible to bump the marginal kalua pig and even the rice, and substitute with a very mini lau lau like the one Willows used to serve in its buffet; large enough to enjoy the flavors and texture of taro leaf cuddling pork. That would add value to the $45 pricetag.

The sampler is enough to share with a partner; I ordered the lau lau while my wife opted for the succulent steamed bass.  The sampler provided her “sides.” (Two other couples in our party did the same thing, selecting the mixed mini-plates). Because haupia is something most folks seldom make at home, I ordered a larger portion, enough to share; the dessert was sweet and moist, with the precise creamy texture.

And who doesn’t like pipikaula? A better grade of meat would ramp up its appeal and be a worthy sider/starter at $22.

What’s worrisome: if locals don’t give a stamp of approval of the fare here, they won’t make a trek to Waikiki to give it a try; visitors are already in Waikiki, and by ramping up flavors or elevating some of the fare, they’ll help spread the word that KALO is the real deal.

The interior dining space is airy and modern with views of both avenues and visitors wandering; there is splendid old-fashioned Hawaiian music, which transforms you to another era in a simpler Hawaii, if you close your eyes. The walls have images of island folks and places.

The $52 steak and lobster curry choices on a Hawaiian menu seem out of place but serve as life savers in case of an emergency; surely Chai knows his way around his exotic flavors and plating, and these options appear to cater to those who dodge the traditional Hawaiian dishes. Chai also sneaks in his delectable flan and familiar heart-shaped chocolate/gelato truffle desserts, for brownie points. But the question is: why visit a Hawaiian food restaurant if you order alternatives

*. *. * *. *. *. *


Hours: 4:30 to 10 p.m. daily

Location: 400 Royal Hawaiian Avenue,

at Kuhio Avenue, on the ground floor of the Courtyard by Marriott Waikiki Beach

Valet parking: $6 with validation, access via Royal Hawaiian Avenue

Information: 931-6222