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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, May 25, 2006

SHOW BIZ
Ho'okena filled weekend concerts with gems

By Wayne Harada
Advertiser Columnist

Manu Boyd

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Randl Ask

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Joe Moore

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James Berger Jr.

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WHAT A WEEKEND: The buzz lingers for a pair of shows last weekend. At the Hawai'i Theatre, Ho'okena uncorked a celebration befitting its 30th anniversary this year. As the season's final Hana Hou! concert, it was the best, with Manu Boyd's informed narrative preceding most songs, punctuated with periodic solo hula by Nani Dudoit and ensemble dances from Halau Na Kamalei, Halau o ke 'A'ali'i Ku Makani and Ka Pa Hula o Kauanoe o Wa'ahila. Vocalists Ka'ipo Hale and Maila Gibson added charm and variety, and the Kamehameha Schools Sinfonietta provided orchestral sweeps in the second half of the show.

Considering Ho'okena's musicians all have full-time day jobs (Boyd is with the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Chris Kamaka is with the Kamaka 'Ukulele 'ohana, Horace Dudoit works for the Postal Service and Glenn Smith is with the federal government at Pearl Harbor), the effort was handsomely mounted and nurtured with gems like "My Isle of Golden Dreams" (paying tribute to Robert Cazimero and The Makaha Sons, who earlier did a joint recording of it) and that stunning finale combining "Edelweiss" with "No Ke Aloha Ana 'Ole." Great job, gang. ...

Over at Diamond Head Theatre's revival of "La Cage aux Folles" with Randl Ask as Albin/Zaza the audience erupted with a deserved standing ovation all weekend. Larry Paxton, as Georges, finally is playing roles suited to his age, and he hasn't lost his luster in the vocal department. But it's Ask, in his swan song as a performer here (capping a 10-year residency), who's worth crowing about. He looks great, moves well and sings like a Broadway trouper (which he was, and is, and likely will be again when he resettles in New York), shading and pacing his characterization without being camp. He could easily waltz into a professional company tomorrow. Under John Rampage's direction, Ask inhabits his two "La Cage" roles as he creates a love story of humankind, seeking acceptance from a society that too often condemns. His "I Am What I Am" that closes Act I says it all. Bravo! ...

WHEE, THE PEOPLE: Joe Moore, the KHON news anchor, is deep into rehearsals for his "Unlikely Lawman" western, which Manoa Valley Theatre is producing for a June 8 opening at Mamiya Theatre. "No one can recall a dramatic Western ever being staged in Hawai'i," said Moore, who says his role is "very physical for someone as long in the tooth as me. Just hope all my bumps and bruises heal by opening night." ...

Ironic that Wave Waikiki, which closed in the wee hours Sunday after 25 years, was picked as the best after-hours spot in The Advertiser's Best of the Best survey, says club owner Jack Law. ...

Michelle Lamb, a Hilo High graduate, appears in a dance scene in Lindsay Lohan's "Just My Luck" movie. ...

SHORTS OF SORTS: Saab dealer James Berger Jr., a father of two, supported the Hawai'i Coalition for Dads by running a paper-airplane-tossing contest at last weekend's Baby Expo at Blaisdell Center. He filled the trunk of a Saab sports model with paper planes, over and over, donating $1 per toss. As a result, he gave $419 to the coalition. ...

The Makaha Sons, whose "Take a Walk in the Country" June 17 at Blaisdell Arena caps off their 30th anniversary, are Japan-bound for a round of concerts in Osaka, Tokyo and Kamakura over the next few days. Sellouts are certain, as Louis "Moon" Kauakahi, Jerome Koko and John Koko are ichiban (No. 1). ...

Publicist Mona Wood will attend one of the Sons' concerts, and is bringing deejay and sometime Isle resident Kamasami Kong a stash of Pepto Bismol tablets, something that Robert Zix (his real name) can't readily find. ...

Director Jim Hutchison ("Damn Yankees," at Army Community Theatre) scooted off to Las Vegas for a Screen Actors Guild national board meeting. He avoided the slots and the tables; "I'm a lousy gambler," he confessed. ...

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.