The list of memorable musicals written by Hawaii residents is short. There’s “13 Daughters,” written by Eaton “Bob” Magoon, which ran on Broadway in 1961, and then in Hawaii in 1961 and 1989. There are the pidgin fairy tale mash-up musicals of Roslyn Catracchia and the late Lisa Matsumoto, which started with “Once Upon One Time” in 1989, and continues several sequels later with a revival production of “Once Upon One Time” by Manoa Valley Theatre next year. And there’s “Ulua: The Musical,” created by Honolulu Star-Advertiser columnist Lee Cataluna and multi-talented Sean T.C. O’Malley for Kumu Kahua in 1999, which is being revived by Kailua Onstage Arts in October.
Veteran musician Denny Miyasato adds his name to that short list with his independently produced historical musical, “A Timeless Princess,” which opens a two-weekend run at Mamiya Theatre today.
The story follows the experiences of a modern-day U.S. Marine (portrayed by Jeremiah Ulufanua) who travels back in time to Honolulu in the early 1890s, where he meets Princess Ka‘iulani (Ciana Pelekai).
It is a time when the freedom of Hawaii is under attack — the Hawaiian government would be overthrown on Jan. 17, 1893, and Queen Lili‘uokalani (Jade Stice) would formally abdicate two years later. Ka‘iulani died in 1899; she was 23.
“It took a long time to write, little vignettes, and then piecing them together, but this was on my bucket list to finish. It was like, ‘I’m supposed to do this,’” Miyasato said, during a dress rehearsal at the theater on Sunday.
Placing the story at the time of the overthrow of the legitimate Hawaiian government meant doing lot of research into the events of era.
Among the people Miyasato talked with were former state representative and OHA trustee Peter Apo and former state senator Brickwood Galuteria.
Miyasato says that Apo encouraged him to write the musical, but reminded him that the historical story of Ka‘iulani and the Hawaii did not have a happy ending.
He credits Galuteria with the view that Lili‘ukalani “stood down” so that others could live.
“It’s a great message because, whether you believe it or not, she was compassionate (and) selfless, she thought about others,” Miyasato said.
Stage veterans Cathy Foy, Matthew Pedersen, Howard Bishop, Chev-Vaughn Lum and Buffy Wong play secondary characters. Michael Ng is directing.
“The play is not ‘political,’” Miyasato summed up. “We’re just trying to tell the story (of the history) which surrounds a fictional love story. Its a fictional story based on true events. We hope people like it.”
“A TIMELESS PRINCESS”
Presented by Edgewater Productions
>> Where: Mamiya Theatre, St. Louis School
>> When: 7:30 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays; also 4 p.m. Sundays through July 21; also 3 p.m. Saturday and 7:30 p.m. July 20
>> Cost: $39
>> Info: atimelessprincess.com
2019-2020 THEATER SEASON OVERVIEW
Schedules subject to change; check theater websites for show times and ticket information
HAWAII SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL
The ARTS at Marks Garage, 1159 Nuuanu Ave.; hawaiishakes.org, 521-2903
“The Tempest”: Prospero, exiled Duke of Milan, takes revenge on the men who usurped his dukedom, and also finds a suitable husband for his daughter when shipwreck survivors are washed up on his island. July 12-28
“Much Ado About Nothing”: Gossip, malicious rumors, outright lies and slander cause needless complications for several couples in late 16th century Italy. Note: Performances take place at the Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site, 553 S. King St. Aug. 1-17
“Macbeth”: Nicolas Lough stars in this classic tale of ambition, intrigue, murder, and tragically misleading prophesies. Jaime Bradner co-stars as Lady Macbeth. Aug. 9-25
KAILUA ONSTAGE ARTS (KOA)
Performance locations vary; kailuaonstagearts.com, 388-0319
“We, the Invisibles”: Susan is working a survival job at a luxury hotel, but when a West African hotel maid’s accusation against a powerful man is dismissed, she decides to give voice to her colleagues’ rarely heard stories — and finds herself on an unexpectedly personal journey. Written by Susan Soon He Stanton, a graduate of Punahou and drama programs at New York University and Yale. Aug. 2-11
“A Steady Rain”: A routine domestic disturbance call launches two Chicago police officers on a harrowing journey that will test their loyalties and change their lives. This noir drama explores the complexities of a lifelong bond of friendship tainted by domestic affairs, violence, and the rough streets of Chicago. By Keith Huff. Aug. 16-25
“Ulua: The Musical”: Kayden Asiu — say it out loud! — leaves Oahu for Maui to build rock walls by day and go fishing for ulua by night. Things get complicated when his jilted fiancée follows him. A big-fish story about self-discovery, the foibles of love, and the irresistible lure of fishing. Written by Lee Cataluna, with music by Sean T.C. O’Malley. Oct. 4-13
