Do It! ‘Wicked,’ ‘Joy of Music,’ ‘Christmas Talk Story,’ more
FRIDAY, NOV. 23 TO SATURDAY, JAN. 12
“Wicked” explores the woman who would become the Wicked Witch of the West
“Wicked,” the traveling musical, has landed in Honolulu and is heading into its first weekend at Blaisdell Concert Hall. It aims to tell the back story of Elphaba, who came to be known as the Wicked Witch of the West, and her rival, Glinda the Good — who started out as Galinda, btw, but no one could get that name right.
Elphaba is portrayed by Dee Roscioli, pictured, who said she feels especially suited to play the role.
With humor and drama, the musical traces the development of Elphaba from outcast with a cause (saving animals) and a skin condition (she’s green) into someone who would kill for a pair of shoes.
“In life I’m not the bubbly blond, I’m the grounded brunette, so this is the role I would play,” Roscioli said in a phone call from Oregon, where she was taking a brief trip before heading to the islands. “I didn’t audition for any other part.”
Expect a serious examination of Elphaba’s psyche and motivation presented with an aim to entertain, including song and dance, extravagant staging and nail-biting set pieces.
“She’s not really a caricature; she’s a real woman, and I play her as a real woman,” Roscioli said. “She just happens to be green. She’s fighting for what’s right, and what’s right for all, not just what’s right for her.
“The story is about not judging a book by its cover and getting to know someone before you pass judgment on them.”
While “Wicked” has emotional depth, the musical also befits its association with a magical place called Oz, Roscioli opines.
“I think the creators have done a really good job of making this world of Oz seem like it really is something other than here,” she said.
“It’s a spectacle, and it’s beautiful and breathtaking all at the same time. You will be swept away.”
Where: Blaisdell Concert Hall
When: 2 and 8 p.m. today, 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sundays through Jan. 12. Extra stagings on Dec. 27 and Jan. 3, 7 and 10.
Info: 800-745-3000 or ticketmaster.com
FRIDAY, NOV. 23
Jazz vocalist to join quartet in performance
Jazz singer Beth Duncan brings her rich, expressive vocals to Chinatown tonight in a performance with the Satomi Yarimizo Quartet.
The Sacramento, Calif.-based singer made a splash last year with her second CD, “Come the Fall,” earning radio play on stations in the U.S., Canada, Japan and the Netherlands. Her album features a vocal version of John Coltrane’s famous saxophone work “Giant Steps,” a harmonically difficult work that many pop singers would find challenging to even hum. Guitarist and collaborator Steve Homan wrote lyrics for it, and the result was compelling enough that many jazz stations played hers and Coltrane’s recordings one after the other.
Her voice, praised for its clear, elastic nature, complements stylishly rich arrangements and jazz standards. She makes new compositions by Bay Area-based composer Martine Tabilio sound so good they could well become standards. “Tasty throughout, with a real jazzbo heart at the core,” wrote one critic.
Where: The Dragon Upstairs, 1038 Nuuanu Ave.
When: 7 p.m. today
Info: thedragonupstairs.com or 526-1411
SATURDAY, NOV. 24
‘Joy of Music’ honors respected isle organist
The Windward Choral Society celebrates its rapid growth and pays tribute to one of Hawaii’s most respected musicians, organist John McCreary, with a “Joy of Music” celebration Saturday at the Ko’olau Ballrooms in Kaneohe.
“The event is truly exciting because it’s going to be an around-the-world event,” said Susie Duprey, the choral director, pictured.
“Joy of Music” will include mariachi music, Afro-Caribbean drumming, traditional Hawaiian mele, New Orleans jazz, taiko drumming, bagpipes and a children’s chorus. Similarly, the food will also be international, featuring Italian and Japanese dishes, including sake tasting. The evening also includes a silent auction.
“We’re encouraging people to dress in elegant, native attire,” Duprey said.
McCreary, 82, who is Duprey’s father, was the organist at St. Andrews Cathedral for more than 30 years and the music director at ‘Iolani School for more than 20. He is popularly known for providing the organ accompaniment for silent movies at the Hawaii Theatre, most recently on Halloween for “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”
The Windward Choral Society has grown to more than 100 dedicated singers in five years. “Joy of Music” will support its operations.
“We’ve got high school students up to folks that are 87, 88 years old,” Duprey said. “We’ve got people who work at the Kapaa quarry, we’ve got lawyers, we’ve got teachers and bus drivers.”
“I don’t think there’s anything purer than the human voice,” she said, explaining the attraction of the choir. “Just wanting to sing. You don’t have to carry another instrument. It’s just a pure art form and one shared by all cultures.”
Where: Ko’olau Ballrooms, 45550 Kionaole Road, Kaneohe
When: 5:30-9:30 p.m. Saturday
Info: thewindwardchoralsociety.org or 254-5717
– Steven Mark
FRIDAY, NOV. 23
HTY production celebrates local flavor of the holidays
Honolulu Theatre for Youth rings in the holidays local style with “Christmas Talk Story,” a throwback production featuring original tales by local authors.
“We’re doing classics this season at HTY, and one of the things that HTY had done for many years is this idea of Christmas Talk Story,” said director Eric Johnson. “Basically the show is short theater pieces by local writers written around the theme of holidays on the islands — what local kids experienced.” Though the show is called “Talk Story,” most of the skits will be acted out, rather than told in storytelling form.
Some of the pieces are performed in pidgin and will have an old-time flavor, Johnson said, describing a Sean T.C. O’Malley story about a boy whose mom leaves his clothes with a Christmas air freshener. “He gets teased all year long for smelling like Christmas,” he said.
Another story, “Hanuchriskwanzobon,” by Yokanaan Kearns, represents the diversity of Hawaii, as three friends of different religious persuasions find a common way to celebrate.
“We tried to make these stories that would really resonate with the experience of the holidays here,” Johnson said.
Other stories are “Nah Santa, No Werry,” by Lee Tonouchi; “The Christmas Sentence,” by Dot Saurer; “Mr. Abe Ain’t Santa Claus,” by Cedric Yamanaka; “The Christmas Witch,” by O’Malley; “Bad Wrap,” by Daryl Bonilla; and “The Perfect Tree,” by Cheyne Gallarde.
Musical performances and a holiday sing-along are also part of the fun, with Kala’i Stern and Chesley Cannon providing musical accompaniment.
Where: Tenney Theatre, St. Andrew’s Cathedral, 229 Queen Emma Square
When: 7:30 today, 4:30 p.m. Saturdays through Dec. 22
Info: htyweb.org or 839-9885