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Mufi shows up on Broadway while making way to Africa

By Wayne Harada

LAST UPDATED: 2:25 p.m. HST, Aug 5, 2011

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). They sat right next to me and my wife.

"We're off to South Africa for a week," said Hannemann, the former mayor of Honolulu and currently president of the Hawaii Hotel and Lodging Association. A business trip? Nope, he was going as a tourist. ...

And while waiting to enter the Al Hirschfeld Theatre for a matinee performance by Daniel Radcliffe (yes, filmdom's Harry Potter) in "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying," I spotted a familiar figure walking by with his lady. "David," I shouted. No response, though I presume he heard. "Kawika" did the trick. Longtime pal and globally known magician David Copperfield, on a break from his MGM Grand show in Las Vegas, also was going to see

"Succeed." Along with tons of screaming Potter kidfans.

"Let's meet right here after the show," he said. And we did, exchanging hugs. Turns out Copperfield was revisiting the theater (previously known as the Martin Beck Theatre), since it was there where he made his Broadway debut. We used mutual cameras to snap one together at the Martin Beck brass plate, still at the theater's entrance. ...

NOW HAIR THIS: When Diamond Head Theatre presents the isle premiere of "Hairspray" Friday, the Tracy Turnblad lead role will be played by Stacey Pulmano. Expat Randl Ask, who resides in New York, steps into body padding to render Edna Turnblad, the ample but agile mom famously portrayed by John Travolta in the 2007 film version and Harvey Fierstein in the 2002 Broadway original.

Ask, last seen in DHT's "La Cage Aux Folles," commissioned a custom-made Edna costume, designed so that the parts move with the body, instead of a usual one-dimensional stuffed pillow. This means the breasts swing from side to side when the bra is not worn -- perhaps more info than you need? It took three days to refine the suit, assembled by Kanara Woodford and designed by Mike Dillon, a former Disney Imagineer who is founder-owner of Dillon Works! in Seattle. ...

Manoa Valley Theatre has extended its environmental

musical, "Tony n' Tina's Wedding," through July 31. It was to close July 17, but new dates were added, including a 7 p.m. show July 20, with regular shows at 7 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, 3 p.m. Saturdays and 4 p.m. Sundays. Go for the wedding fun. Go for the music. Go for Ed n' Tina's Italian buffet, from Ed and Tina Wary's Auntie Pasto's. Call 988-6131. ...

AROUND TOWN: That was Ben Vereen, star of stage and screen, at Mass at St. Augustine-by-the-Sea on July 3. Father Lane Akiona welcomed him, and, of course, parishioners Liz Anderson and Bev Tavake got photo ops. ...

TV director Phil Arnone located Gayln Akaka at Punahou School's drama department; she was the original Faith Yanagi character in the late Rap Reiplinger's "Fate Yanagi" classic, and she revisits that incredible afternoon taping for Arnone's "Rap -- Hawaii's Comic Genius," a TV special destined for airing on KGMB9 in September. Narrator will be comic (now deejay) Dave Lancaster, who became Reiplinger's replacement in the Booga Booga comedy troupe. Filming is pau; editing starts in August. ...

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

Wayne Harada is a veteran entertainment columnist; reach him at 266-0926 or; read his Show and Tell Hawaii blog at

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