“The Ultimate Christmas Show”: When none of the scheduled entertainers arrive, it’s up to three quick-witted church members at St. Everybody’s Non-Denominational Universalist Church to perform the entire Christmas Variety Show by themselves! An irreverent yet heartwarming romp through tradition, bursting with festive, slapstick fun. Written by Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor, directed by Hawaii’s improvisational comedy queen Shannon Winpenny. Nov. 29-Dec. 15
“Men In Boats”: The year is 1869 and Major John Wesley Powell leads a crew of loyal volunteers to chart the course of the Colorado River. An all-woman cast plays Powell and his crew, so don’t expect a straight-forward history lesson. By Punjabi-American playwright Jaclyn Backhaus. Jan. 10-19
“The People’s Temple”: In 1978, 914 people met a tragic demise at the jungle settlement known as Jonestown. This is the tragedy that gave birth to the warning “Don’t drink the Kool-Aid.” By Leigh Fondakowski, March 13-22
“Lasso of Truth”: William Marston, inventor of both the lie detector and Wonder Woman, enjoys a live-in sexual relationship with two strong and unconventional women who serve as the inspiration for America’s favorite female superhero. By Carson Kreitzer. May 1-10
“Hi‘iakaikapoliopele: A Heroine’s Journey”: An array of storytellers brings to life the epic journey of Pele’s youngest sister as she travels from Kilauea to Kaua‘i to find the ali‘i Lohi‘au and bring him to Pele. June 19-July 5
“Utility”: Amber is a woman treading water — she has two jobs, three kids, an on again-off again husband, and an eight-year-old’s birthday party to plan. A work of breathtaking gentleness by Emily Schwend. July 17-26
THE ACTORS’ GROUP (TAG)
Brad Powell Theatre, Dole Cannery, 650 Iwilei Road; taghawaii.net, 722-6941
“Cinderella Waltz”: Rosey Snow is trapped in a fairy tale world. Her stepsisters are named Goneril and Regan, she has a demented stepmother and lecherous father, and she must deal with a troll, a bewildered prince, and a fairy godmother who sings “salty” sailor songs. By Don Nigro. Aug. 9-Sept. 1
“The Gravedigger’s Lullaby”: Baylen is a working-class gravedigger. His wife does other people’s laundry. Together they try to keep their family afloat. By Jeff Talbott. Oct. 11-Nov. 3
“Sons of the Prophet”: Lebanese-American Joseph Douaihy copes with medical ailments, rocky relationships, an aging uncle and an invasive boss as he struggles to keep his life and family in order. A 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama Finalist comedy by Stephen Karam. Dec. 13-Jan. 5
“The Mountaintop”: Playwright Katori Hall images what Martin Luther King Jr., did during the night of April 3, 1968 — the last night of his life. Feb. 14-March 8
“Kimberly Akimbo”: Kimberly contends with her hypochondriac mother, “rarely sober” father, a “scam-artist aunt,” and the possibility of first love — all while dealing with a rare genetic condition that is causing her body to age much faster than it should. By David Lindsey-Abaire. April. 17- May 10
“Outside Mullinger”: Irish farm folk Anthony and Rosemary must overcome a bitter land feud, family rivalries and their own romantic fears to find happiness together. “It’s never too late to take a chance on love.” A 2014 Tony Award Best Play nominee by John Patrick Shanley. June 19-July 12
HONOLULU THEATRE FOR YOUTH
Tenney Theatre, 229 Queen Emma Square; htyweb.org, 839-9885
“A Korean Cinderella”: Traditional Korean drumming, dancing, and masks are mixed with K-pop music and choreography to create a new telling of the popular fairy tale. By HTY company actor Alvin Chan. Aug. 16-Sept. 14
“Shhhhh”: Playwright Annie Cusick Wood says her play “is about listening… listening to others… listening to ourselves… really listening and finding your voice… It is about finding the freedom to speak up as well as the courage to enjoy silence.” Oct. 12-19
“In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson”: The year is 1947. A young Chinese girl and her family moves from China to the United States and Jackie Robinson becomes the first African-American on a major league baseball team. Adopted by Mark Branner from the book by Bette Bao Lord. Nov. 1-23
“Love”: With a huge storm approaching, everyone must leave their homes with only the few things that are most important to them. What would you put in your “love luggage” to save from a storm? By Finnegan Kruckemeyer Dec. 6-21
“Rainbow”: Filmmaker Adam Larsen brings spectacular visuals to this theatrical presentation, an exploration of color and one of Hawaii’s most important symbols. “Simple science, ancient stories and the emotions we associate with colors come to life in this immersive theatrical journey that will never let you see a rainbow the same way again.” By Adam Larson and the HTY Ensemble. Jan. 17-Feb. 8.
