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'Twas the night before Christmas. And throughout the aina, Santa Claus was feeling like one generous kamaaina.

Ho‘okena, the sweet-voiced Hawaiian group, is undergoing change with the departure of Manu Boyd. So the newly refined Ho‘okena will carry on as a trio, with remainees Chris Kamaka, Glen Smith and Horace Dudoit III.

Ciana Pelekai, 11, a student at Hickam's Mokulele Elementary School, will be off to Broadway Wednesday for a callback audition to portray the title character"Annie" in a fall 2012 revival of the Tony Award-winning musical.

There is life after death for Jean Smart, the actress who played Gov.

Masi Oka, Hiro Nakamura on NBC's "Heroes" and now Dr. Max Bergman on CBS' "Hawaii Five-0," has joined the "GD Club" at Chef Mavro. Oka ordered up the Grand Degustation menu, with wine, which includes everything on the menu (13 items) in small quarter-portions.

Anyone who's ever attended a Hapa performance knows how much group founder Barry Flanagan treasures the presence and artistry of chanter Charles Ka‘upu, who died July 13.

Loretta Ables-Sayre will re-create the Bloody Mary character, which earned her a Tony nomination (best supporting actress in a musical), in the European equity production of "South Pacific," opening Aug. 15 for a run through Oct. 1 at the Barbican Theatre in London.

You never know who you'll meet when taking in a Broadway show. At a Palace Theatre performance of the Bette Midler-produced "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert," who should walk in but Mufi Hannemann and his New York-based sister, Vaofua "Va" Maughan, who is married to British financier Sir Deryck Maughan (so folks call her Lady Va).

John Kolivas and his Honolulu Jazz Quartet will celebrate a milestone 10th anniversary with a performance from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. July 20 at Gordon Biersch at Aloha Tower Marketplace.

Gotta hand it to impresario Jack Cione, the most active senior at the Arcadia, where “Thank God I’m Old,” a musical revue he conceived and directed, is a hit sellout.

From a judge's seat, it was finally a talent tidbit that made the difference in the Universal ShowQueen pageant last weekend at the Hawai'i Convention Center.

The Maui Film Festival, slated Wednesday through Sunday in Wailea, again will be sprinkled with stardust. Translation: the Barry Rivers-driven event sure knows how to party hearty, always with a handful of "somebodies" invited.

Chef-caterer Steve Ozark says his savory gravy, commonly served at backstage feasts for visiting stars, is the same one he prepares for the homeless and hungry at downtown’s River of Life Mission, where he volunteers.

Jim Nabors, the beloved "Gomer Pyle" TV star who's a Diamond Head resident, will make his umpteenth appearance at today's Indy 500 races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Local boy Anthony Ruivivar has completed filming an hourlong A&E pilot, "Big Mike," set in San Diego but shot in Orlando, Fla. He's playing Armando, an ex-Marine and partner to lead cop Greg Grunberg (Matt Parkman in "Heroes"), the plus-size detective of the title.

When Diamond Head Theatre's "Altar Boyz" opens Friday night, two brothers -- Kyle Malis, 22, and Conor Malis, 17 -- will share the role of heartthrob Matthew, the leader of a Christian boy band.

Local boy Bruno Mars is all over the map these days. He's one of two islanders pictured in this week's People magazine, performing at the Time 100 event at the Time Warner Center in New York.

Martin Nievera, billed as the "Concert King of the Philippines" despite his growing-up-in-Honolulu roots, will team up with the Tony Ruivivar-led Society of Seven Classic this summer.

Audy Kimura, award-winning singer-composer-guitarist and commercial jingle writer-producer, has won two prestigious national awards. About scouting, no less.

With earthquake, tsunami and radiation uncertainty still very much a part of Japan's present and future, island musicians who make frequent pilgrimages continue to juggle plans to promote Hawaiiana there.

This could be islander Jason Momoa's best year yet. The former model and "Baywatch" and "Stargate Atlantis" actor will get ample exposure in the weeks ahead, beginning with HBO's "Game of Thrones" epic, premiering next Sunday.

Bruno Mars should make it three in a row when "The Lazy Song," his next single, is released May 9 from his best-selling "Doo-Wops & Hooligans" CD. Its ear-worthy and toe-tapping Jawaiian aura make it a natural for island contemporary radio play.

The musical duo Hapa is in yet another evolutionary phase of change. Founding member Barry Flan a gan has a new musical sidekick, Ron Kua la'au, whose 30-year friendship with Flan a gan led to the updated musical partnership. Kua la'au replaces Nathan Aweau, who followed original member Keli'i Kane alii.

