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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, April 9, 2006

Musicals popular choice in 2006-07 theater season

By Wayne Harada
Advertiser Entertainment Writer

Manoa Valley Theatre has landed "Urinetown," an edgy musical with an unconventional theme. Army Community Theatre has precast Laurence Paxton in "Sweeney Todd" and Shari Lynn in "Annie."

The Honolulu Theatre for Youth is tweaking "Snow White," which will boast the title heroine but only one actor playing the seven dwarfs.

And Diamond Head Theatre is remounting "You Somebody," with Loretta Ables Sayre as the unpredictable mom with celebrity yearnings.

That's the outlook so far among community theater groups, which have announced their 2006-07 seasons. More dramas, musicals and comedies will be revealed in the weeks ahead by other organizations.

Here is what you can expect on local stages:

ARMY COMMUNITY THEATRE

With pre-casting of Laurence Paxton in the title role of "Sweeney Todd" and Shari Lynn as Miss Hannigan in "Annie," Army Community Theatre may draw big box office for its 2006-07 season, starting this fall.

"Todd" and "Annie" are two of four popular Broadway musicals heading to ACT at Richardson Theatre at Fort Shafter. Paxton ("The Secret Garden") and Lynn ("Gypsy," "Guys and Dolls") have been popular marquee attractions in earlier ACT outings.

ACT musicals premiere at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, repeating at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

The season at a glance:

  • "Sweeney Todd," the Stephen Sondheim musical, slices up intrigue and dark comedy, playing Sept. 7, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22 and 23. Audition dates: June 26, 27 and 28. The bloody good fun involves a demon barber on Fleet Street and his enterprising neighbor with a highly astounding secret recipe.

  • "Annie," the tuneful family show based on the comic strip, will be revived Nov. 16, 17, 18, 24, 25 and Dec. 1 and 2. Audition dates: Sept. 11, 12, 13.

  • "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," the first Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice musical with Biblical ties, Feb. 22, 23, 24, March 2, 3, 9 and 10, 2007. Auditions: Nov. 27, 28 and 29.

  • "Grease," the 1950s rock musical about high school romance and conflicts, playing May 10, 11, 12, 18, 19, 25 and 26, 2007.

    Tickets: Get season tickets for $60, $75 adults; $45, $50 children. Individual tickets are $15, $20 adults; $12, $15 children, available later; 438-4480, www.square one.org/ACT.

    DIAMOND HEAD THEATRE

    Diamond Head Theatre has positioned itself as "the Broadway of the Pacific." The 2006-07 season, its 92nd, will include "Thoroughly Modern Millie," rights for which have just become available, and a remounting of "Cinderella," a family classic with a Rodgers & Hammerstein score.

    John Rampage, DHT artistic director, will helm "You Somebody," the Lee Cataluna comedy, and "Gigi," the Parisian musical. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and 4 p.m. Sundays, with 3 p.m. Saturday shows on the second and third weekend of the run.

    The season:

  • "Thoroughly Modern Millie," Sept. 22 through Oct. 8. A Tony Award-winning musical based on a movie, this story tracks the trials and tribulations of flapper-era Millie Dillmount, who moves to New York in search of a new life amid changing times. A Hawai'i premiere. Directed and choreographed by David Spangenthal, who was in the national tour of "Millie."

  • "Cinderella," Dec. 1 through 17. Greg Zane, who directed and choreographed the current "Edwin Drood" musical, will team with Tim Albrecht (who did DHT's "The Full Monty") on this one.

  • "Lend Me a Tenor," Feb. 2 through 18, 2007. A comedy by Ken Ludwig about the mistaken belief that a famed Italian tenor, one Signor Tito Merelli, has died, prompting the Cleveland Grand Opera Company to fret about how to fix the dilemma. A wild romp of mistaken identities, disguises, and wholesale scheming.

