The sun will come out tomorrow – well on Dec. 2, on NBC – when “Annie Live” is televised as the network’s next staged-for-broadcast  musical. And whoa, a Hawaii lass will be in the cast!

The titular character of the orphaned girl will be portrayed by Celina Smith, 12, who heads the cast after portraying Young Nala in the national tour of “The Lion King.”

Harry Connick Jr. will be Oliver Warbucks and Taraji P. Henson as Miss Hannigan. For Hawaii hometowners, the interest surely will be supporting cast member Nicole Scherzinger as Grace, with Tituss Burgess as Roost.

Nicole Scherzinger

Scherzinger is the local-born singer, best known for her work as lead singer of the Pussycat Dolls. While she’s had a string of high-profile roles as a judge on TV competitions including “Dancing With the Stars,” “Australia’s Got Talent,” “The X Factor UK” and “The Masked Singer,” she has logged stage credits, too, including “Cats” in the West End, where she was nominated for a Laurence Olivier acting award. So she’s got theatrical chops, too.

“Annie” has been a darling TV resource; this will be fourth tube interpretation of the Tony-winning musical based on Harold Gray’s comic strip and immortalized in songs with music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin, and book by Thomas Meehan.

Following its Broadway success, there has been a 1982 film with Carol Burnett and Albert Finney, a 1999 TV film with Kathy Bates and Victor Garber, and a 2014 reboot with Jamie Foxx and Cameron Diaz. …

Blue Note-tations

Kuana Torres Kahele

A couple of gems:

Robert Cazimero
  • Robert Cazimero will join Kuana Torres Kahele when the latter has a birthday celebration, at 6 and 8:30 p.m. Sept. 9 at Blue Note Hawaii. Only the first show will offer a full-on hula component. Both are skilled, leading singers-composers-musicians in theHawaiian orbit. Kahele previously was part of the Na Palapalai ensemble but has established himself as an indefatigable soloist, writing and recording several albums paying homage to mele of each of the seven Hawaiian islands, specializing in made-for-hula newbies. Cazimero is the surviving member of The Brothers Cazimero and is a legendary kumu hula and choreographer, with a vocal repertoire ranging from Hawaiian to Broadway tunes with in-between pauses on classics from the All-American Songbook to the occasional pop and jazz numbers.Tickets: $25 for loge, $35 for premium, and $20 for live streaming. Visit www.bluenotehawaii.com
  • Jim Brickman brings his piano and vocal artistry at 6:30 and 9 p.m. Sept 17 and 18 at Blue Note. Though it’s not Valentine season (his preferred time for romantics), love will be in the air. Tickets: $65 premium, $55 loge and bar. Visit www.bluenotehawaii.com

Why TAG yanked live ‘Akimbo’

The heightened, changing COVID protocols and safeguards have forced The Actors’ Group (TAG) to halt its “live”audiences at the Brad Powell Theatre at Dole Cannery. The plan was to do a few in-person performances of “Kimberly Akimbo,” combined with virtual shows; now it’ll be only via streaming.

Board members decided to eliminate live audiences in the name of caution; Mayor Rick Blangiardi last week decreed that in-person shows must be limited to an audience of 10 or fewer, but the question was unclear: what about the nine actors and crew? Are they counted in the 10 allowable?

With the possibility of health issues later, and the lack of clarity on the 10-in-the-house directive, TAG decided to pull the plug on spectators even without legal scrutiny. Season ticket holders will receive updates on how to view the virtual show; others should visit https://www.broadwayondemand.com/series/ylviHkBqTjmd-kimberly-akimbo–the-actors-group 

The coronavirus cloud is affecting all theater groups here, and adjustments to playdates – like Manoa Valley Theatre’s and Diamond Head Theatre’s decisions to delay opening night for a month – will impact future shows by impacting seating and crowd capacity, and reducing or minimizing necessary rehearsal time for the next-up shows.

This is a predicament that will continue to change. So stay tuned. …

Stones gather no moss

The Rolling Stones won’t gather much moss, despite the Aug. 4 death of founding member Charlie Watts, a drummer extraordinaire. He was 80.

The Stones’ “No Filter” tour, sidelined in 2020 because of the pandemic, will hit the road starting in September, and Watts’ replacement will be Steve Jordan, 64, who had been lined up to sit in for Watts since the vet needed time to rest and recuperate.  Watts himself tapped Jordan as his replacement, who has gigged with The Blues Brothers, B.B. King, Bruce Springsteen, Cat Stevens, Billy Joel, Lee Ann Rimes, Bruno Mars, Bob Dylan, Beyonce and Kelly Clarkson.

Concerts West has rescheduled 12 postponed dates, beginning Sept. 26 in St. Louis MO and ending Nov. 20 in Austin, TX. Alas, Hawaii is not on the itinerary. …

And that’s Show Biz. …


  1. Nicole Scherzinger is a household name in the UK, all my many friends there know of her and I’ve personally seen her on several UK produced TV commercials when I traveled to London on business. She also had a high profile romance with pro UK race car driver, Lewis Hamilton which made her (and him) a target of the British paparazzi. I also saw an interview with her on the BBC and she spoke lovingly of growing up in Hawaii and her grandmother (I think) in Maui. Nicole is not just beautiful, she’s really talented.

  2. Glad to hear about Nicole’s acceptance and popularity in the UK — bodes well for Hawaii folks, too, since locals love to support and rally around entertainers with island roots. The fun will come out tomorrow, when she tackles the “Annie” role –a conniving, comedic character. Thanks for sharing.

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