Kennedy Theatre’s 2017/18 Season of Performances

Kennedy Theatre Announces 2017/18 Season

UHM Theatre + Dance Productions return to Kennedy Theatre
The 2017/18 Season brings the UHM Department of Theatre + Dance back home to the newly renovated Kennedy Theatre. Long-awaited backstage code and safety upgrades were addressed in the spring of 2017 and are scheduled to be completed this summer. Patrons may not notice the changes as the beautiful structure and surface treatments designed by renowned architect I. M. Pei have been preserved.

The mainstage season opens with the Hawai‘i premiere of the new musical, The Spitfire Grill.  Soon to follow is a Hana Hou! production of the highly acclaimed Taiko Drum & Dance featuring Kenny Endo’s taiko ensemble in November 2017. An epic partnership between our Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) and Chinese Theatre experts will present to audiences three family-friendly classic stories from China filled with chou characters and their clown-like antics in February 2018. The mainstage season finale in April 2018 will be a modern adaptation by Ingmar Bergman of Henrik Ibsen’s masterpiece, A Doll’s House, titled Nora.

The Primetime Series features the culminating thesis works of MFA directors, dancers, choreographers and playwrights and BFA dance candidates on the eve of graduation as well as experimental or chamber works directed by faculty.  This year’s Primetime Series opens with a Special Event.  Award-winning chanter, Keali‘i Reichel, has been lured out of retirement to stage The Art of the Chanter at Kennedy Theatre, and for the first (and possibly only) time on O‘ahu.  This series continues with an original play by Kiki (a.k.a. Kiana Rivera), a UHM MFA in Playwriting candidate. Spring Footholds dance concert will grace the spring semester of 2018, in March.

Late Night Theatre is a student-run organization in UHM’s Department of Theatre and Dance whose mission is to present experimental and quirky work not often seen in Honolulu. Budgets and technical elements are kept minimal in order to focus on students’ acting and directing skills. Shows are presented at a student-friendly late-night hour. Fall 2017 features an original work by Master Mime and MFA in TYA candidate Todd Farley, titled Mimes, Masks, and Miracles, and a re-mounting of Almost, Maine, directed by MFA in Design candidate Christopher Patrinos.  Late Night will be announcing spring semester shows toward year’s end.

Kennedy Theatre program and schedule are subject to change pending final arrangements.

Mainstage Series – on the Kennedy Theatre Mainstage

The Spitfire Grill
September 15, 16, 22, 23, 24, 2017
FRI/SAT 7:30pm & SUN 2:00pm
Book & Music by James Valcq
Book & Lyrics by Fred Alley
Based on the film by Lee David Zlotoff
Directed by Lurana Donnels O’Malley

In the Hawai‘i state premiere of this new musical, a recently released parolee makes her way to Gilead, Wisconsin to start a new life, inspired by a page from an old travel book. Both the town and Hannah’s Spitfire Grill, where she works, have seen better days – when hope was alive and the town was thriving. Filled with heart, passion, and folk-based songs, The Spitfire Grill is a musical about hope and transformation in difficult times. This production is a collaboration between the UHM Department of Theatre & Dance and the UHM Department of Music.
Advance SuperSaver Tickets on sale through September 1, 2017: $16
SAT 9/23/17 performance will be interpreted in American Sign Language

Taiko Drum & Dance: Hana Hou!
November 3, 4, 10, 11, 12, 2017
FRI/SAT 7:30pm & SUN 2:00pm
Directed by Betsy Fisher

A Hana Hou! performance of one of our most popular dance concerts presented at Kennedy Theatre. World-renowned taiko artist Kenny Endo and Taiko Center of the Pacific return for a heart-pounding collaboration of dance and drums. This production showcases an interweaving of cultures that reflects and distinguishes Hawai‘i. Traditional and contemporary taiko music, together with dance from Hawaiʻi, Japan, Okinawa, India, and contemporary dance highlight the uniqueness of each form as well as their beauty and power.
Advance SuperSaver Tickets on sale through September 1, 2017: $16

Fights & Delights: Three Chinese Comedies
February 16, 17, 18, 23, 24, 25, 2018

FRI/SAT 7:30pm & SUN 2:00pm
Xiqu (Chinese “opera”) performed in English!
Directed by Elizabeth Wichmann-Walczak and Mark Branner

Showcasing the vibrancy of traditional  Chinese theatre, these delightfully contrasting plays celebrate the chou – or comic – character, an irrepressible force of comedy who continually reveals the laughter in life.  Filled with convoluted acrobatic contortions, mistaken identities, adorable lovers, and exhilarating battles, this celebration of “the clown” will appeal to audiences of all ages.
Advance SuperSaver Tickets on sale through September 1, 2017: $16, Youth $10

April 13, 14, 20, 21, 22, 2018
FRI/SAT 7:30pm & SUN 2:00pm
Adapted by Ingmar Bergman from Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House; Directed by Stacy Ray

Creating Nora, legendary filmmaker Ingmar Bergman took Henrik Ibsen’s masterpiece,  A Doll’s House,  and stripped it to the bare essentials.  With only the central characters depicted,  the psychological drama is intensified and exposes the heart of Ibsen’s controversial play without mercy or apology.  Following the predicament of Nora, the audience, too, will ponder the dilemma of “what are we willing to sacrifice to save others… and ourselves.”
Advance SuperSaver Tickets on sale through September 1, 2017: $16

 Mainstage Ticket Prices
$8 UHM Student
$15 Non-UHM Student/Youth
$20 UHAA Member
$22 UH Faculty/Staff, Military, Senior
$25 Regular (Adult)

The first Saturday of each Mainstage production is “Throwback Saturday” – prices are from the good ol’ days:
$5 UHM Student
$10 Other Discount Groups
$15 Regular (Adult)
2017/18 Throwback Saturdays: SAT 9/16/17, SAT 11/4/17, SAT 2/17/18, and SAT 4/14/18

See listings for Advance SuperSale (pre-season) Ticket Prices through September 1, 2017.
Group Discounts also available.