  • "Sweet Charity," March 23 through April 8, 2007. A musical, with book by Neil Simon, music by Cy Coleman and lyrics by Dorothy Fields, based on an original screenplay by Federico Fellini, Tullio Pinelli and Ennio Plaiano. A poignant and comedic look at the misadventures of Charity Hope Valentine, a dance-hall hostess who's all heart and aspirations. The show, originally staged in 1966, was revived on Broadway last year. Andrew Sakaguchi will direct and choreograph.

  • "Gigi," May 18 through June 3, 2007. Set in turn-of-the-century Paris, with such memorable tunes as "Thank Heaven for Little Girls," "I Remember It Well," "The Night They Invented Champagne" and "Gigi."

  • "You Somebody," July 13 through 29, 2007. A revival of the Cataluna comedy, with tunes by Keola Beamer and a mother who guides her family through a whirlwind effort to be "somebody," in the hopes of finding her name boldfaced in a particular newspaper column.

    Tickets: Get season tickets for $49, $99, $146 and $196, available May 15. Individual tickets are $12, $22, $32, $42, available Aug. 28. 733-0274, www.diamondhead theatre.com.

    HONOLULU THEATRE FOR YOUTH

    This nonprofit professional theater company specializes in drama education as it produces stage shows. Its 2006-07 season begins in August at Tenney Theatre. Showtimes: 7:30 p.m. Fridays, 1:30 and 4:30 p.m. Saturdays; exceptions are noted.

    HTY artistic director Eric Johnson, embarking on his second season here, said part of his intent in mounting the season was to tap community resources. "HTY's history of creating new works distilled from our own community experiences is thrilling to me," he said. "I wanted to build on that, so we've allowed scripts to be more fluid as we enter the season, letting the play production process take full advantage of the formidable creative talent within our own company."

    The season:

  • "Snow White," Aug. 25 through Sept. 23. This rendering by Hester Kamin offers a spunky, not passive, princess who encounters the evils of vanity and the pleasures of kindness; the show is created specifically for the HTY acting company, which fuses comedy with spirited dances to original music. Suggested for children 4 and older.

  • "Sport," Oct. 13 through Nov. 11. An adaptation by HTY, "Sport" is an examination of how we play. The show has toured parts of Europe and the U.S. and pokes fun at everything from friendly competition to the fierce commercialization of the game. It's performed by three energetic athlete types who show how a boxing match can become a bout of musical chairs, how a tennis ball can evolve with a mind of its own, and how surfing can become mind-boggling. A Honolulu premiere. Suitable for those 5 and older.

  • "Christmas Talk Story 2006," Dec. 1-23. A holiday tradition at HTY, this collection of rich, personal takes on Christmas by local authors includes live seasonal music. The underlying theme: Christmas is a time for family and reflection. Now in its eighth year. Suitable for those 5 and older.

  • "A Thousand Cranes," Jan. 19 through Feb. 10, 2007. An adaptation by Kathryn Schultz Miller of the true story of Sadako Sasaki, a young victim of the Hiroshima A-bomb disaster, combining the horrors of war with the spirit of optimism. Sadako was 2 when the invasive bomb changed her life; at 12, she was diagnosed with "radiation sickness;" she takes on the mission, based on the legend that a sick person folding 1,000 origami paper cranes will be granted the wish for wellness, and her classmates finish the cranes after she dies of leukemia. Origami, masks and techniques from traditional Japanese theater help relate this touching story. Suggested for those 7 and older.

  • "The Stones," Feb. 23 through March 10, 2007. A play by Tom Lycos and Stefo Nantsou about how a harmless prank of kicking a rock off a freeway overpass can result in deadly consequences. A Hawai'i premiere. Suggested for those 10 and older.

  • "Tales of Old Hawai'i," 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. March 10 and 24, 2007. A revival of a Nara Cardenas-BullDog production about a young girl learning about Hawaiian traditions as she follows her lost kapa beater down a river. Told with puppets and magic. For those 3 and older.

  • "The Sense-Sational Show," 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. March 13, 17, 31, April 14, 2007. A play for pre-schoolers, by Cynthia See, explores the five senses and how we use them. For those 3 and older.

