Author’s Note: The Year that was 2010 was notable for me for many different things. From great triumphs such as graduating with a Masters to degree to great opportunities such as traveling to DC to the greatest sorrow of losing my beloved Mother, 2010 is definitely a year I will never forget and a year no one post will adequately cover. Here is Part II of this series looking back at my year taking in events on stage.
Down economy or not, 2010 was a great year in live entertainment for us. Times may be tough but I seized whatever opportunities there were to take in live events that came up. My rationale? These are once in a lifetime opportunities and (incarnation true or not) you only live THIS lifetime once.
Hā: The Breath of Life
Caption: Maori performance at the PCC’s Hā: Breath of Life
2010 kicked of in style for me as we took in the new stage show Hā: The Breath of Life at the Polynesian Cultural Center for my 32nd b-day. Like all previous PCC stage extravaganzas it was an awesome Polynesian revue as you’d expect upgraded with 21st century FX. With an excellent story tying the Polynesian concepts of hā, ʻohana and mana throughout its a show definitely not to be missed.
Bon Jovi in Hawaiʻi
Caption: Richie Sambora and Jon Bon Jovi still rocked it in 2010
The past come back to life again in 2010 as 80’s rock icons Bon Jovi made it out to Hawai’i. One of my favorite bands of ALL-TIME there was NO WAY I’d miss this show. Rocking just about all of their classic hits and some tracks off their newer releases it was one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to in terms of crowd energy. Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora can rock just as hard today as they did 20 years ago, believe that!
Caption: Sean T.C. O’Malley and R. Kevin Doyle bring the rock to Improv with improvised music as the duo Oil in the Alley. Eat your heart out Wayne Brady.
Back in 2008 long-time readers will remember I made a foray into the realm of public performing arts through my study and subsequent performance run into the art of long-form improvisation at Laughtrack Theater with Shannon Winpenny. Fast forward 2 years later I am so glad to see the theater thriving. Classes in improv are still ongoing with weekly performances occurring on Friday and Saturday evenings at 8pm and 10pm. Featured performers include Oil in the Alley (pictured — AWESOME improved music, MUST SEE), VANS, Muslin Hamster, Aftermath, Short Mr. Of, Us, and various graduate teams of the training center.
Action Zone Wrestling
Caption: SABAKI and Bobby “Lightning” Bolt taking it to the air against tag team champions Polynesian Power Trip (Kaimana and Ativalu)
A lifelong wrestling fan I was very pleased this year to check out our local promotion, Action Zone Wrestling. For years I’d had friends in the local scene who’d invited me down to check out their shows (mostly on base) but not really wanting to drive all the way out onto base (I tend to get lost on base) I never took the time. That all changed this year with AZW who runs shows out of the Tiger Muay Thai Gym and the FilCom Center. I had a great attendance record this year missing only 4 shows. While lacking the budget and production value of the WWE or TNA these guys do NOT lack in heart or work rate. Throw a few million at these guys plus a deeper roster and I guarantee they’d give the “big boys” a run for their money.
The Hawaii Shakespeare Festival
Being a lover of stage productions and with friends in the theatre community (who I met mostly through Improv) I enjoyed several stage productions this year. First up was the 9th Annual Hawaii Shakespeare Festival.
The Festival stages three productions of the Bard’s plays each summer. This year I managed to catch two, the opening production of Julius Caesar and the closing production of Henry V (all three parts edited down into one showing). I would miss Measure for Measure due to illness.
Caesar was an impressive production with it retooled and staged in Ancient Hawaii. The use of tradition Hawaiian dress and weapons added a nice dimension to the play and the cast (featuring some of the BUFFEST local actors, including my friend D. Tafa’i Silipa) did a great job in bringing the play to life.
Henry VI, produced and directed by my MBA classmate Tony Pisculli and featuring all all-female cast, was a great production as well. The cast and crew did a commendable job of condensing all three plays into one showing and the ladies did a fabulous job pulling it off in style. Bravo all around.
Cross two (maybe 4???) plays off my Bucket List item to see all of Shakespeare’s works produced.
Summer Sizzle 2010
Caption: All 4 One, Shai and Color Me Badd performing Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” as a Hana Hou
The past came back to life AGAIN as All 4 One, Shai, and Color Me Badd, three of the biggest bands of the 90’s who basically dominated the airwaves of my radio and CD player back in high school made it down to Hawai’i back in the Summer of 2010. Sure it was 15 – 20 years later but they still sounded just as good (especially All 4 One who sounded almost exactly the same). It was a bit awkward to see only HALF of Color Me Badd but all said and the done the bands did a great job of bringing back all the old hits to life for just one night. The most EPIC part of the evening was all three groups doing a hana hou to M.J.s “Man in the Mirror.”
WWE Raw Brand House Show
WWE returned again to Hawai’i in 2010 (hopefully a nice trend as they were here in 2009 and 2008 as well, c’mon 2011!) with a Raw Brand show featuring John Cena and Randy Orton. It was my first time seeing Cena live and haters aside, the dude was over HUUUUUUUUGE at the Blaisdell (mostly kids in the audience). Boding of things that were to come with the rest of 2010, Nexus was ubiquitous on the card with Wade Barrett taking on Cena in the main event. Also, Money in the Bank and US Champ Miz also featured prominently on the card beating Mark Henry and teasing cashing in the MiTB contract against a shook up Orton, foreshadowing later events in the year.
Honky Tonk Angels
My late Mother LOVED her country music which I believe she fell in love with during her time in the U.S. Army when she was stationed in the South. I have fond memories of her listening to Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn music over the years. Just a short month after she untimely passed I had the privilege to see a production of Ted Swindley’s Honky Tonk Angels over at Manoa Valley Theatre. The actresses’ performances were stupendous. All three were excellent singers and performers. The music definitely took me back to a time when my Mom would belt out those songs while cleaning house. The music and storyline was just awesome. I soooo wished I could’ve took her to see it personally but I’m glad I got to see it and I trust, in her own way, she had the best seat in the house.
Beauty and the Beast
Big time Broadway returned to Hawaii in 2010 with a performance of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. The production was outstanding. You know the story but you see it more for the live music and great costuming. The funny part of this particular performance though? The guy who played the Beast sounded a lot more like Gaston from the animated film while singing than he did the Beast from the animated film. For my Disney Broadway Bucket List I just now need to see the Little Mermaid (hope it resurrects somewhere) and Aladdin (upcoming) to cross this item off.
Cirque du Soleil: Alegria
The ever fabulous Cirque du Soleil returned to Hawai’i (after 2008’s Saltimbanco run) with the equally fabulous Alegria. Seen them once, seen them all? Perhaps but not really. The artistry and pageantry of a Cirque performance can’t be understated and each is unique in its own way (especially the Vegas shows). With this plus Ka, LOVE and O that I’ve seen in Vegas I am now about a dozen shows away from crossing this off my Bucket List. Hopefully they return with Dralion in a few years.
I was privileged to catch the closing night of (unbeknownst to me) what would be local theatre legend Paul Cravath’s final production at LCC Theatre. The retelling of the Greek legend of Jason and Argonauts at LCC was something else with a few moments in there to make you blush (truly brought out the “heatheness” of the Ancient Greek world). The acting, music and costumes were excellent. Definitely a nice way to end Cravath’s excellent run.
All said and done, I had a great year entertaining myself at the local stage. (Short reviews of the productions I saw on the road in Vegas coming in the next posting in this series).