Primetime Series – in the Earle Ernst Lab Theatre

The Art of the Chanter 2017 – Special Event
September 30, 2017 at 7:30pm & October 1, 2017 at 2:00pm

The Art of the Chanter
performance series first began in 1986 to fill the need for an event which highlighted the skill of the individual chanter. Over the course of three decades, Hālau Keʻalaokamaile periodically brought together chant practitioners from across the pae ʻāina to Maui, where they lent their voices to a performance platform of traditional vocal prowess, ʻike and creativity.  The goal was and continues to be: to educate, inspire and reconnect the community-at-large with the importance of individual and collective chanters. For the very first time, The Art of the Chanter will perform on Oʻahu.

This concert features – among several distinguished chanters – Keali‘i Reichel, founder of Hālau Ke‘alaokamaile. Reichel’s website, found at:,  states “In 1994 he independently produced and released a collection of Hawaiian traditional and contemporary songs and chants entitled Kawaipunahele. His subsequent music releases, Lei Hali‘a (1995), E O Mai (1997), Melelana (1999), and Ke‘alaokamaile (2003) have cemented his place in the Hawaiian music industry. All told, he has been awarded 19 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards, and his consistent placement in Billboard Magazine’s World Music and Heatseeker Charts has garnered him international attention.”  The website also mentions his appearances, “Reichel has opened concerts for Bonnie Raitt, LeAnn Rimes, Celine Dion and Sting, and has played such diverse venues as Carnegie Hall and the Hollywood Bowl, and consistently sells out concerts from Honoka‘a to Honolulu, Seattle to San Diego, Okinawa to Osaka. “

Fa’alavelave (The Interruption)
November 29, 30 and December 1, 2, 3, 2017
FRI/SAT 7:30pm & SUN 2:00pm
Written by MFA Playwriting Candidate Kiki (a.k.a. Kiana Rivera)
Directed by MFA Directing Candidate Laura Clark Greaver

Fa’alavelave continues the journey of Mele, a Samoan-Filipino lesbian from Hawai‘i, a character that was introduced to Honolulu audiences who attended Puzzy at Kumu Kahua Theatre in early 2017. In this new play, the death of one of Mele’s family members opens doors to the past, revealing long-kept secrets. These revelations strengthen Mele’s appreciation of the value of family and her Samoan cultural legacy.

Spring Footholds
March 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 2018
FRI/SAT 7:30pm & SUN 2:00pm

This dance concert showcases the culmination of years of study and sweat. It features exemplary undergraduate student choreography as well as graduating MFA students’ thesis works in a variety of dance styles.

Primetime Series Ticket Prices (not including special event: The Art of the Chanter)
$8 UHM Student
$13 Non-UHM Student/Youth
$16 UH Faculty/Staff, Military, Senior
$18 Regular (Adult)

Ticket pricing and purchasing information for the special event: The Art of the Chanter, will be announced soon.

Late Night Series – In the Earle Ernst Lab Theatre

Mimes, Masks, and Miracles
September 15, 16, 22, 23, 2017 at 11:00pm
Directed by MFA TYA Candidate Todd Farley

Using the classic techniques of mime, Master Mime Todd Farley’s production will make you laugh, think, and celebrate human ingenuity.

Almost Maine
November 3, 4, & 11, 2017 at 11:00pm
“Matinee” SUN 11/12/17 at 7:30pm
By John Cariani
Directed by MFA in Design Candidate Christopher Patrinos

Almost, Maine is whimsical, romantic, and quirky play set in a winter spectacle that takes place in a town so far north that it is almost in Canada. It is almost a love story… Almost. Described as “A gem. Refreshing. Charming.  As splendidly unpredictable and magical as falling in love,” by Florida Weekly.

Late Night Series Ticket Prices
$5 UHM Student
$8 Discount Groups (Military, Senior, UH Faculty/Staff, Students)
$10 Regular (Adult)

 Advance Supersaver Tickets
Audience members can save substantially on tickets to Kennedy Mainstage shows by buying early. Advance Supersaver Tickets will be on sale for $16 (or $15 for “Throwback Performances”) until Sept 1 and may be purchased by phone at (808) 956-2601 and via mail order.

Standard-Priced Tickets
Regularly-priced tickets to all Mainstage and Primetime productions will go on sale beginning Sept 11 and may be purchased online at, by phone at (808) 944-2697, at official outlets, and at the Kennedy Theatre Box Office during sale periods only. Tickets to Late Night Theatre performances will only be available at the Kennedy Theatre mobile box office which will set up at each performance venue, one hour before each performance begins.

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Dept. of Theatre + Dance
1770 East-West Rd Honolulu HI 96822
(808) 956-7677