Looks like talks have resumed, among the minds and creators of “Hawaiian Goddess,” on an ambitious new Hawaiian musical embracing the lore and drama between Hi‘iaka and Pele. The saga has been previously shared in existing hula and chants; this retelling, with powerful new music, could become a cultural icon for its creators and a mystical and magical experience for potential audiences outside of Hawaii.
So Michael Jackowitz, a New York producer who spends time on Maui, convened with his artistic team to revive work on this alluring project with Hawaiian mele, chants and hula, according to online chats. Locals Keali‘i Reichel, Maui’s award-winning composer, singer, recording artist and kumu hula; Roslyn Catracchia, composer; Patrick Makuakane, kumu hula, dancer and choreographer, now based in San Francisco, gathered with Stephen Schwartz, award-winning Broadway hit-maker of “Wicked,” “Pippin” and “Godspell,” to continue shaping the new show, which is pretty much bubbling under the radar.
Producer Jackowitz’ credits include “Tuck Everlasting,” “The Best Is Yet to Come: The Music of Cy Coleman,” and “How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.” With a passion for things Hawaiian, he’d love to score a new hit, with Hawaiiana at its core, and has tapped an artistic team with credible portfolios committed to authenticity, to bolster the Pele and Hi‘iaka saga with homegrown behind-the-scenes experts. Before the pandemic, Jackowitz shared excerpts of the show in a preview with a cast of stellar island singers and dancers, with some possibly making the trial-run cast as the artistic journey continues. I was there to witness this work-in-progress then; it was stunning and beautiful.
The creative minds met at Mill House in Wailuku, to continue shaping and tweaking the Broadway musical with island storylines and music, initially planned to launch on a cruise ship, an unconventional but novel “out-of-town opening” trial run which was stalled when the pandemic lockdown halted everything. Don’t know if these ideas have changed.
Historically, this wouldn’t be the first Broadway musical with a Hawaiian arc. The first vehicle made its debut in March 1961, when Eaton Bob Magoon Jr. launched “13 Daughters” in New York, with disastrous results after 28 performances. Perhaps it was way ahead of time for an all-Hawaii show to grace a Broadway stage.
The intention for “Goddess” surely includes a possible run on Broadway, which also is in the midst of shaping a new kind of normalcy in New York, where new shows are being groomed and old hits restored to return on the Great White Way this fall, amid rigid protocols for safety including vaccination proof for theater-goers and vaxxing for actors, backstagers, and theater personnel. All a good thing, to raise the bar to combat and control the latest delta variant. …
TAG ready to welcome ‘Kimberly’
The Actors Group (TAG) will launch its new season Aug. 27 when “Kimberly Akimbo” debuts at the Brad Powell Theatre at Dole Cannery. Performances run through Sept. 12.
Swaine Kaui is directing David Lindsey-Abaire’s play, set in suburban New Jersey, about a teenager with a rare condition causing her body to age faster than normal. Her family flees Secaucus under dubious conditions, and Kimberly is forced to reevaluate her life, including the possibility of first love and her own mortality. The challenges include a hypochondriac mom, a seldom sober father, and an aunt who is a scam artist.
The cast includes Lisa Konove as Kimberly , the daughter with a complicated life; Aiko Chinen as Debra, the aunt; Tom Smith as Buddy, the dad; and Clarisse Lee as Pattie, the mom., One of the characters is Jeff, a nerdy friend, played by Kainoa Kelly, the son of Lee Cataluna and Jim Kelly. So there’s intrigue within the show and its players.
Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets: $30 adults, $25 seniors, $20 military and students.
Tribute shows at Blue Note
A fan of tribute shows? Two are coming to Blue Note Hawaii at the Outrigger Waikiki resort:
- “Take Me Back to Chicago,” a salute to the fabled and enduring rock band Chicago, at 6:30 and 9 p.m. Aug. 13 and 14. The act is led by Danny Seraphine, legendary drummer and co-founder of Chicago, and will feature a roster of Chicago hits. Think “Saturday in the Park,” “If You Leave Me Now,” “Hard to Say I’m Sorry” and “Does Anybody Know What Time It Is.” The musicians include Marc Bonilla, Ed Roth, Travis Davis, and Tony Grant. Tickets: $30 and $25. Visit: www.bluenotehawaii.com or call 777-4890. …
- Manoa DNA will stage “The Music of the Eagles,” a tribute show, at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 29 at Blue Note Hawaii. The group, now featuring dad Lloyd Kawakami and son Alx Kawakami (son-brother Nick Kawakama has retired), will feature keyboarist Ethan Capone. “MDNA has always been a fan of the Eagles and we wanted to have some fun with their music,” said dad Lloyd. Tickets: $35 and $25. Visit: www.bluenotehawaii.com or call 777-4890. …
And that’s “Show Biz.” …