Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Praise for 'Damn Yankees' from creator's widow

By Wayne Harada
Advertiser Columnist

Joy Abbott

spacer spacer

Keoki Kerr

spacer spacer

Edwin Ramones

spacer spacer

Daniel Bess

spacer spacer

BACKSTAGE BITS: After the final curtain and ovation for "Damn Yankees" at Richardson Theatre last Thursday, the Army Community Theatre cast and crew, led by director Jim Hutchison, assembled onstage to meet a very special audience member: Joy Abbott. Abbott, who lives part of the year in Honolulu, is the widow of the show's creator, Broadway legend George Abbott, who co-wrote the book with Douglass Wallop, on whose novel the show is based.

Joy Abbott, a member of Punahou School's Class of '48, brought along 45 fellow grads to the performance. She told the cast, "George would have loved the show," then shared notes with Hutchison. She said she spoke earlier in the day with veteran director Hal Prince, who was in Las Vegas prepping the launch of "Phantom of the Opera." Prince was the one who originally took Wallop's book, "The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant," to George Abbott, suggesting that it be made into a musical. Prince remembered Hutchison from the original "Steam Heat" dance number in another Abbott hit, "Pajama Game."

The "Yankees" musical certainly has a lot of heart and splendid voices in Keoki Kerr as the mysterious slugger Joe Hardy and Tahiti Fernandez as Meg Boyd, the devoted wife of the Joe Boyd character. Boyd sells his soul to the devil, played with playful glee by Larry Bialock. Despite miking problems, Elizabeth Harrison was a knockout as the seductive Lola. ...

ITEMIZATIONS: With The Krush on hiatus from the Sheraton Waikiki hotel's Esprit lounge, leader Edwin Ramones (and an entourage of nine) went to Boston last weekend for his eldest son Eddy's graduation from Boston University. "We packed leis of all kinds maile, plumeria, carnation, money leis, candy leis" to present after Eddy received his diploma, Edwin Ramones said. Eddy was "the only one getting leis covering his head." ...

Speaking of the Esprit: 'Ukulele virtuoso Bruce Shimabukuro and his BS Band will open June 3 at the Esprit, occupying the Saturday night slot. The band includes Gary Akiona on guitar and Jody Kamisato on bass. Yes, Bruce is the younger brother of Jake, the fastest fingers on uke. ...

NAMES 'N' FACES: Actor Daniel Bess, in town visiting his folks (dad is publisher Ben "Buddy" Bess of Bess Press), created a stir at Shanghai Bistro the other night when he and dad dined there. A Mid-Pacific Institute grad and former regular on Fox's "24," Bess was just seen on CBS's "CSI: Miami." He also had a bit part in "Munich," the Steven Spielberg drama now out on DVD. ...

Taran Erickson (now Taran McQuivey), who sings in the Don Ho show at the Waikiki Beachcomber hotel, recently was named Hawai'i State Mother of the Year by American Mothers Inc. She still performs several times a week with Mr. Show Biz, but with four kids, she soon can have her own backup ensemble. ...

"Living Local With the Baraquios," the OC16 show, trekked to Romano's Macaroni Grill Thursday night. Following the taping with chef Mike Longworth, Bernadette Baraquio, husband Rick Hamada and Rose Baraquio joined their four keiki for dinner. ...

RANDOM NOTES: It's the home stretch for singer Rex Nockengust, who does his final "Broadway at the Shanghai Bistro" show at 8 p.m. May 21 with pianist Don Conover. Nockengust, who also works as a waiter at the Sheraton Moana Surfrider hotel, is relocating to San Diego with Gene Allen, his partner in life and business (they create jewelry under the Beach Glass Bingo flag). Since Allen also is a sometime actor and photographer, Honolulu will be losing a pair of devotees in the arts and culture. So, what's next at Li May Tang's Chinese fusion restaurant? She's huddling with Lisa Josephsohn, her publicist-producer, who is open to options. Helps if the prospect, aspiring or seasoned, has a show biz repertoire. ...

And that's Show Biz. ...

Show Biz is published Tuesdays and Thursdays. Reach Wayne Harada at 525-8067, wharada@honoluluadvertiser.com or fax 525-8055.