  • "The Magical Bird: A Fabulous Filipino Folk Tale," April 13 through May 12, 2007. With King Ferdinand suffering from insomnia, things are out of kilter in the Philippines, in this play by Elizabeth Wong, commissioned as part of the 100th anniversary of Filipinos in Hawai'i. Only the Adarna bird's lullaby can appease, but alas, capturing the critter is no easy task. Lessons on kindness prevail, with comedy, original music and puppetry as enhancements. A world premiere. Suitable for those 4 and older.

    HTY also will present "Choice," a play by Yokanaan Kearns, to be performed by actors in "The Stones." The play, staged in a partnership with the Sex Abuse Treatment Center, will include a post-performance discussion about sexual violence toward women and is intended for male audiences in a tour of schools and communities. Not part of the regular season offerings.

    Tickets: Season tickets are $84 adults, $42 youths 18 and under and seniors over 60. Individual tickets are $16 and $8; 839-9885, www.htyweb.org.

    MANOA VALLEY THEATRE

    As Hawai'i's off-Broadway theater group, Manoa Valley Theatre has lined up three musicals, a drama, a mystery and a comedy for its 2006-07 season.

    The fare includes "Urinetown," a dark and satirical musical set in a town flushed with toilet woes because of a water shortage, plus a tour-de-force comedy dealing with the frustrations of a reservationist at a hard-to-get-into Manhattan restaurant.

    The 38th season includes three Honolulu premieres. Productions will be staged at MVT's 150-seat "black box," adjoining a cemetery, at 2833 E. Manoa Road. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays-Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays and 4 p.m. Sundays.

    The season:

  • "Urinetown," Sept. 6 through 24. The musical explores themes of guilt, corruption, and revolution, set in a beleaguered Gotham-like city which has endured a 20-year drought and must face a government-enforced ban on private toilets. The satire echoes Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill, with dark and brooding scenes, an irreverent spirit, and wily developments. Winner of the 2001 Outer Critics Circle Award for "Outstanding Broadway Musical" and 2002 Tony winner for Best Original Score. A Honolulu premiere.

  • "Fully Committed," Nov. 15 through Dec. 3. A one-man play by Becky Mode that follows a day in the life of Sam Peliczowski, an out-of-work actor who takes reservations at Manhattan's No. 1 restaurant. It's a tour de force for the actor, who juggles bribes, threats and histrionics from desperate foodies trying to score a table, while he contends with his recently widowed dad who wants him to come home for Christmas. Up to 40 wildly diverse characters are enacted by the sole performer.

  • "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?," Jan. 10 through 28, 2007. Edward Albee's 1963 Tony Award-winning drama involves George, a professor at a small college, his wife Martha, who has returned home drunk from a Saturday night party, and an unsuspecting young couple she has invited for a nightcap. Drinks flow, expletives fly, and beneath the edgy banter lies a secret that has been the foundation for George and Martha's relationship. It's an engrossing examination of love on the rocks.

  • "She Loves Me," Feb. 21 through March 11, 2007. This sentimental musical about two feuding clerks in a 1930s European parfumerie; the clerks find comfort in anonymous and romantic pen pals, little knowing that their respective correspondents are none other than each other. A Honolulu premiere.

  • "Over My Dead Body," May 9 through 27, 2007. The murder mystery deals with three elderly surviving founders of the Murder League, a veddy proper British club of mystery writers who have watched the dismantling and disintegration of eccentric detectives, murders behind closed doors and arcane clues, thanks to television. Taunted by a younger colleague, the elders rekindle interest in their kind of classic murders, by committing one themselves but encounter a real-life murderer not in their plot. A Honolulu premiere.

  • "Working," June 27 through July 15, 2007. A musical revue based on Studs Terkel's "Working." The average working Joe and his hopes, joys, dreams and concerns is the focus of this unusual musical revue, based on a book of interviews of American workers. Tickets: Pay $125 for six shows or a five-admission Flex Pass, on sale May 15. Individual tickets are $25 for plays, $30 for musicals; 988-6131; www.manoavalleytheatre.com.

    Reach Wayne Harada at wharada@honoluluadvertiser.com.