“The Little Mermaid,” a Disney animated film and later a Broadway musical, is a balmy but bewildering ride through the land of make believe.

Ariel, the mermaid, is an undersea princess, if you follow the Disney norm; she yearns to have legs, to live above the ocean, and is willing to give up her precious voice so she can connect with a prince with legs.

So, yes, this show has “legs,” a term referring to something or someone with possibilities and popularity to sustain grand box office in the theatrical realm. The Farrington Performing Arts Center’s production, now streaming, is inspired by a Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale, and boasts a darling princess in Elisha Caneso-Cabasan, who has a requisite sweet voice; a surly but not threatening antagonist Ursula in Nadia Amian, who has the build but not enough thunder to be frightening; and a handsome Justin Basques who looks the part of Prince Eric but possesses a slim voice.

Elisha Caneso-Cabasan as Ariel

Thus, the recipe leading to a convincing make-believe tale to change a fish tale to legs is lacking ingredients to make the stew stimulating. This is an uneven but likable production. What’s bewildering is the lack of interest in the subsidiary characters: the six sisters, the red crab Sebastian who looks like a lobster (with hands, not claws), for instance.

In the original Broadway version, the sisters wore Heelys (shoes with skates) to simulate gliding, but logically, not a priority here. Miguel Cadoy III, Farrington’s eager and savvy drama honcho who directed and oversaw music, delivers an eye-filling production in the “High School Musical” manner, enabling his cast of mostly students new to acting to become fantasy characters to stage a two-hour show (with a five-minute intermission) to build pride, community and deliver a virtual product with sufficient cheer and energy. Caneso-Cabasan is a senior; Basques, Keith Cabbab as Sebastian the crab and Bernielle Isidro as Chef Louis are 2020 Farrington grads. And Johnric Acosta as Flounder, a Kapalama Elementary fifth grader, are guest troupers in the endeavor.

Nadia Amian as Ursula

This is the first cast I’ve seen in any performance – live in the flesh or taped and shown virtually – where the singers-actors don clear face masks in these pandemic times. Certainly, it’s a safety protocol, but surely the masks must interfere with projection and delivery of words and vocals. So: kudos for this mask-erade.

Of course, the score – music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater — includes hit songs “Part of the World” and “Under the Sea.” You’ll smile, and perhaps privately hum, with the joy of recognition.

Families with young children will adore the show, which has a sleek look thanks to a series of slide projections instead of movable sets to designate scenes. These prefab elements enable student productions to project a measure of professionalism at minimal cost and could be the wave of the future in Broadway productions, where these budget-friendly background visuals have started to emerge.

Prince Eric: Justin Basques as Prince Eric

Unlike other streaming shows, available at the discretion of the viewer, “Mermaid” is available only at specified times. Remaining regular performances are at 2 p.m. today (April 25) and May 2, and at 7 p.m. April 30 and May 1. Three performances have been added, at 8:30 a.m. April 28, 29 and 30, to enable schools to tune in, but also open to the public. Tickets are $10 for a single adult (18 and above) and $5 for single students (17 and below), and $20 for a family of three or more people. A streaming code will be sent for each purchased ticket to be used for one device. To purchase tickets, visit


It’s official. And it has its own logo.

And it’s about time.

After weeks of deliberations and rumors, CBS today announced it was formally green lighting another franchise show – “NCIS: Hawaii” – to join the family of “NCIS” procedurals. Hope CBS considers Hawaii natives to join the “NCIS” legacy.

Deadline was the first to announce the fourth in the CBS franchise and the first to have a female character heading the investigations theoretically based at Pearl Harbor.

The Hawaii nod was buried in the announcement that “NCIS: Los Angeles” was OK’d for its 13th season next fall, joining the mothership Mark Harmon-led original which has been approved for its 19th season.