“The Carp Who Would Not Quit”: Traditional stories from Japan and Okinawa teach important lessons of persistence, respect and kindness in an interactive performance specifically developed for HTY’s youngest audiences by Reiko Ho and the HTY Ensemble. Feb. 23-March 7
“Ke Kula Keiki Ali‘i: The Royal School”: An original musical by Moses Goods and Honolulu Star-Advertiser columnist Lee Cataluna, set in the royal school for select ali‘i children that was created by order of Kamehameha III in 1839. The final show of the run will be performed in Hawaiian. April 17-May 9
KUMU KAHUA THEATRE
46 Merchant St.; 536-4441, kumukahua.org
“Ua Pau (It is Finished, Over, Destroyed)”: The final part of playwright Alani Apio’s “Kamau” trilogy about the experiences of a native-Hawaiian family struggling to survive the enduring and brutal effects of economic development. Aug. 22-Sept. 22
“Fa‘alavelave (“The Interruption”)”: Two Samoan lesbians find their relationship in jeopardy when family secrets are revealed. Playwright Kiki Rivera “tackles a darkly taboo topic with humor in a queer Samoan context.” Nov. 7-Dec. 8
“Way of a God”: Did Captain James Cook ever believe he was god? Veteran playwright Dennis Carroll explores that possibility with Hawaiian-language scenes by Tammy Haili‘opua Baker. Jan. 16-Feb. 16
“The Conversion of Ka‘ahumanu”: Newly arrived missionary wives Sybil Bingham and Lucy Thurston want to convert Ka‘ahumanu to Christianity, but the wily ali‘i wahine who engineered the destruction of the indigenous Hawaiian religion plans to use them for her own purposes. By Victoria Nalani Kneubuhl. March 19-April 19
“Blue”: Two friends who are making a living playing music in Waikiki find themselves forced to choose between doing what they enjoy and “a promising financial future.” By Wil Kahele. May 21- June 21
LEEWARD COMMUNITY COLLEGE
96-045 Ala Ike St., Pearl City; leeward.hawaii.edu, 455-0011
“Nocturnal Emissions:” The LCC students’s annual PG-13-rated fundraiser. Sept. 5-14
“Aloha Not For Sale”: Nov. 15-23
“Hamlet Variations”: April 9-18
PALIKU THEATRE/WINDWARD COMMUNITY COLLEGE
45-720 Keaahala Road, Windward Community College; etickethawaii.com, 235-7310
“Children of Eden”: The Book of Genesis provided Stephen Schwartz (music and lyrics) and John Caird (book) with the source material for their musical treatment of the stories of Adam and Even, Cain and Abel, and Noah and the Flood. Sept. 6-29
“Kupuna 2 Keiki”: Ensemble show highlights experiences of Hawaii’s kupuna. Oct. 18-26
“Hawaiian Theatre Children’s Show”: Playwright Moses Goods uses storytelling, puppetry and movement to relay Hawaiian tales. Feb. 14-23
“Oriental Faddah and Son”: Adapted from Lee Tonouchi’s book of stories and poems. March 13-22
MANOA VALLEY THEATRE
2833 E. Manoa Road; manoavalleytheatre.com, 988-6131
“Sylvia”: A middle-aged upper-middle class married man’s best friend and confident becomes Sylvia, the street-smart stray dog he meets in a park, in this off-beat romantic comedy by A.R.Gurney. (Sarah Jessica Parker originated the role of Sylvia off-Broadway.) Sept. 19-Oct. 6
“Once (Musical)”: A shared love of music leads to unexpected entanglements for an Irish street musician and Czech woman in this stage musical version of the 2007 film of the same name, by John Carney, with music and lyrics by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová. The score includes the Academy Award-winning song, “Falling Slowly.” The show won the 2012 Tony Award for Best Musical. Nov. 14-Dec. 1
“Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time”: Christopher Boone, a young man on the autism spectrum, investigates the death of a neighbor’s dog, challenges assumed truths, and discovers life-changing secrets in this 2015 Tony Award-winning play. Adapted by Simon Stephens from Mark Haddon’s 2003 mystery novel. Jan. 23-Feb. 9
“Desperate Measures”: Shakespeare’s early 17th century comedy “Measure for Measure” is reworked by David Friedman and Peter Kellogg into the adventures of “dangerously handsome” Wild West cowboy Johnny Blood who kills a man in self-defence and then must fight to save his life — and his sister’s virginity. March 19-April 5
“The Game’s Afoot”: Broadway star William Gillette, famed for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes, must play Holmes for real when one of the weekend guests at his Connecticut castle is murdered in this “whodunit mystery comedy” by Ken Ludwig. May 14-31
