Thursday, October 23, 2014         


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Broadway and family ties twine through 'King and I'

By Wayne Harada


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. Paolo Montalban, a guest artist from New York, is portraying the King of Siam; Christine Yasunaga, who is portraying Topsy, is a former original dancer in "The Lion King"; and director-choreographer Greg Zane has done his share of Broadway roles since leaving ballet for the theater. Also, the DHT production uses some Tony Award-winning costumes designed by Roger Kirk, who provided some exotic glitz. ...

Then there are family ties on stage with Grace Bell and son Alex Hummerickhouse portraying mother and son, Lady Thiang and Prince Chululongkorn. The aforementioned Yasunaga has daughter Myla Pelligrini in the children's chorus, while Camille Michel, an ensemble member, has daughter Chelsea in the children's chorus, and Eric Richards, as Capt. Orton, has son Landon in the children's chorus. ...

Carpooling, anyone? ...

GIVING PEACE A CHANCE: Keith and Carmen Haugen will team up with the National Kidney Foundation of Hawaii to produce the annual Peace on Earth Concert to be staged at the Hawaii Theatre for the first time on May 10. The event — always a freebie — will benefit from Burton White's stewardship and will continue to showcase known and still-to-be-discovered newbies, like the Samoan Gospel Heralds, a male vocal ensemble, which Keith calls "one of the best I've heard in years." ...

NAMES 'N' PLACES: That Terry O'Quinn-Michael Emerson NBC TV project, "Odd Jobs," didn't make it the pilot stage as anticipated. But O'Quinn (who was John Locke to Emerson's Ben Linus in the isle-filmed "Lost") has joined the cast of "Hallelujah," Marc Cherry's ABC pilot described as a musical drama set in Hallelujah, Tenn., a town torn apart by forces of good and evil and eager for peace, faith and justice. Jesse L. Martin ("Law and Order") was cast in the lead. ...

Luz del Alba, a star of the Hawaii Opera Theatre's recent "La Traviata," earned standing ovations for her performances, and among those rising to their feet were chef George Mavrothalassatis and publicist wife Donna Jung. Del Alba, a native of Uruguay, celebrated her personal grand finale with dinner at Chef Mavro and later e-mailed Mavro to rave that "every single plate was heaven!" and "merited a bravo and standing ovation." A mutual admiration society, for sure. ...

Singer Yvonne Elliman ("If I Can't Have You," "I Don't Know How to Love Him") joined popsters Stephen Bishop ("On and On," "It Might Be You") and Dan Hill ("Sometimes When We Touch") recently, performing before 8,000 folks at Araneta Coliseum in Manila — part of a Love Rocks Concerts promotion.

Elliman, forever linked to the "Saturday Night Fever" soundtrack and both Broadway and film renderings of "Jesus Christ Superstar," was accompanied by Allen Alexander (guitar), Les Gantan (keyboards), Todd Yokumoto (sax), John LeBlanc (guitar), Reggie Padilla (keyboards, sax), Phil Bennett (drums) and Mike and Jennifer Durand (vocals).

Actor Paul Walker, who frequently visits Hawaii to see daughter Meadow, who lives here with her mom, will star in "Pawn Shop Chronicles," a thriller to be directed by Fred Durst, lead singer of Limp Biskit, who is also producing. Arriving sooner, on June 10: Walker's "Fast Five," the latest in the "Fast and the Furious" franchise, co-starring Vin Diesel. ...

DATEBOOK: The Doobie Brothers mark their 40th anniversary with shows April 1 at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center and April 2 at Blaisdell Arena — pegged to their "Far From Home" CD. Go to www.farfromhomeproject.com. ...

The Lobby Bar at the Hilton Waikiki Beach (the Hilton on Kuhio Avenue) has been reinvented as LBLE, standing for Lobby Bar/Librations Extraordinaire. Bed-like chaise lounges and pink design accents are part of the mood changes; there are specials on signature cocktails from 5 to 7 p.m. and entertainment 6 to 9 p.m. by Jason Laeha on Wednesdays, Sunway on Thursdays and Fridays, and Michael Fabbi on Saturdays. ...

And that's "Show Biz." ...

Wayne Harada is a veteran entertainment columnist; reach him at 266-0926 or wayneharada@gmail.com; read his Show and Tell Hawaii blog at www.staradvertiser.com.

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