As Hawaii makes its debut, “NCIS: New Orleans” is terminating its seventh season. So one in, one out. CBS also is procedural heavy: it kicks off “CSI: Vegas” and “FBI: International” this fall.

The Hawaii cast – hopefully, a blend of locals and Mainlanders — will make an impact. CBS has learned, from the reboot of “Hawaii Five-0,” now gone from the landscape, should advocate diversity in the acting ranks. This factor could impact how popular it will be in this maiden voyage. Having a woman heading the team is a starting point for diversity.

Expections and anticipations have been high. Though fans had predicted and hoped for a reunion of Michael Weatherly as Tony Dizono and Cote de Pablo as Ziva David, from the original “NCIS, ”that won’t happen, since Weatherly’s “Bull” also returns to the Eye Network this fall.

Local boy behind next Marvel superhero film

A Hawaii-born filmmaker is the writer and director of “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” Marvel’s highly anticipated superhero film and the first with an Asian protagonist.

Destin Daniel Cretton, 42, a Haiku, Maui-born native, is the screenwriter for the film, collaborating with David Callaham and Andrew Lanham. The much-delayed film, produced by Marvel Studios and being distributed by Disney, will star Simu Liu as the title character, with Tony Leung Chiu-wai and Awkwafina among the cast.

Destin Daniel Cretton

“Shang-Chi” was to have been released in February, but was detained till May, then later delayed to July, because of the prevailing pandemic. Now the release date is set for Sept. 3 this year Cretton has been quoted to say he wanted “in” on this project because he wanted “to give (his) son a superhero to look up to.” Liu, a Chinese Canadian actor, is cast as the fictional title character, a skilled martial artist trained by his father to be an assassin. Leung Chiu-wai, a well-known Hong Kong actor, plays the father, Wenfu. Awkwafina, born Nora Lum, is a comedian with a growing list of Hollywood credits with Asian themes, including “Crazy Rich Asians” and “The Farewell.” She plays Kay.

In the 25th installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Shang-Chi is forced to confront his past after being pulled into the Ten Rings Organization, a terrorist group seeking to destroy world peace.

Cretton is married and has two children.He has been a prolific film-maker, writing and directing his projects, including “The Glass Candle” in 2017 and “Just Mercy” in 2019.


Sunday’s Academy Awards telecast on ABC is the industry’s most abnormal Oscarcast ever, one that’s frustrating to plug into due to the pandemic. Though I’ve seen a clutch of nominees, none were viewed in a traditional movie theater. Streaming has been the only option for most, and viewing a film via streaming is, well, akin to watching TV. You miss the bells and whistles of large screen watching, and popcorn with arare, too. I mean, do you make homemade popcorn to sit in front of the tube?

Didn’t think so. Still, it’s fun to predict who’ll win. It helps to have seen a flick and a performance, so the fewer movies you’ve streamed, the more you feel distanced. How was he, or she, in a touted role?

Nonetheless, I’m posting my choices, but only in films I’ve seen, Happily, what I’ve viewed seem to be among the wider-reaching films in a year of unfortunate circumstances limiting access, and consequently, viewing.


Best Picture: “Nomadland.” Hulu exhibited this one – a dark, often gloomy, fascinating and organic glimpse of a subculture of folks who aren’t homeless, but live like those without a roof, traveling hither and yon in vans. It’s mobile home folks, inhabiting camps and thus co-exist as a tight, itinerant community with shared woes and hopes.

Best Director: Chloe Zhao, “Nomadland.” She yielded an artistic stroke, converting the somber and lonely landscape into a character with a commanding sense of reality. Besides directing, she wrote, edited and produced the film.


Best Actor: Chadwick Boseman, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” Netflix screened this one, and Boseman (he died last August) is a sentimental posthumous winner playing a brilliant but stubborn musician in the band of a luminous blues singer in difficult times.

Best Actress: Frances McDormand, “Nomadland.” She was gritty, grand and commanding as the turf she frequented as a roving gypsy in her van, a difficult journey and a demanding challenge.


