Tuesday, July 29, 2014         


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Isle performer makes bid for 'Annie' on Broadway

By Wayne Harada


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.

"She did an online audition, doing two types of songs: a musical number ("On My Own" from "Les Miserables") and an upbeat one (Adele's "One and Only")," said her mom, Misha Pelekai, who will accompany Ciana during four days of tryouts and anticipation. The project will mark the 35th anniversary of "Annie," and if Ciana lands the part, she will join an elite circle that includes Andrea McArdle and Sarah Jessica Parker to belt out the iconic "Tomorrow."

Ciana has been taking voice lessons from Kristian Lei (a "Miss Saigon" vet) and Kristie Kashimoto (of Applause Dance),"working hard in preparation," said mom.

Ciana has appeared in Diamond in the Rough's "Annie" production at Paliku Theatre in which she played the Star-to-Be. You may remember Ciana from NBC's "America's Got Talent" when she performed Etta James' soulful and bluesy "At Last." …

BUSY, BUSY: Actor-director Rob Duval is one of this town's busiest souls.

By day he teaches drama at ‘Iolani. These nights, he's performing in Hawaii Pacific University's "The House of Blue Leaves," which opened Friday at the Paul and Vi Loo Theatre on HPU's Windward campus for a run through Dec. 4.

He recently directed Manoa Valley Theatre's "The39 Steps" and ‘Iolani's "The Skin of Our Teeth," and will helm Diamond Head Theatre's "The Butler Did It" opening Feb. 3, with auditions set for Dec. 10 and 11. Duvalmust not get much sleep. …

AROUND TOWN: The Honolulu Boy Choir performs today at the APEC Leaders Spouses' Luncheon, hosted by first lady Michelle Obama at Kualoa Ranch. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the boys," said Blake M. Nuibe, director. The Boy Choir also will sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" and "Hawaii Pono‘i" at an APEC dinner tonight honoring Philippine President Benigno Aquino III at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Let's hear it for the boys! …

And, yes, the choir's "Merriest Hawaiian Christmas" concert — stillfree — happens at 7 p.m. Dec. 17 at Central Union Church. …

Minireview: Manoa Valley Theatre's "Little Shop of Horrors" is delightful on two levels: Leads Leiney Rigg (Audrey) and Pedro Armando Haro (Seymour) make a cute couple with beaucoup charm, and the unseenBraddoc DeCaires and Jared Duldulao (Audrey II puppeteers) and the only-heard Myles M. McGee (voice of Audrey II) add a dimension of loopy fantasy. The show, which was to close today, has been extended two weeks through Nov. 27, with performances Thursdays through Sundays (a Wednesday show subs for the Thanksgiving holiday). Call 988-6131. …

SHOW BITS: Ed Kanoi ofKKOL-FM 107.9 is planning an on-air tribute on his morning drive show Tuesday to retired radio veteranJeff Coelho, who is relocating to Atlanta. Among those tapped are Henry Kapono,Audy Kimura and Na Leo. …

To mark the 25th anniversary of her Islandwide Christmas Crafts and Food Expo at Blaisdell Center, producer-director Caroline Infante tapped top entertainers for the Nov. 25-27 run. Melveen Leed takes the stage at 7 p.m. Nov. 26 at the Pikake Room; Heart and Soul and Nix Dance will also perform. …

CLUBLICITY: Should be a fun, musical Aloha Friday Luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday at Kani Ka Pila Grille at the Outrigger Reef Hotel, when Waipuna, Lehua Kalima and Ahumanu debut their new CDs. Call 924-4992. …

Jennifer Martin, an under-the-radar jazz stylist who recently recorded "Someone You've Loved," a CD of ballads and up-tempo jazz tunes, will make a special appearance from 7 to 10 p.m. Tuesday at Duc's Bistro in Chinatown. Dinner show is $50; drinks are extra; BYOB, $20 corkage fee. Call 531-6325. …

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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