With its inspirational themes juggling both devastation and determination, the island-filmed "Soul Surfer" has been riding a promotional wave leading up to its April 8 premiere.

If theater is all about connections, Diamond Head Theatre's "The King and I" — opening March 25 — boasts links and bonds galore. There are Broadway connections, dating back to the 1996 revival of the Rodgers & Hammerstein classic.

Looks like Rip Taylor's one-man show, "It Ain't All Confetti," is heading to the Hawaii Theatre sometime in July, according to the theater's Burton White. Taylor will kibitz, do shtick and drop names (of stars he's worked with on stage, on TV, in films).

Life has been a song for Dean Pitchford, a lyricist and writer by trade, and easily Hawaii's most notable past Oscar winner. His title tune for "Fame," with music by Michael Gore, earned the 1980 Oscar for best song

Phil Arnone has begun work on a Rap Reiplinger TV special for KGMB that will probe the layers of laughs and lunacy we all adored from the late comedian-actor-writer, who died Jan. 24, 1984, at age 33.

Add "producer" to the many show biz hats worn by Hawaii's Bette Midler. The Divine Miss M gets top billing, as a producer/investor, when the Broadway-bound musical "Priscilla Queen of the Desert" arrives at Times Square's Palace Theatre on Feb. 28 for previews, leading up to its March 20 premiere.

A gallery of donated artwork by "Lost" actors, representing their time here over six seasons filming the hit ABC series, will be exhibited for the first time at a Honolulu Theatre for Youth fundraising kickoff party from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Tenney Theatre.

Actress Jessica Biel ("The A-Team," "The Illusionist") apparently has been home-shopping in Kahala, but not in the company of recent beau Justin Timberlake ("The Social Network," "Friends With Benefits"). He could be her ex, or perhaps they have worked out their apart-ness, but Hawaii could be a part-time rendezvous for her — or for them.

Maui was abuzz with celebs earlier this month, with singer Pink (showing her baby bump) and Carey Hart enjoying a pre-birth getaway. Taking in the sun and surf: canoers Alex Rodriguez and Cameron Diaz, paddleboarder Tobey Maguire, paddleboarder duo Leonardo DiCaprio with main squeeze Bar Rafaeli, and sunbather Naomi Campbell.

In lieu of an inaugural ball, Mayor Peter Carlisle will hold a "Mayoral Celebration" on Feb. 14 at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Coral Ballroom. Because of Valentine's Day, love will obviously be a theme.

Rob Letterman, a Mid-Pacific Institute grad, is the director of 20th Century Fox's current "Gulliver's Travels," starring Jack Black, which was a box-office disappointment during the holidays.

Avex Honolulu, the state-of-the-art recording studio located on the marina at the Koko Marina Shopping Center in Hawaii Kai, faces closure, despite a hectic and fruitful year hosting a number of A-list acts.

Welcome to the Waynies, 2010 edition, a recap of the outgoing year, a glimpse at the missiles that took off, the misfires that did not. Reflect and remember ...

'Twas the week before Christmas; And all through the 'aina; Santa had presents; For malihini and kamaaina. For Pres. Obama and Michelle; A tranquil holiday retreat; With Alan Wong grinds, Shave ice, Zipmin. Neat!

Johnny Depp apparently really sank his teeth into his Capt. Jack Sparrow role when he filmed "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" here and in London.

Tony Ruivivar, co-founder and pillar of the original Society of Seven group and mentor to the spinoff Society of Seven LV (Latest Version), underwent surgery last week at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. The nature of the procedure has not been revealed.

Maui restaurateur Beverly Gannon threw an 80th birthday bash for husband Joe Gannon last Sunday night at their home, with 200 of their close pals in attendance.

Local girl Ann Harada (no relation), who created the role of Christmas Eve in the Tony Award-winning "Avenue Q" musical, has tapped her Broadway colleagues to do a Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS benefit titled "Christmas Eve with Christmas Eve" at 7 p.m. Nov. 29 at the Midtown Theatre in New York.

Are things looking up in Waikiki? After the summer demise of the Royal Hawaiian Center showroom, aka Level 4, there's fresh buzz that a Las Vegas impersonators production of "Legends," with look- and sound-alike Elvis Presley, Tina Turner, Stevie Wonder and other iconic popsters, is destined to occupy the space.

Loretta Ables Sayre will guest-star on "A Cazimero Christmas," Robert and Roland Cazimero's holiday hoopla, at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 10 and 11 and 2 p.m. Dec. 12 at the Hawaii Theatre.

