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Tuesday, November 25, 2014         

SHOW BIZ


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Brothers will share a role in DHT's 'Altar Boyz' musical

By Wayne Harada

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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.

The back story: Conor auditioned for the show and landed the part but faced a dilemma: His Kaiser High graduation conflicted with Friday's premiere. So Kyle, supportive and protective of young bro Conor, stepped in to keep the Matthew credit in the family. Since Kyle had to prep and rehearse with the cast anyway, the two will alternate as Matthew through the June 5 run. It's Conor's first time in a leading role -- and the rock-concert format should make sparks fly.

A decade ago Kyle -- then a troubled kid -- joined DHT's Musical Theatre Experience summer program. Initially, his attitude and behavior made him a candidate for dismissal, but his teachers never gave up on him. "They kept him on, and summer after summer he got better," said Deena Dray, DHT executive director. Kyle joined the Shooting Stars, graduated from high school and wound up in "Les Miserables," "White Christmas" and "Guys & Dolls," earning a Po'okela Award for "Guys." "Kyle credits DHT with turning his life around," said Dray. He's taken University of Hawaii classes and now appears in "Pacific Swing," the revue playing Tuesdays through Thursdays at the Royal Hawaiian's Monarch Room. Call him the "altered boy." ...

The other "Boyz" are Joel Libed as the innocent Mark, Garett Taketa as bad boy Luke, Chris Villasenor as the Latin lover Juan and Elitei Tatafu Jr. as the Jewish Abraham. ...

ON THE GO: As a retirement gift to Vanita Rae Smith, former Army Community Theatre managing/artistic director, her Maunawili neighbors and longtime stage pals and colleagues Ken Kantner (exposition director for Douglas Trade Tours) and Kathe James (costume designer for "Soul Surfer") took Smith on a whirlwind Los Angeles and Las Vegas trip.

In L.A. they caught the Tony-winning "God of Carnage," where original Broadway cast Jeff Daniels, Hope Davis, James Gandolfini and Marcia Gay Harden were assembled in the Ahmanson Theatre run. A Roy Rogers fan, Smith also visited his final resting place (and that of wife Dale Evans) in Victorville, Calif.

The group drove to Vegas (her first trek there), for spectacles galore: Cirque du Soleil's "Ka" and "The Beatles LOVE," Blue Man Group and Lee Greenwood's show. At an apres-show photo op with Greenwood, Smith learned Beyonce has recorded his "God Bless the USA" hit for a new generation of fans. The drive back to L.A. included a pause at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley. ...

Shannon Winpenny replaces Larry Pellegrini in Manoa Valley Theatre's "Tony n' Tina's Wedding," which holds auditions at 7 p.m. May 23 and 24 and a June 30 bow. ...

Army Community Theatre moves to Paliku Theatre for its Thursday-to-May 22 run of "Bugsy Malone." ...

ABOUT PEOPLE: With a hit called "Grenade," Hawaii's Bruno Mars is being pelted with fake grenades in concerts. "At first I thought it was cute," Mars said in an online posting. "Now it's beginning to spook my band out." With stage lights blinding the singer, flying objects -- even plastic toy grenades -- are hazardous. Hope Mars' June 24 concert on the "Today" show in New York doesn't turn into a war zone. ...

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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Boy-band beats of 'Altar Boyz' are divine




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