Thursday, April 24, 2014         


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Island actor basks in glow of big-time star De Niro

By Wayne Harada


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.

"I was pinching myself the whole time," says Egi, who has done local theater and appeared in numerous films and TV shows. "It felt like a dream to be in a scene with De Niro. I play a dad who sympathizes with Stiller's character, because De Niro is following him around and spying on him." The scene takes place in a Chicago subway car, but filmed with a green-screen backdrop on which the Windy City will be shown. Of the Oscar-winning De Niro ("Godfather II," "Raging Bull"), Egi says, "(He) is a real gentleman, soft-spoken, almost shy, and has the softest handshake. Far from the tough guys he portrays on the big screen. I learned so much about how a truly great actor is so present and in the moment on every take. It was a master class in acting." The film, also starring Barbra Streisand, Owen Wilson, Dustin Hoffman and Jessica Alba, drops Dec. 22. ...

And look for Egi in Friday's episode of "Medium" on CBS, where he portrays one Dr. Mendez who performs surgery on Patricia Arquette's hand. "But the skin is grafted from a murder victim's hand, so her hand starts communicating to her to solve the murder," he says. No, it doesn't flash a shaka; this isn't "Hawaii Five-0." ...

WHEE, THE PEOPLE: "Soul Sister," Train's feel-good refrain, features the ukulele strumming of Jimmy Stafford. The tune has a broad appeal, a la Jason Mraz's "I'm Yours," and surely will be a draw when Train performs at 7 p.m. Dec. 2 at Blaisdell Arena. ...

While visiting Kauai on a recent weekend, I took in the Coconut Festival in Kapaa, an event that celebrates the coconut, and was charmed by a performance by veteran Garden Island entertainer Larry Rivera (remember, from the Coco Palms resort?) joined by Mayor Bernard Carvalho, now the lone singing mayor in the state since Mufi Hannemann left office and lost his bid for the governorship (he could be singing the blues). And Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle is not a crooner. ...

STAGE BITS: The venerable Jo Pruden has landed the plum role of Violet Weston in the acclaimed Tony Award-winning drama by Tracy Letts, which Manoa Valley Theatre premieres May 19. ...

Broadway Tony nominee Loretta Ables Sayre made a surprise appearance at Monday's 'Ilima Awards at Diamond Head Theatre. She and hubby David Sayre have been enjoying the solitude of Mililani after her 2 1/2-year run as Bloody Mary in Lincoln Center's "South Pacific." ...

Johnny Depp's island presence — remember, he summered in Hawaii, filming his fourth "Pirates of the Caribbean" — might have had some influence at the Performing Arts Center of Kapolei, which will stage "Alice in Wonderland," a Depp-related film, this year. The play opens Thursday with a cast of 36 eager youngsters. Marlo Nettel plays Alice, Alyse Glaser is Small Alice and Hannah Williams is Tall Alice. Na Leo's Angela Morales is vocal director, and Meagan Olson is director, with Olson's daughter, Hannah, choreographing. The production plays Thursdays through Saturdays, through Oct. 30. Details: www.packapolei.org.

Diamond Head Theatre's extended-run "Crazy for You" closes with a matinee today. ...

RANDOM NOTES: Entertainer Kit Samson is out of the Queen's Medical Center following a medical procedure unrelated to his TMJ (temporomandibular joint) condition, which brings pain in the jaw and sleeplessness aplenty. Since a mention here about his quest to explore TMJ relief, we've heard from more than a dozen folks who wanted to share their personal remedies, and, boy, do they vary. We've passed on the info to a grateful Samson. ...

And that's "Show Biz" ...

Wayne Harada's "Show Biz," a fixture for more than 40 years in the Honolulu Advertiser, appears Sundays in the Star-Advertiser. Reach him at 266-0926 or wayneharada@gmail.com. Read his Show and Tell Hawaii blog at staradvertiser.com.

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