Sherry Shaoling, the island model-actress-fashionista now based in Los Angeles, is back home following what she dubs an "unbelievable excellent adventure" - her marriage to Xiaojun Wang in his native village, Dengfeng, in Henan province, home of the legendary Shaolin temple in remote central China.

Pop star Justin Bieber managed to get around town under the radar despite his celebrity. Before concertizing at the Blaisdell Arena Oct. 8 and 9, he sneaked into Avex Honolulu Studios in Hawaii Kai to lay down some vocal tracks.

Local actor Stan Egi, who did a scene recently for "Little Fockers," the second sequel in the "Meet the Parents" franchise, is stoked after working side by side with Robert De Niro and Ben Stiller.

What's better than a sizzling, build-your-own burger when you're working into the night? The cast and crew of "Hawaii Five-0" got this meal treat the other eve when chef D.K. Kodama and his crew from the Counter at Kahala Mall grilled hamburgers for about 150 folks.

Jean Smart, the Emmy-winning actress who portrays Gov. Patricia Jameson on CBS' "Hawaii Five-0" reboot, was a contestant on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" a week ago, earning $27,500 for the Alzheimer's Association.

Manoa DNA has been in Japan again, performing in Sapporo for two days and in Tokyo for the Japan Association of Travel Agents' World Travel Fair. Dad Lloyd Kawakami and sons Nick and Alex return home Tuesday.

Amy Hanaiali'i, the islands' best-selling female vocalist, perhaps has found a way to woo Grammy voters who traditionally have given the nod in the Hawaiian music category to compilations of slack-key guitarists.

There was glee galore when Emmy nominee Matthew Morrison, who stars as Will Schuester in Fox's "Glee," took in the exquisite "Te Au Moana" luau show beachfront at the Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa over the Labor Day weekend.

Bruno Mars, the emerging hip-hop popster with the sweet voice, looms as a Top 10 star while his "Doo-Wop & Hooligans" solo CD is poised for an Oct. 5 release.

The Tavern at Princeville by Roy Yamaguchi, a new concept restaurant by the award-winning chef, is set to open in mid-September at the Princeville Prince Golf Clubhouse on Kauai.

The "classic" Society of Seven, the septet led by Tony Ruivivar, returns to the Outrigger Waikiki's main showroom Tuesday for a limited run after a nine-year absence. Expect a mix of familiar numbers and a revamped roster with three new faces onstage — but also some unexpected offstage casualties.

Local boy Anthony Ruivivar, who played paramedic Carlos Nieto on NBC's "Third Watch" from 1999 to 2005, is going legal on ABC's "The Whole Truth" this fall.

Local singer Tahiti Rey, daughter of entertainer Augie Rey, is thrilled beyond words that Johnny Depp, Capt. Jack Sparrow of Disney's "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise, visited Apartment 3 two Wednesdays in a row for dinner.

Jack Cione, the Arcadia's irrepressible "Follies" producer-director, had his heart set on a weeklong Broadway trek to catch up on shows, but while going through security to board a plane, he tripped and suffered fractures in his left knee and shoulder.

Expect a "Wild" time when Jimmy Borges makes a rare club appearance from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday at Gordon Biersch at Aloha Tower Marketplace.

Amy Hanaiali'i is back home after a tour celebrating the 50th anniversary of Honolulu's "sister city" ties with Okinawa and Japan — a jaunt that included Mayor Mufi Hannemann and the singer's band, comprised of bassist Steve Jones, guitarist Jeff Peterson, guitarist Chino Montero and hula dancers Kehau Marzo Nielson and Aureana Tseu.

When diners at Hy's Steak House ask resident singer-composer Audy Kimura to perform his best-known composition, there's frequent laughter and chuckles when he begins reciting the "Battery Bill" rap, a current TV commercial staple.

Ronald Rey Bryant, the hip-hopper-rapper known by his stage name Baby Bash and for hits such as "Suga Suga," stopped by Island Slipper store at Ward Warehouse to buy some cool hats for his recent concert at Bar Paparazzi.

Arcadia residents are delighted that a longtime rumor has been confirmed: President Barack Obama, Hawaii's best-known celebrity, once worked in food services at the Punahou Street retirement complex while attending Punahou School.

Vicky Holt Takamine, kumu hula of Pua Ali'i 'Ilima halau, has invited Robert Cazimero and Keo Woolford to join her in "The Power of Hula," a workshop today at La Mama in New York.

Kevin McCollum, one of Broadway's prolific producers, is the lone local up for a Tony Award tonight at New York's Radio City Music Hall.

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