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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, January 15, 2008

SHOW BIZ
Martin Nievera set to join SOS in Vegas

By Wayne Harada
Advertiser Columnist

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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser
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SOCIETY NEWS: The Tony Ruivivar-led Society of Seven group, ensconced at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas, will ramp up the show's profile when crooner Martin Nievera, a former Islander and still a Philippines superstar, adds marquee value to the show in a two-month run starting Feb. 13. Lani Misalucha, of course, will remain part of the vocal and impersonation landscape.

"He's very eager to join us," Ruivivar said over dinner at Alan Takasaki's Le Bistro last week. Ruivivar and wife Karen were visiting, partly to check up on their Hawai'i Kai apartment, but also so he could huddle and shape up a new show for the spinoff Society of Seven Las Vegas group, headlining at the Outrigger Waikiki's Main Showroom.

The Nievera presence is a bonanza for the original troupe's Filipino following. Nievera last performed at the defunct Aladdin (it's Planet Hollywood now) down the avenue, and this will mark the first time he's joining "Uncle Tony" in a Vegas showroom. ...

The Ruivivars dined with Frannie Kirk, Outrigger entertainment director, and reflected on old times and exotic foods. Ruivivar said he enjoyed a "chicken" dish on Guam, which turned out to be fruit bat, a local delicacy. That made everyone roar. ...

Danny Kaleikini was also enjoying dinner at Le Bistro. ...

WHEE, THE PEOPLE: When Kawena Chun, runner-up in the 2007 Miss Hawaii contest, did a Tahitian dance on "NightTime With Andy Bumatai" last week, her skirt fell, leaving everyone aghast. The segment airs tomorrow but without the "oops" moment. ...

Should be a rouser when Army Community Theatre's "Aida" is staged Feb. 28 through March 15 at Richardson Theatre at Fort Shafter. The cast will be led by Shanan Colvin, Jimi Wheeler and Shawna Masuda, with Vanita Rae Smith directing. This is, of course, the Elton John-Tim Rice Broadway musical. ...

Lovely Kwock, a longtime Elvis Presley fan who now works at Kuhio Elementary School, visited the statue of The King at Blaisdell Center last Monday, a day before his Jan. 8 birthday. "I told him happy 73rd birthday," said Kwock, whose admiration for the singer started in high school and has evolved into a lifelong passion. "I go to see Elvis every day; I check to see that he is OK. It is like Graceland to me," she said. ...

Local actress-singer Heather Ensley will be off to Disney World in Orlando on Jan. 29 to portray a character named Kibibi in the Animal Kingdom show, "Festival of the Lion King," in which she'll perform all of the Nala character's tunes. Ensley is the daughter of singer-actress Allison Maldonado, and she likely will be in the show by February, on a one-year contract. The Disney production is a stepping stone to other opportunities, as localites Leo Moctezuma (Spice Girls, Ricky Martin, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears) and Isaac Calpito ("Mamma Mia!") have learned. ...

Meanwhile, Ensley's pal, Aubrey Lee Glover, is banking on a move to New York to pursue her Broadway dreams soon. Her parents are Dawe and Jade Glover. ...

Romantic pianist Jim Brickman does a special breakfast concert Friday for a KSSK audience part of a radio contest. He's way cool offstage, gang. ...

Honolulan Brett Wagner's short film, "Chief," is part of the just-launched 2008 Sundance Film Festival. "Chief," a 21-minute short, was written and directed by Wagner, and produced by Dana Satler Hankins (whose earlier "Picture Bride" earned the Sundance audience award in 1995). It's described as a Polynesian tragicomic film noir, shot in the Islands with first-time actors, including Chief Sielu Avea of Samoa and Ka'alaka'i Faurot, an 8-year-old in her film debut. Cinematographer was Paul Atkins, who did that remarkable water footage in "Master and Commander." ...

SIGHT 'EMS: Actor Rob Schneider picked up a lot of Bob Marley merchandise the other day at Hawai'i's Natural High; then Adam Sandler also popped in to purchase a Rush tie-dyed shirt. ...

Frequent Hawai'i visitor Richard Vida, part of "The Drowsy Chaperone" national touring company, saw a familiar face in the audience, and she showed up backstage in Fort Lauderdale. Turned out to be Joy Abbott, the widow of Broadway legend George Abbott, who lives in Miami and Honolulu. Abbott so adored the production, she invited Vida and a few cast members to a country club lunch. Vida, who eventually hopes to reside here (he's a New Yorker), will be visiting local pal Lisa Josephsohn in March, with whom he maintains daily contact about her chemo and cancer issues. Made Josephsohn's day when he told her that a pre-show cast prayer, led by ex-Honolulan Georgia Engel, included wishes to cure her cancer. ...

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.

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