“Lisa Matsumoto’s ‘Once Upon One Time’”: The first of Matsumoto’s ever-popular “pidgin” mash-ups of American fairy tales told in the style of MAD magazine, Rocky & Bullwinkle’s “Fractured Fairy Tales,” Kent “K.K. Ka‘umanua” Bowman, and Abbott & Costello’s “Who’s On First?” July 2-19
DIAMOND HEAD THEATRE
520 Makapuu Ave.; diamondheadtheatre.com, 733-0274
“Kinky Boots”: After Charley Price inherits a shoe factory he enters into a partnership of convenience with Lola, a cabaret performer and drag queen, to design and produce the line of high-heeled boots that will save the company from bankruptcy. The Tony Award-winning Broadway musical by Cyndi Lauper (music and lyrics) and Harvey Fierstein (book) based on a 2005 British film. Sept. 20-Oct. 13
“The Sound of Music”: Austria in the 1930s. A decorated war hero. His seven motherless children. A young woman named Maria. One of the most popular Broadway productions of the 20th century, with the music of Rodgers & Hammerstein. Nov. 29-Dec. 22
“Murder on the Orient Express”: After the famed luxury express train is stopped by a snowdrift an American tycoon is found dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, the door locked from inside. Can Agatha Christie’s famous fictional detective Hercule Poirot sift through the passengers and identify the murderer before the tracks are cleared? Bien sûr! Jan 24-Feb. 9
“The Bodyguard”: The stage musical version of the 1992 Whitney Houston tear-jerker movie about an African-American superstar and the Caucasian-American bodyguard she falls in love with — rewritten as a posthumous celebration of Houston’s biggest hits. March 20-April 12.
“Anything Goes”: As the luxury liner S.S. American is sailing to England, nightclub singer/evangelist Reno Sweeney teams up with “Public Enemy #13” Moonface Martin to help young stock broker Bill Crocker lure the woman he loves away from her wealthy husband-to-be. A classic Broadway hit, with music and lyrics by Cole Porter. May 15-June 7
“Freaky Friday”: An an overworked single mother and her teenage daughter magically switch bodies and have one day to switch back before mom gets married. A Disney stage musical based on the 1973 Mary Rodgers novel and two subsequent films of the same name. July 10-Aug. 1
UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII AT MANOA
Kennedy Theatre, 1770 East-West Road; 956-7655, etickethawaii.com
>> Kennedy Theatre Main Stage — Main Stage Series
“‘Au‘a ‘Ia: Holding On”: Tammy Haili‘iopua Baker writes and directs this newly written story of four haumana (students) at the UH-Manoa who embark on a research program that takes them into the repository of 19th century Hawaiian language archival materials. As they connect with their kupuna (ancestors) they discover their mana (spiritual power) and learn to retain their heritage. Sept. 27-Oct. 6
“The Last King of Bali”: A traditional Balinese folk tale presented as Balinese shadow theater with puppets, shadow actors and dancers, and live gamelan music. Feb. 7-16
Earle Ernst Lab Theatre — Primetime Series
“Keiki Kalo”: An immersive celebration of the importance of kalo written and staged for pre-school audiences by UH-Manoa theater students. Sept. 20-Dec. 7.
Repertory, Nov. 15-24:
“The Maids”: Will two oppressed women carry out their imagined revenge on their employer? French playwright Jean Genet’s sexually charged look at rituals of power and domination.
“The Moors”: Playwright Jen Silverman explores what can happen when women and animals “are free to chase their darkest desires.”
>> Earle Ernst Lab Theatre — Late Night Series
“It’s The Grass That Suffers”: Sofie wants to catch an elephant with the help of her imaginary elephant friend but realizes that the “elephant” she really wants in her life is her estranged father. By Joseph Governale. Sept. 28-Oct. 5
“Leviathan”: Pole-dancing, “heel and exotic pole-flow, club-dance styles and Shibari rope practices” are used in a “re-imaging” of sirens, sea monsters and Hans Christian Anderson’s beloved Little Mermaid as “feminist anti-colonial heroes.” Performance directed by PhD in Performance Studies Candidate Maria Teresa Houar. Dec. 5-8.
3140 Waialae Ave.; 202-6360, chaminade.edu
“Young Frankenstein”: The Broadway musical version of Mel Brooks’ 1974 parody of the classic horror films of the 1930s. Dr. Frankenstein’s grandson inherits the family castle and ends up back in “the family business.” April 2-5
HAWAIIAN MISSION HOUSES
553 S. King St., 447-3916, missionhouses.org
“Oahu Cemetery Pupu Theatre”: Actors portray some of the famous people buried near where they are performing in Oahu Cemetery. June 12-27