On the Scene: ‘Hairspray’ opens

Jul. 18, 2011 | 0 Comments

Reyn Halford (Link Larken), left, Jonathan Clarke Sypert (Seaweed J. Stubbs), Arianne Yago (Little Inez), Allison Maldonado (Cindy) and Howard Bishop (Wilbur Turnblad) celebrated past midnight at the post-show cast party at Ryan's. The talented quintet had good reason to celebrate — they'd received a well-deserved standing ovation that night. (Star-Advertiser photo by John Berger)

BY JOHN BERGER / jberger@staradvertiser.com

Opening nights are always a big event at Diamond Head Theatre, and the opening night festivities for DHT’s production of “Hairspray” on Friday were no exception.

Things started with a private pre-show sponsors’ reception on the lawn catered by the Sheraton Waikiki with heavy pupus until show time and with coffee and desert served at intermission. The pre-show receptions have been great social events for years, but since Sheraton has been catering them the show sponsors, DHT board members, producers and their guests have been arriving early — and ready to chow down.

The socializing continued when the cast came out after the show for a public meet-and-greet in front of the theater. Next step for the cast and crew was a private late-night party at Ryan’s Grill at Ward Center.

DHT Costume Director Karen Wolfe, second from left, chatted with Don Pomes, left, maestro producer Richard Aadland, Debbie Cheeseman and State Rep. Scott Nishimoto, a member of the DHT community advisory board. Wolfe shares credit with a committee of “imaginative creative individuals” for the costumes that give the show much of its visual pizazz. Wolfe and her committee did some of its best work coming up with a series of clown-like designs for Howard Bishop to wear as fashion-challenged Wilbur Turnblad.

London resident Nathan Broise, left, enjoyed the pre-show reception with his fiancee, Madalyn Burr, her parents, Dr. Maurice Nicholson and Kathryn Nicholson, and DHT board member Dr. John Magauran. Broise and Burr were here for a visit, her parents returned recently from a tour of Europe that included Poland, Berlin and “Paris in the spring.”

Andrew Sakaguchi, center, director and choreographer of the show, caught up with executive producers Guy Merola, left, and Mark Wong just before show time. Sakaguchi and Merola worked together in 1999 as the male leads of Manoa Valley Theatre’s production of “Kiss of the Spider Woman” — the chemistry between them was the foundation of the MVT show. Merola and Sakaguchi have each done memorable work here since “Spider Woman,” and Sakaguchi’s resume now includes his excellent work at the helm of “Hairspray.”

DHT Set and Props Designer Willie Sabel, left and Artistic Director John Rampage, talked with Kelly Sanders, General Manager of the Sheraton Waikiki, and reception guest Jordan Raquel during intermission. Sabel mentioned that the number of set and props designs required for the show make “Hairspray” the second-most complicated and elaborate show he has done in his five years at DHT — it has only two less pieces than were needed for “The Producers” in 2008.
John Berger has been a mainstay in the local entertainment scene for more than 30 years. Contact him via email at jberger@staradvertiser.com.

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