Best Supporting Actor: Daniel Kaluuya, “Judas and the Black Messiah.” He inhabited the role of Fred Hampton, the Black Panther Party chairman and activist, dominating the film in what clearly is a leading actor performance, which sort of gives him a better chance of winning this category. Premiered on HBO Max.

Best Supporting Actress: I have to pass here, since I’ve not seen Yuh-Jung Youn, the favored winner from “Minari.” Streamed on YouTube and Apple TV. I’ve seen the other nominees (Glenn Close, “Hillbilly Elegy;” Amanda Seyfried, “Mank;” and Maria Bakaloa, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”) but if Youn doesn’t win, I’ll go with Close.

Two categories I can vote for, on titles I’ve seen:

Best Documentary Feature: “My Octopus Teacher,” a stunning diary of undersea mystery (streamed on Netflix), following a favored octopus, who appears, disappears, and reappears in the watery forests off the coast of South Africa. Kudos to co-directors James Reed and Pippa Ehrlich for this visual journal that doubles as a love story of dedication and perseverance between a sea creature and a filmmaker. In pandemic times, this was a splash with flash.

Best Animated Film: “Soul Story,” a joyous triumph by Pete Docter, whose Pixar experience yielded a stunning, entertaining, and about a jazz musician who goes to heaven. Should win for Best Score. Easily could have been a contender for Best Picture. Streamed on Disney+.


May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii, and on May 1, there are two celebrations – one virtual on TV, one live in a Waikiki club –worth considering.

The traditional mammoth Hawaiian party at the Waikiki Shell, is only a memory now; the Brothers Cazimero, who staged Lei Day annually for years, pulled the plug a number of seasons ago. Since then, Roland Cazimero died, and Robert Cazimero has tried to carry on some measure of the beloved celebration.


Robert surfaces again this year, in a televised performance, at 6 p.m. May 1 on KGMB, then an hour later at 7 p.m. on KFVE, with a re-telecast at 8 p.m. May 3 again on KFVE. Facebook Live by Kahuli Leo Le’a will carry the program for worldwide viewing.

Kahuli Leo Le’a is producing the event, “Hawaiian Airlines May Day 2021: Makai’ika’I,” which will assemble Cazimero and his Halau Na Kamalei o Lililehua, along with Keauhou, Manu Boyd, the Ha’eha’e girls, Ka La ‘Onohi Mai o Ha’eha’e directed by Tracie and Keawe Lopes and Halau Mohala ‘Ilima directed by Mapuana de Silva. Billy V. emcees

The mission is to create a robust burst of Hawaiian culture amid the perimeters of your TV screen at home. The scent of freshly-strewn blossons of lei will be missing, unless you abide by the Cazimero mantra for years, “Make a Lei, Give a Lei, Wear a Lei.” Zachary Lum, a member of the group Keauhou, is the producer-executive director of the telecast show, and is staging the production “as Hawaii continues to welcome malihini back to the islands,” he said. “We are eager to utilize online platforms, bringing May Day to wider audiences and delivering an important message through this creative presentation.”

Hawaiian Airlines is the title sponsor of the e-show.


As part of his residency at the Blue Note Hawaii club at the Waikiki Outrigger Hotel,Kuana Torres Kahele presents May Day with a plethora of hula and serenaders, creating a tapestry of culture which is part of his signature.Shows will be at 6 and 8:30 p.m. May 1 (doors open at 4:30 and 8 p.m.), with Kahele assembling three wahine kumu hula: Vicky Holt Takamine, Leimomi Ho and Leina’ala Pavoa Jardin, who will share their dancers and artistry, along with unnamed guest dancers.

Tickets: $35 premium, $25 loge and bar zone; call 777-4890 or visit

In addition, there will be designer pop up by designer Manaola.

Social distancing protocol will be observed. Also, Blue Note will offer meal options.