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Show Biz: Coronavirus cancellations keep Hawaii performers home

                                Josh Tatofi, who planned a 10-day visit with gigs in Sapporo and Tokyo, is working to reschedule play dates due to coronavirus concerns.


    Josh Tatofi, who planned a 10-day visit with gigs in Sapporo and Tokyo, is working to reschedule play dates due to coronavirus concerns.

The mounting coronavirus threat in Japan has prompted the cancellation of work trips this month for several Hawaii entertainers.

Based on a government-advised caution to minimize large crowds to help curb the spread of the virus, promoters have canceled or rescheduled play dates for these acts:

>> Ho‘okena, the Hawaiian music trio led by Horace Dudoit III, who had an engagement in Koriyama, Japan.

>> Keali‘i Reichel, the award-winning Maui-based entertainer and kumu hula, who had five shows slated today through March 16 in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya.

>> Josh Tatofi, the singer-musician, who planned a 10-day visit with gigs in Sapporo and Tokyo.

“I have never, or would never, cancel out on a gig without a really good reason, but the promoter was forced to cancel it,” said Dudoit. “It was a really big relief, because I was literally starting to panic.”

Ho‘okena would have left by now, but its Japan Air Lines flights were canceled by promoters in Japan. JAL has waived cancellation fees from late February through March 19, and hotel reservations would be altered without penalty, so it was logical to cancel in the name of safety. (The carrier could extend the fee-free cancellations in the weeks ahead, enabling more travelers to postpone or curtail trips).

Dudoit said arrangements had been in place for nearly a year, and customarily, Japan promoters carry the burden of arranging air, hotel and ground transportation, along with promotional fees and per diem.

The gig has been rescheduled for Aug. 8, but Ho‘okena still has additional shows on May 9 and 10 in Tokyo, to be joined by singer Maila Gibson of the Ben and Maila duo, two-time Grammy winner Kalani Pe‘a, and musical group Waipuna. So far, these dates are on. …

Fred Krause, Reichel’s manager, indicated that 22 musicians and dancers were set to roll until the Japanese government intervened. The performances had been promoted for 10 months and were sold out.

“The promoter considered just doing Osaka and Nagoya, since Tokyo was under elevated threat, but we ultimately decided it would be irresponsible and set a bad example to go ahead with the shows,” said Krause.

New dates are May 7 through 15.

Meantime, Reichel has used the down time “working on getting his Hawaiian Homes lot in Kahikinui ready to build a small cottage,” said Krause. “He comes home from a day weed-whacking and chain-sawing with a healthy tan and a big smile.” …

Tatofi’s cast of six (including hula dancers) had six shows set this month, including a sellout with 1,200 spectators, he said. “The entertainer in me wanted to go, but I was worried about the fans in Japan,” he said. “We were supposed to leave Feb. 27 and return March 9, and we’re trying to reschedule.”

In the interim, Tatofi was able to land supplementary work, including a performance at the recent Ho‘olaulea at Kamehameha Schools, and “a couple of weddings,” he said.

“I was prepared to go, with a plan in place. We bring Lysol wipes, gloves, face masks … you never can be too safe. I wear masks a lot when traveling, because there are multiple rides, on trains and taxis.”

In the interim, Tatofi said relatives have been visiting from Tonga for family time. …

Robert Cazimero, a kumu hula and singer-pianist, regularly visits Japan for hula workshops. He’s engaged in preparations for the Merrie Monarch festival in Hilo in April. But Cazimero said he has a Japan commitment in late May, with no imminent news about a cancellation yet. “I’m hoping by then, things will level off or start to decrease,” he said. …


Loretta Ables Sayre, a jazz singer and Tony Award nominee, and her hubby, David Sayre, have been talking about a 20th wedding anniversary trip to Italy in June for months.

“Needless to say, with the coronavirus fear going on, David and I are now seriously considering putting off our trip to Italy until maybe next year,” she said of the coronavirus red zone. “Our main goal was to be in Venice. But we don’t know how long this will be affecting Europe and we don’t know how it will end up, so making travel plans at this point just doesn’t make any sense.”

Ables Sayre might be traveling to the East Coast for a theatrical performance. It’s not finalized, but preparations abound. “We are taking all the precautions that we can … hand sanitizer, antibacterial wipes, masks, our own plastic straws and utensils, travel Lysol, tissues, etc., with the full knowledge that we can do what we can, but also don’t live in a bubble. We are susceptible to a virus, so it’s a scary thing.”

The anticipation comes with some uncertainties. “We don’t know how this will affect people willing to be in a theater, traveling, and God forbid, any of us getting sick,” said Ables Sayre. “It puts our travel and work in a very tenuous situation.” …


So: “Hawaii Five-0” will be pau, after its April 3 two-hour finale on CBS. indicates that contracts with Alex O’Loughlin (Steve McGarrett) and Scott Caan (Danno) end with Season 10. O’Loughlin had wanted out two years ago, but stayed on, despite “a serious back injury during the early seasons of the show,” the website said. O’Loughlin remained aboard after undergoing stem-cell treatment.

There was speculation that the series might move on with a new partner for Danno, “but ultimately, everyone decided this was the right time to end the series,” according to Deadline. After a decade and 240 episodes, it makes sense to bid aloha. …

And that’s Show Biz.

Wayne Harada is a veteran entertainment columnist. Reach him at 266-0926 or

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