Great to learn that some of our Hawaii-reared talent are finding their way to the big screen.

No, not referring to the likes of Jason Momoa and Dwayne Johnson. They are in their own league, with signature projects under way.

Talking about the likes of Keala Settle, who will play Miss Coddle in the Jon M. Chu-directed movie version of “Wicked.” You know Settle best as the former Kahuku actress who famously portrayed the Bearded Woman in Hugh Jackson’s mega-hit musical, “The Greatest

Keala Settle

Showman,” in which Settle might have been a sideshow attraction but wound up performing and scoring a huge musical hit, “This Is Me.”

Headliners in this Broadway-to-cinema transition of “Wicked” will be the earlier announced Cynthia Ervo and Ariana Grande, who will take over the leads of Elphaba (The Wicked Witch of the West) originated by Idina Menzel and Kristen Chenoweth (Glinda the Witch of the South), respectively. “Wicked” (the movie) also will bring together Michelle Yeoh as Madame Morrible, Jonathan Bailey as Fiyero, Jeff Goldblum as The Wizard, Ethan Slater as Boq, Marissa Bode as Nessarose, and Bowen Yang as Pfannee.

Director Chu, who  helmed Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “In the Heights” in its film incarnation, has expressed an opinion that “Wicked” ran 2 hours and 45 minutes as a Broadway show, but opined on Twitter that “it would be impossible to wrestle the story of ‘Wicked’ in a single film without doing some real damage to it.” Omitting or trimming tunes or character roles felt like fatal compromises to the original sources, and composer Stephen Schwartz seconded the motion. Thus, a two-parter is in the works and composer Schwartz has agreed that Act 1 will conclude with “Defying Gravity,” and he will write a new original addition to the flick version, as reported in Variety. “Wicked Part 1” is due to be released  by Universal on Dec. 25, 2024, and “Wicked Part 2” will follow on Dec. 25, 2025. Talk about a multi-Christmas present. …

Auli’i Cravalho

Elsewhere,  Auli‘i  Cravalho, who voiced Moana in Disney’s “Moana” animated film, has been cast in the forthcoming Paramount+ film version of “Mean Girls,” which will be directed by Arturo Perez and Samantha Jayne. Cravalho will portray Janis, with Renee Rapp reprising her role as  Regina George (she did it on Broadway), Angourie Rice as Cady, and Jaquel Spivey as Damian in other key roles…

Still strumming and teaching

The annual Ukulele Festival no longer is in founder Roy Sakuma’s rear view mirror. He’s moved on.

Roy Sakuma

“Boy, how times have changed,” he said in an email. “ I am still teaching (mostly on Zoom) but do go to the studio on Wednesday mornings to teach.  It’s still a lot of fun to teach.”

Of course, the folks love him since he’s a jovial sort, with not just teaching skills, but with memories to share.

Meanwhile, wife Kathy still has been busy running the studio. Almost like a mom-and-pop operation, like the good  ol’ days. …

And that’s Show Biz. …

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